“You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence…” Psalm 16:11

W.A.I.T.—Why Am I Talking?

Have you ever said something and later wished that you hadn’t?  Or maybe just talked too much?

In coaching we’re taught that we should not be talking more than about 20% of the time.  It’s not about giving advice and our opinions.  It’s about helping people to discern what God would have them to do and drawing it out of them.

There’s a nice little acronym to help us remember that:  W.A.I.T.  —  Why Am I Talking?

I thought about how that is actually an acronym that we could all use in every situation.

We should WAIT before we speak and ask ourselves why we are talking.

Words

There are many things we could say, but what would be the best thing to say in each situation— or should we even say anything at all?

  • Is what we are saying edifying and beneficial?
  • Is it kind?
  • Does it build others up?
  • Will we regret it later?
  • What kind of impact will it have it we say it?
  • Is it even true?  (Is it half-true?)

Timing

Sometimes it’s not even that what we say is bad, but the timing could be wrong.   There could be many reasons for that.

Have you ever been physically tired, coming in from a long day,  in the middle of doing something, or even distracted and focused on something else when someone tried talking to you about something important?  It doesn’t always go so well, does it?

Here’s a great principle if you are in that type of situation and need to talk to someone about something important.

  • Let the other person know that you would like to talk to him or her
  • State what the topic is
  • Give an idea of how long it will take to talk about it
  • Then ask  if now is a good time to talk or when a good time would be.

That gives the other person a chance to prepare and be ready  to talk and to be fully engaged in the conversation.

Have you ever noticed when you say “yes” and when you say “no” to requests?  Sometimes it just has to do with the time of day or our mental state. For example, if we’re tired it could have a negative effect, yet if we’re fresh and in a good mood, we may be a little more eager to say yes.  Pay attention to how you respond to things this week.  It may surprise you.

Timing really is important and can have a big impact.

Motive

Besides just looking at the words, it’s important to look at our motive.

  • Why are we really saying what we say?
  • Is it to hurt or harm?
  • Are we trying to make ourselves look better?
  • Is it just pure gossip?

(I know that not all conversation is negative, even though it may seem that I painted it that way here.)

The acronym W.A.I.T. is a good reminder to always choose our words wisely and to have the kinds of conversations that Christ would have.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  —  James 1:19

 

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