Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The {Misused} Strength of Silence

I listened to a sermon by Rick Warren this weekend titled
"Making The Hard Changes In Me."

One of the main guiding questions of the message was,
"Why is is to hard to change myself?"

I listened & it resonated with my heart.

My defects come from three main places:
1. Biological - my genetics
2. Sociological - my background
3. Theological - my choices

Two things Pastor Rick Warren said that struck me about the places these defects come from were
*My defects are my attempts to meet my unmet needs.
*My defects are often my strengths being misused.Quite candidly, I have a defect of silence.
When I am angry, when I am hurt, when I need words of encouragement or thanks, I grow silent. For someone who loves words, I lose my ability to talk and I shut down. I wait for others to read my mind, know my heart, and fill the gap caused by my emotion.

This defect is both sociological & theological.

I went through something very traumatic at 14 that taught me to be silent, to write, that no one hears my cries. Silence became my sociological defect.
15 years later, silence is a theological defect because I know better.
I know I have voice, that I can be heard but I live in fear and lack of practice at speaking up and out.
Instead I write, I stew, I live in a silent turmoil until it bursts--most frequently passively and with the very select few, openly or aggressively.

On the flip side, my silence is also my strength.
My silence compels what I love, writing.
My experience with silence has caused me to champion for women's rights and volunteer with other organizations that fight for women's voices.

Now I have to figure out how to make what is more dominantly and unhealthily my defect into a permanent change of strength.

So, Why is so hard to change the defects?
The reason that was like a lightning bolt to me:
Because we identify with our weaknesses with statements like, "That's just the way I am."
This statement causes us to identify with our sin when the truth is, we are not our sin.

I loved Pastor Rick's clear example of how we identify with out sin.
He pointed out that in AA meetings, people introduce themselves as,
"My name is X & I am an alcoholic."
In Saddleback's Celebrate Recovery, they do things differently:
"My name is X. I am a Christian and I struggle with alcoholism."

What a profound difference in phrasing!
I am not my sin, I am a Christian who struggles with a sin!

So here I am.
Thinking about the truths of who I am.
Who I was genetically established as, who I became by my environment, and who I am by my choices.
The truth is, I am incredibly proud of who I am because I chose this version of me
I also have an incredibly long way I want to travel each day as I choose to be even more then who I am today.

It will happen--out loud & not in silence.


  1. Bravo!! I love the way you write and express your feelings. I shut down too, I become silent... My husband know instantly when I am upset cause he doesnt here my voice.... And then I say nothing is wrong wanting him to magical know what I'm hurt about.... I must work on it. Thankfully it doesn't happen often but when it does it's so hard on him and me,
    Thanks for the well wishes.... My stone is being removed tomorrow.. It seems to have gotten stuck.... Really who would have thought I could push out four babies without an epidural and now a 5mm stone is stuck!!!! Ouch!!!!!

  2. love this post... My defects are often my strengths being misused.... very interesting and positive way of thinking. will log this away for future musing.