Want Respect? Start Here…

I remember the glazed, deer-in-the-headlights look that slowly crept onto others’ faces…

I remember the bazillion thoughts floating around in my head…

And the deep urge to release them all…

I had no idea that I was simply struggling in the journey with immaturity.

And then I ran across the Scripture, “Where words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

Proverbs 10:19…and the verses through 29 are stellar, also.

My lack of discernment showed itself in a number of ways.

I was the college girl that had the reputation of “talking all the time.” I had the world’s viewpoint, that if there was a silence, I needed to fill it. To be liked, I needed to be speaking, saying funny entertaining things. This is the opposite of Truth.

I was the one who “always had an opinion.” And I shared it. What I didn’t realize at the time was that mature people don’t care who gets credit for the idea, and it’s more valuable to have OTHERS communicate THEIR ideas – because it facilitates buy-in.

And I was confusing to boyfriends. They never knew what was important to me, because I communicated SO MUCH, that it seemed like EVERYTHING was important. I was the college girlfriend who “took ten minutes to say a simple thing.” I exhausted the men in my life. “Get to the point,” my dad used to say to me. Frequently. That man had the patience of Job.

I was a fool.

This morning, when I read Proverbs 4, I ran across Proverbs 4:20, “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.” I realized how much God had changed me from that chatty boor of a ten year old and young woman to the gal I’m still growing into today. I realized something REALLY important – all the years in the communications and public speaking field have taught me to be brief, be concise, and make it easy for my listeners. While no one would describe me as “shy,” one of the biggest changes in my life as a result of choosing to follow Christ at age 22 is the taming of my wild tongue.


I have a short rein, while not perfect, but tight enough to seldom suffer regret and nearly always be listened to when I do choose to offer up an opinion, idea, or thought.

And after my children reached age 11, I started focusing on treating them with respect, asking their permission to speak into their circumstances. Rather than, “You need to…” I started making advice palatable, “I’m not sure this would work, and it might even be a bad idea… was wondering if xyz might help?” And I asked them if they wanted my help with something after empathizing with how they felt about things. Empathizing deeply, not just in passing. It’s respectful, and helped them listen to what I had to offer, often what God was speaking into them.

I try to do the same in my adult relationships, and it makes a difference. Familiarity breeds relational laziness when we start taking people for granted. We have to respect ourselves, behaving as worthy of respect, thus making it easier for others to respect us. Being individuals who constantly “run at the mouth” causes others to regard us with disrespect. We don’t get asked our opinions because people don’t want to listen to ten minutes of dissertation when a brief response would have sufficed.

I know from experience that this is something we can influence.

I chewed on that verse in Proverbs 4 this morning and realized that if I were still communicating with those around me with the plethora of words I used to dump, I would be exhausting those trying to listen. The wisdom God wanted to share with those I influence would not be received, because of the sheer volume of other communication I was dishing.

I am thankful that God has provided me with the opportunity to learn to be brief. And I hope I don’t sound like I think I’m perfect at this, because I’m not. But having spent years coaching others with speaking and saying what I need to say in 90 seconds or less myself, He’s trained me well and I get it right when I’m focused on Him.

It also is my prayer that you hear this testimony this morning, not as an encouragement to consider yourself and womankind as being of “lesser value” than others, but rather a call to wisdom in our communication – beginning with the amount of talking we do.  For what it is worth, I’ve seen extreme verboseness as a disease suffered by both genders.

Dare you to ask Him today to help you speak what is necessary, being quick to listen and slow to speak (and even slower to become angry) James 4:19 style. You will bring life to those around you, make them feel important, and begin the journey of changing other’s perceptions of you, if necessary. I want my words to be “salt and light” and regarded with great respect because of being regarded as a woman of strength and dignity. I find when HE is in charge of my words, and I speak what He wants me to, this happens. May it be so for all of us.

Double dog dare you to be brave and go on record with where you are in the journey on this one! What is He doing? What has He done?

Love to you,

~Nina

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Comments

  1. says

    I am very poor at this. I speak a lot about unimportant things and I know my husband tunes out. I tend to involve myself in conversations I wasn’t invited into. Sometimes I realize how pathetic I’m being. This is one of the biggest things I wish I could change about myself. I was never taught how to communicate and I know my husband doesn’t view me as worthy of respect. I’m gonna pray about this. Thank you for opening my eyes with your testimony.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Babylove,
      I’m so glad you are going to pray! There’s so much power there! If you are on Facebook with us, be sure to check the Francis Chan video from yesterday. It speaks to the power you are about to unleash. :)
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  2. says

    WONDERFUL! It was such a blessing to read this, and so applicable to all areas of my life! I am a counselor by profession, and find that, in my personal life (with my husband and children), I talk a lot more than I speak. I usually attribute it to the fact that I am always listening, and rarely have anyone listen to me.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Lorene, I’m sorry I don’t know how to change your name… but I SO appreciate the comments! Stellar input!
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  3. Loren Horst says

    Oh yes, I totally relate to this… learning to ask God what HE wants me to say, the offering of advice to older children and adults instead of just saying …this is how it must be, etc. I was not shown this when growing up, My dad chose our wedding date, never asking me what I preferred. By that time I was a locked down girl so I just agreed because my opinion never mattered anyways. Only years later, after being majorly depressed and ready to walk out of my marriage if I hadn’t believed it was wrong to do so…. did I get help and begin a journey of learning to communicate. Of course, the way has been full of falling in the ditches on both sides at times…but bit by bit I am learning to do what is being presented in this article….it is my heart cry to be so in tune with Jesus and live out of HIS Spirit, not my flesh.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Lorene, we are all on this journey together, and all of us have our growth opportunities. SO GLAD you are here!
      Nina

  4. leahgwen says

    Nina, I read this first thing this morning. My first thought was “How does she know my life?” I mean the girl in college, my opinion about my opinions, – EVERYTHING. So I was thinking through it all morning. And I was like “This is why I love her stuff – she’s so real – so just like me.” I was thinking about the maturing in the Lord part and really saw that in my life.
    Then I go into my husband’s office and he has written a follow up email for an interview. And he has just told me something about himself that is present in this email. And he asked for my opinion. I could say anything. And I chose my words very carefully. His response “You are so blunt. Why aren’t you saying anything?” Well….I’m trying to show my maturity by not always saying EVERYTHING. Haven’t you noticed this change in me over the last 5 years? Or am I not doing as well as I thought?
    (I might blog this later…it seems like too much for a comment)
    Enough to say – wow…humbled today yet again.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Leahgwen -
      I’m just glad you are here. We learn so much from our mistakes, right? I know that the more I seek Him, the more He reveals to me – and the further I have to go, I realize. It’s all good. Sometimes painful, but totally worth it.
      Blessings,
      Nina

  5. says

    Where I was (especially in ladies small group studies): I can’t wait until we talk about that question this week. I spent 2 hours writing out my answer just right. I know this is something God wants me to share, my testimony here is exactly what the author was looking for. I know we have a lot to get through every week but even if class time goes over, I’ve GOT to get this out there. Oh wow, that question is really good too and this is all part of my story and it will be okay this one time if I just keep sharing. I mean no one else really ever talks anyway – and silence, just waiting, that’s so boring. This scenario was often followed by me being distracted, going over my thoughts in my head of how I will share, missing the entire class discussion, realizing that time is short because someone else talked too long and either me not being able to share or me being cut off. Which led to my judgement of the leader or others for not allowing God to speak through me. And my anger.
    Twenty times. In that short paragraph, the words “I” and “me” are used 20 times.
    Where I am heading: Oh God what are you trying to teach me in this question? What a blessing to be in Your presence Lord, waiting on Your voice. God I really need to hear how other people have answered this question. Lord, I pray for my friends as they study this week, I pray that the lady who needs to answer this is bold and brave, that you are giving her courage to speak.

    And sometimes, God calls me to be that one to share His testimony through my struggles.

    I’m embarrassed to say just how (not) long it has been since that first scenario. And I know I do the same thing with my Knight and my sweet blessings. Something always comes to my mind, some scenario I lived or heard about and I rationalize it with how God wants me to use it – which is true sometimes – when there is a better way, with less words. Today this is very important for my home, for the 6 that I have that need my respect, that mostly need me to LISTEN. Thanks for the new reminder and the great advice. <3

    • Nina Roesner says

      I love this! :) Katy, we are ALL growing in discernment – and we are of so much more blessing to others when He is in the middle of it all! :) Can totally relate! So glad you shared this…so very glad. You bless others with your experience!
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  6. says

    Thank you for this today. I have been asking God to put a guard on my lips and to be conscious of the words I am speaking. I want to speak life and that which is helpful, kind, forgiving and most of all loving. Our words are powerful and they are either speaking life or death. It’s amazing the how when you really listen to silly little terms that we somehow come to pick up are not good, Such things as : my head is killing me, I’m always running late, you drive me crazy, you’re killing me, ect. I’m trying to catch those phrases and change them to Either start with “It feels like” or even better “God thank you for healing this head ache and taking it from me.”
    May that verse in James to drop in my heart that I may be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger.

    • says

      Also, thank you Nina for what you had to say concerning your older children. I have a 22 year old and an 18 year old and it’s easy to just want to try and fix everything for them. I can see how respectful it would be to approach them in the way you are suggesting.

      • Nina Roesner says

        Michelle –
        I agree, our words bring life or death – to people and to relationship. And yes, it is so important to do with older kids, as we can launch them more effectively – but still be influential in their lives, if that makes sense.

        Thankful for your comments! Glad you are here!
        Love to you,
        ~Nina

  7. abigail says

    Thanks for this post- i have so far to grow in this area, but am grateful that i am able to see my need for growth- God has been teaching me a lot about co dependence lately- i see how much i try ti fixs peoples pain and end up causing more problems not trusting that God has given people their own cups to bear

    • Nina Roesner says

      Abigail – Praising God that He’s helping you see what’s yours to carry, and what belongs to others. SO very important – and sometimes really hard. We received some difficult news today about one of my son’s health, and I’m having to moment by moment pray, choose joy, and not try to control things. Love to you,
      ~Nina

  8. Donna says

    I needed to speak to my husband regarding a very important issue. But instead of helping myself to forgive him, which was my intent, the discussion escalated into me actually having a break down, I actually threw things at him, screamed and stomped my feet. NOT ME! Oh I have screamed in the past, but in anger with a shaking fist, vulgar language and bitter hateful words (sorry the truth is ugly) But yesterday I was like a child, terrified that he would reject me, I reverted back to pain that I had felt when I was four years old.
    I learned that I should have stopped prayed thought carefully about what I REALLY needed to say, prayed some more asking God to reveal to me His words to say. I believe if I would have prepared myself in a Godly way none of the ugly would have happened. I know I can’t control what my hubby says to me, but I CAN CONTROL my own tongue!
    Thank God for the support I am receiving from Nina and all the lovely ladies in my Respect Dare class.
    Donna

    • Nina Roesner says

      Donna -
      In His perspective thinking rightly, and through contentment, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (read philippians 4:8-13) Thank you for sharing this – it will spur others on! And our Father forgives a repentant heart – always. ALWAYS. :)
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

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