Confession: I did not communicate effectively in a meeting last week. At one point during a discussion, my words did not match my heart’s intent. What I thought I said in kindness came out awkward and off.
The worst part is that I didn’t even realize it!
Thankfully, my co-leader pointed out this epic fail to me after the meeting. I thought explaining what I intended to say would help her understand how my words were meant to be positive not negative. Of course, I thought she needed the clarification to see how I was right. Another fail. My explanation only validated how I missed the mark in communicating with one of our interns. I was horrified.
I quickly made amends for the poor communication. The intern was gracious with me and knew my heart was not to hurt or offend her. [Sigh of relief]
Yet, how often throughout my week does this happen without someone present to point out my blunders?
Clear communication is a necessity and a challenge in day-to-day living. How people express themselves–their word choice, their tone and the filters both the speaker and listener have–can help or hurt effective communication. While we can’t control other people’s interpretation of our words, we can do a better job at presenting information clearly.
Why did I make such a blunder last week? To list a few reasons that are apparent to me in this moment:
- I’ve been overworking.
- I’ve been tired.
- I’ve been stressed.
- I’ve needed more quiet time to notice what is going in my heart.
- I’ve needed more time to listen to the Lord and hear His Words.
Communicating well, in my opinion, necessitates self-care. If we take care of ourselves, we can take better care of others around us. It’s part of the “love your neighbor as yourself” principle (Matt. 22:39). When we are in better shape emotionally, physically, and spiritually, our communication improves. We reflect Jesus better. It’s a simple truth with lasting impact on those around us.
My prayer is that we will take care of ourselves a bit better this week, so that we can wield our words with more grace and clarity. The world needs better Christians and better communicators!
Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. -Psalm 141:3