In real life, I’m not a super chatty person, unless there is some kind of opinion involved. In that case, you better look out. I’m pretty sure I’m going to step on toes and stray into less than gracious territory. I could blame it on coming from a family of lawyers and parents that encouraged open ended dialogue; but when it comes down to kind speech or the lack thereof, I’m afraid I really can truly only blame myself. So, when I saw Karen Ehman’s Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All, I knew this book would probably benefit me.
The trouble with speech is that we often speak before we think. It actually takes quite a bit of time to slow down and process what other people are saying and respond in a way that is edifying and helpful. When we write, there is the delete button, but it doesn’t exist in speech. Once it’s out there, you can’t get words back. It is probably why so many of us need a little guidance in this area of life that we simply can’t avoid. Ehman does an excellent job of covering this topic in both a broad and narrow fashion. The topics she covers include communicating with family and friends, gossip, your digital tongue, and people pleasing. But intermixed are more important skills and habits that lead to gracious words. As important as speech is, she balances that area with the ability to listen well and the time we spend renewing our minds. But, where do we find guidance in this critical area?
The ultimate guide book for life is God’s Word, the Bible. Not surprisingly, it has a lot to say about our speech and the tongue. As it turns out, there is a direct correlation between time in the Word and what comes out of our mouths. Keep It Shut is simply packed with ideas on how to be more intentional in this area. Where does a busy mom find time to fit in time with God? What are the steps I need to think about before I open my mouth? What are some ways I can add positive speech to my day? These are just a few of the areas she covers. Full of inspiration, hope and stories, Ehman does a great job of providing guidance in a down to earth and humble way. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to gain more control of their words.
Sarah McCubbin is a homeschooling and foster mom in NE Ohio where she resides with her husband and 7 children. In addition to reading great books, she enjoys gardening, traveling and blogging at Living Unboxed.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Zondervan. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.