I was in the 7th grade at a track meet. I was irritated at a teammate. I ran up to a group of runners from my school and started gossiping about the girl. Everyone was perfectly still. No one said a word.

I looked down at the girl sitting at my feet and it was the very one I was talking about.

That’s a hard lesson for a 13 year old girl who wants to be seen as a Christian on campus.

My mouth has always gotten me in trouble.


I said it.

It’s a confession: I talk too much.

Oh, I’m not a gabber. I hate talking on the phone and I really only blab one-on-one. I’m the quiet one in a crowd.

But I would say 95% of the trouble I get myself into is tongue-related. The other 5% is eating too much, also related. Hmmm….

It’s not so much quantity of words, it’s more quality. Whether it’s conflict with my husband, strife with my kiddos or chatting with a girlfriend, I usually end up regretting what comes out of my mouth.

The Bible offers some great advice on shutting it.

This truth in James 3 is just plain painful:

5-6 It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

7-10 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!

The tongue- a wild, wanton killer. That about sums it up. I engage verbally with my tween when I should just hush. I throw out the last word with my hubby when I should be quiet.

But the power of the tongue is two-fold! I love the promise my lips hold. I love that when I choose to speak life, it encourages, uplifts, blesses.

It all comes down to a controlled choice.

Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. I Peter 3: 8

I’m thankful for the work of the cross, new mercies every morning. I still struggle in this area, almost daily.

Five Reasons I Need to Hush: (Also titled: Five Truths God is Teaching Me about my Big Mouth)

1. What’s in my heart comes out of my mouth: If my heart isn’t in the right place, my words will be a reflection. “From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh…” When my words are negative, when I’m complaining more than praising or in verbal conflict, I usually need a heart checkup. I often find that my lack of control is closely related to my lack of time with God.

2. I can have a greater impact in the conversation by listening more: Memorize James 1:19-20 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

3. It’s often our tendency to tear down, rather than build up: It’s amazing the difference I see in my kids when I choose the option of building up and affirming them instead of criticizing their behavior or actions.

4. If my words aren’t healthy or redemptive to the person receiving it, I shouldn’t say them. Ask yourself: Will the people I’m talking to walk away encouraged or discouraged by my words?

5. Be spiritual by being quiet. My pastor says “Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is be quiet.” Just hush.

Take the Word Challenge

Since this is an area of weakness for me, I decided to challenge myself to be quiet for an entire day. It’s not that I didn’t say anything, I just made an effort to make my words meaningful and encouraging. It was really challenging when it came to disciplining my kids. I noticed my ugly tendency to tear down. I encourage you to try it and ask God to reveal truth to you if you struggle in this area.

Written by Kristen Welch, We are THAT family

  • http://donnagiftnew.wordpress.com Donna

    This was perfect for me. Tomorrow is my day to be quiet…including Facebook…and I’ll watch my words.

  • Paola

    Oh man oh man oh man!!!! I needed this and I want to thank you for talking so openly and honestly about something you and me both aren’t proud of. I have these same tendancies. The Lord is slowly working,but I have such a very long way to go. Thank you, thank you so very much for writing about this. BTW…your video on your blog made me cry yesterday and I have been praying about saving some money that I could bless with and Mercy house was my answer. thanks for doing God’s work!

  • Mrs. C

    love this : what a gift to receive today thanks you for your open heart. Today i will try to think of my words coming out as if i am talking to God.

  • Daphne Massaro

    Ditto! Ditto! This is a constant struggle and this week; I have made a committment to do this not only at work but, home! I actually called someone out that was gossiping at one of my boys extracurricular activities meetings about their leader. It was the RIGHT thing to do; it took courage and my heart is light because of it! I am printing this off and keeping this in my journal to remind me to be quiet and listen!

  • http://fromgramgramtogaga.blogspot.com/ Melissa M

    What a wonderful message! I work with two year olds, and certainly, using a soft voice keeps things calmer. Although, with seven of them it’s relative….lol I do notice a difference though. Challenge taken…not silent, but quiet and uplifting.

  • Stephenie

    Wow! I needed this today. Thank you for sharing.

  • http://www.kathycheek.com Kathy @ In Quiet Places

    Definitely the best way I have learned to tame my tongue, is to hold my tongue, as I get older, the urge to blurt out those wrong things is slowly being tamed.

  • http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com Southern Gal

    I woke this morning thinking of something I had said to my son yesterday. More than one something. And I asked God to help me say words that were encouraging to him today. Then I read this. So, yes, I’ll take that challenge.

  • http://www.wynnegraceappears.com Elizabeth

    I need to read this daily. So grateful you shared this. Very grateful to have this tucked down in my inner parts to help me meet whatever is coming my way today. What a challenge and struggle it can be wrestling with when to speak and what to speak and when to bite the tongue and listen. It really does seem that the more I listen, the more I learn in so very many ways. Grateful here.

  • http://www.townsend-house.com Heather

    What a great post! I have such trouble with my tongue. It surprises me sometimes to hear what actually comes out of my mouth. Not some of my proudest moments, unfortunately. I think that your day of quiet sounds like a good idea to me. I have definitely been feeling convicted because of these sharp words more so lately. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone!

  • Daphne

    Love this, thank you for sharing. Just what I needed! Be blessed today!

  • http://www.sonyamacdesigns.com sonyamacdesigns

    Yes, this week I too (because of James, james, & James) took some time to shut it down (a full 24 hours of not talking to anyone, other than my children) it was awesome!

  • Nancy

    When I start reading the (in)courage posts, I try to guess if the writer is one I “know” or not. I did not guess this was you! I, too, have always been the quiet one in the group, and am in a constant battle with myself about what comes out of my mouth. So many regrets going all the way back to elementary school…! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.queenieslittlekingdom.com wanda

    Oh dear soul sister…..I feel your pain!
    Me & my big mouth have wrecked the peace more times than I care to admit.
    I have used my tongue to hurt the ones I love and paid the price of my foolish consequences. I’ve always loved the analogy of the (toothpaste)….

    Squeeze it out all over a plate. Then try to get it back into the tube.
    That’s what mispoken words are like. Spilled for everyone to see & hear but not so easy to retract. :(

    Good word, today!

  • http://seilhanfunnyfarm.blogspot.com/ Melissa

    Thanks! From a fellow “big mouth.”

  • Susanne

    LOL @ Melissa. I’ve been on the “big mouth” band wagon ever since I can remember. First memory of it causing problems. At the ripe old age of 6 my first grade teacher, a nun, had me stand all alone on the playground in the pouring rain. Even in the 60’s a cruel punishment, but stil, I didn’t learn….lol.

  • Barb

    Oh my! This was exactly what I needed to read…since birth! So grateful to know I am not the only woman who struggles with this issue, and always have! I am encouraged to try and fix this, thanks for the gentle helpful hints.

  • Christina

    Thank you for sharing this! I have some building up that I need to do when the kids get home from school – to hopefully repair some of the damage from being tired, sick and crabby this morning.

  • Beth Williams

    I have that exact same problem. Fortunately God must have a somewhat tight hold on me–because what I think & verbalize quietly alone I don’t say out loud. I guess I verbalize myself saying those things to those people and what a reaction it would leave on them–& on my Christian Reputation!

    I try daIly to think & remind myself of my Christian reputation and how I want to be remembered–NO MATTER WHAT The SITUATION!!!

  • Bernadette

    Great post ~ I’m an going to print it, carry it in my pocket and post the picture over my desk at work! Thank you!

  • http://www.onesewingmommie.blogspot.com Angel

    God has been laying this exact thing on my heart the last few days… thank you for this. I am going to try my best to be more aware of the words I speak to others… even my own children who I’m sure I hurt at times with my tongue.

  • http://www.permissiontoperuse.com Amy

    This is totally me and I love what you said about it simply being an outpouring of what’s in our heart. I know this, but it’s a good (challenging) reminder.

  • Sandy

    Wow, as my tongue and myself caused trouble on monday of this week. thank you for this post and thank you god for your perfect timing

  • Brittany

    Well, this really hit home. :-)

    Thank you for this post – it is something I think I’ve needed to hear for a while now. Now it’s time to take the word challenge.

    – And I’m doing it!

  • http://www.newequus.wordpress.com Mindy

    1 Peter 3:8 says it all…we are to bless! I am in the middle of a month-long challenge about changing my thoughts and words and this just reconfirms the commitment I made as a good one for me and all the people I touch with my words. Thanks!

  • http://www.athirstforGod.com Summer@a thirst for God

    Thank you for this challenge! Fasting words. What a great idea to making what comes out of our mouth more intentional.

  • Sarah

    AMEN! So stinking hard to be quiet.

  • http://transitional-woman.blogspot.com Elizabeth

    I hate to admit it, but I completely identified with everything you wrote. My high school guidance counselor said my smart mouth was going to get me in trouble and she was right.
    I, too, tend to be a quiet one, but the quality of what comes out of my mouth sometimes would not please the Lord.
    You are courageous for writing this post.

  • http://brokenliving.wordpress.com/ Kelsey

    It’s so hard to take back words once they’ve already come out of your mouth…and so hard to forget words that are hurtful.

  • http://(in)courage.com cj drake

    Thank you for your truthfulness and for sharing truth! It is God’s perfecting timing for me as I am continuing to trust Him to perfect that which concerns me (Psalm 138:8 ~ Amplified Bible) and He is! There is no limit to His faithfulness to us! Sending you a hug as you continue to live each new day in His love and in His strength and with His power to His honor and glory.

  • Belinda


  • http://www.godsnotfinishedwithusyet.com/ Sarah

    YIKES!! Not really something I wanted to find in my email inbox but perfect timing as I was just praying about this very thing in my world over the past two weeks. It’s great to talk and share but doing the part as ‘listener’ is equally as important, is what the Lord has been showing me.

    Unfortunately, I have to confess, I have not read your article here yet because I quickly stumbled across it when searching for another email regarding a ladies Bible Study get together tonight. But I just had to respond to this anyway. LOL! For all I my comment may not even relate to what you are sharing here. BUT I have ‘flagged’ this so that I can read it later this evening before I go to bed. I’m scared to though. LOL!

  • Deanna

    This is just what I needed. I am forever opening my mouth. I recently saw a saying on this very thing that I am planning to do a needlework of that addresses this very thing. It reads “Lord keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.” I really believe that God is trying to speak to me about this very thing. Tomorrow will be my quiet day.

  • Robin C

    This is SO something that I struggle with all the time. I often think life would be better if I just kept 8 inches of duct tape across the bottom half of my face.

    Just curious- what Bible version was that? I’m not familiar with it, and the way it phrased things was new and fresh [read: especially, inconveniently convicting].

  • http://kendalprivette.blogspot.com kendal

    right. there. with. you.

    anne lamott says she uses this acronymn to shut herself up:
    W – why
    A – am
    I – i
    T – talking?

    ummm. love it.

  • http://asjulesisgoing.com/ Jules Rothacher

    Quenching! Thanks for the challenge. I think my mouth is the worst with those I am most comfortable with {ie husband, kids, and Close friends!}. Just thinking about the day of hushing was convicting. THANK YOU!!!

  • http://www.charisscofield.com charis

    have you ever read the way of the heart? the chapter on words was so convicting… made me want to just stop talking.

    this is an area i need to work on as well! thanks for the reminder.

    my recent post: mostly human

  • Heidi

    Well said, Kristen. Good advice for taming the tongue. I have found that many times when I sin with my tongue it’s because I’m looking for my identity in something other than Christ. Perhaps because it’s so common, this type of sin often seems minimized, but it is so destructive. Thanks for a well-written reminder.

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    The sweat began to bead on my forehead when you mentioned one day of only encouraging words. I do understand what you have said about the tongue. Sometimes, I blush at the words I let loose and wish I could have phrased something differently or not said it at all. I come from the “blunt and tactless” stock. It’s a family trait.

  • Shelly

    While I have started learning that lesson of hushing more often, I think we also need to tune into the right voices to listen to – not those of people around us trying to pressure us.

    I similarly found myself being unfair and downright cruel to a classmate. I wasn’t listening to the right voices, and hushed when I should have spoken up, but others convinced me to draw up a petition on behalf of the class to have A.O. removed from the class. Can you imagine being in sixth grade and knowing someone in your class did that to you? I regret it to this day because I hushed when I should have said no, and wouldn’t listen to those I should have.

    Isn’t it amazing (and somewhat encouraging) when we look back at such mistakes and realized that, for the most part, we learn from them and grow?

  • http://www.walkingwithangels.co.uk/ Sara

    This is my second time of reading this, i so needed these words.

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  • http://www.pansycottagegarden.com Sharon

    Excellent Godly wisdom! Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Liz

    I am terrible about this. I can remember more than a few times where my mouth has gotten me into trouble. I’m bad about gossip, and it is hard for me not to gossip at my job, its like a requirement almost. Everyone is always complaining about everyone else. Tomorrow will be a perfect day for me to work on being quiet. I work a seven hour shift so there will be a lot of praying on my part.

  • http://www.adelightfulglow.com/ deborah

    No wonder I was drawn to your blog “We are That Family” when I wondered onto it! :) I have and am dealing with MANY of the same things you have listed. My mouth has gotten me into trouble too many times to count. Sometimes I think I must be the most dense person because it seems I never learn…or at least learn so slowly!

    Thanks for this post. I appreciate the encouragement and selfishly, knowing I’m not the only one who has struggled with this issue!

  • http://socialworkconfessions.com Lyn

    I am so encouraged to see that I’m not the only one with a big mouth! That being said, I always need work in this area. Thanks for the great pointers!

  • Unknown

    I don’t support Christianity but this article has some very good points. Its definitly worth a share on facebook…….

  • Nancy

    I’m aware of my problem, and have tried to change, havn’t been successful. What should I do now?
    Pls help me, I’m causing chaos all over.
    The sad thing is I’m aware of my weakness, but I just can’t seem to change