A Time to Speak Up and A Time to Zip Up

Sharon JaynesFriendship, Power of Words 24 Comments

Timing is everything. How many times have I heard that? How many times have I heeded that? Hmmm. Those two answers are not the same.

When my son,  Steven, was about seven years old, we went snow skiing. For hours I instructed him how to stand up, ski down, and get up once he fell. In his frustration, Steven fell down and fell down and fell down. He was not getting the hang of it at all. What’s the problem, I wondered? Then I found out. It was me.

“Mom,” Steven cried, “if you just quit telling me what to do, I think I could get it.”

“Fine!” I said. “Go ahead and do it your way!”

And you know what? He did. Thirty minutes later Steven was cruising down the slopes with ease. My continued instruction had been a hindrance to Steven working out the maneuvers on his own.

Sometimes the most powerful words are the ones we withhold. Ecclesiastes 3:1,7 says, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens…a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

In the Bible, Esther is a wonderful example of a wise woman who knew that timing was crucial. Under the influence of the evil Haman, the King Xerxes issued a decree that the Hebrew people be destroyed. However, the king didn’t know that Queen Esther was one of them.

After much prayer, fasting, and deliberation, Esther went before the king to make a petition. It was an important request because the entire Hebrew nation was at stake. When the King asked her to make her request, she didn’t grovel at his feet and beg for her people to be spared. Rather she calmly invited him to dinner. The timing wasn’t right.

When the king attended the soiree the following evening, she didn’t grovel at his feet and beg for her people to be spared. Once again, she invited him to dinner the following evening. The timing still wasn’t right.

At the next dinner party, the king offered Esther yet a third opportunity to make her request. Finally, Esther revealed evil Haman’s plot to annihilate the entire Hebrew nation, which included her life as well. The Hebrews were saved, and Haman was hanged.

Here’s a lesson among the drama. Esther had a very important request for the king, and she waited until the time was right. Sure, she could have made the request the first time she approached the king when he extended the golden scepter in approval. She could have offered her petition at the first dinner party when he offered her anything she desired, “up to half the kingdom.” But there was something in Esther’s spirit that caused her to wait.

Even though the Bible doesn’t tell us directly, I believe Esther was listening to God. Because of her obedience, the entire Hebrew nation was saved.

Whether we’re talking about raising children, deepening a relationship, or working with others, we can follow Esther’s example to know when to speak and when to remain silent. Some of the most powerful words are the ones we choose not to speak.

Heavenly Father, help me know when to speak up and when to keep silent. Help me say the right words at the right time to the right people. And if my words do not fit that filter, then give me the self-control to keep quiet. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Leave a comment and share one time you kept quiet and were so glad you did.


My best-selling book and Bible study guide, The Power of a Woman’s Words: How the Words You Speak Shape the Lives of Others is perfect for your 2024 Bible study with a group or on your own.

Words are one of the most powerful forces in the universe, and God has entrusted them to you! They echo in hearts and minds long after they are spoken. How will we use this gift? Your words can change the course of someone’s day…even someone’s life.

CLICK HERE to sign up for Sharon’s FREE 5 DAY TAMING THE TONGUE CHALLENGE. Come on friend, we can do it together.


© 2024 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.

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Comments 24

  1. This is one of my biggest pitfall. I remember when I was a child there was a sign in out kitchen “your tongue weighs practically nothing so why can’t you just hold it”. So, again today I will pray to let Jesus filter my words before I speak.

    Thank you, Sharon

  2. As a kid i would find the right time to ask my parents for something I want. If they are in good mood then I would ask them.

    As a Secretary, if my boss is busy or he doesn’t want to receive calls. I would screen his calls. If it’s his wife or the President (I work for the National Government in my country) i would transfer their calls to him.

    Sometimes timing and preferences go hand in hand.

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  3. About the Taming the Tongue Challenge, is a comment considered complaining? While my son was driving to school this morning, I commented that it was raining so hard, I couldn’t see the lines on the road. I asked him if he could see okay, and he said yes. Then I thought, is my comment complaining?

    1. To me this seems like a comment and not a complaint. Had you said you hated the rain or you wished it wouldn’t always rain (things I have said!) that would have been a complaint, in my book.

  4. Good morning dear sisters in Christ
    Although our tongue is a small member of our body, it can speak incredible hurtful words or it can encourage and build someone up. The longer I walk with Jesus, I know that I try to stop and think WWJD! Most often I keep my mouth shut. As my mama told many times “if you don’t have anything nice to say to someone, don’t say anything at all!” I’m very grateful and blessed that I had a mama who loved Jesus and instilled to her 3 daughters. God Bless you all and thank you for your stories to encourage me! ❤️

  5. Speaking of timing, this message was perfect for me. One of my daughters, a single mom of 3 young ones, is going through a really low point in her life. I need to shut my mouth or speak when it’s God’s timing just like Esther. Thank you Sharon and sisters in the faith for your words of wisdom!

  6. I believe I’m going through one of those moments since yesterday with my job. I have been mistreated and I wanted to fire back with words I walked away from it. This morning I have decided to be of few words until I’m ready to speak. Listening to what God needs me to say rather what I want to say. Thank you for sharing your sons story.

  7. I struggle to give a “ quick” frustrated response to my husband who has beginning Alzheimer’s. It’s so true that we women can set the tone in our home by our words/tone it is spoke. Words are very powerful and can tear down or build up. I’m praying mine will build up!
    I recently purchased your book The Power of a Women’s Words – and I HIGHLY recommend it to any woman! It has helped me so much!
    I love all your books Sharon! You’re a blessing to many!

  8. When I’m angry I speak not so nice words to my husband . I don’t want to do this anymore. It is hard to admit this and I have shame about it. God says to me . “ No more! “ I will build my husband up and encourage him. When I’m angry I will take a time out. We have counseling today so I’m thankful for that. Thank you for this Sharon! Thank you Jesus!

  9. My story is trying to teach my son to swim when he was little. (He is now 28)! All the other kids were swimming, my son had too as well! (Pride) When I finally let him be, he was swimming, and he was going off the diving board in the deep end! I just watched him without saying a word.
    Waiting on the Lord can be so hard, I often wonder how many times I get in His way. Great devotional! <3

  10. I have prayed many times for God to give the words to speak and the time to speak them. I also ask Him to keep my mouth shut at the right times. As an older woman, I’ve finally learned that my actions speak louder than my words, well, most of the time! Sometimes my mouth over rules my good sense! Prayer and God’s Word are my best tools!

  11. As I live with my elderly father who can be verbally cantankerous, the other day I was feeling frustrated about a situation that occured regarding this, and vented to a friend about it. Afterwards, In my being, I felt that I hadn’t filtered my words as I should have. I asked God for forgiveness and extra help in this.
    Interestingly, just the day before, I had been visiting family and watching an old Veggie-Tales one eve with my 7 year old grandaughter about the story of Esther !
    I appreciate this post very much and will be praying each day on how I speak.

  12. I’m still working on this. Honestly, there are too many times I can tell you when I haven’t kept quiet. Thank you for this today! It reminds me and inspires me to listen inwardly and follow instead of being stubborn and charging forward. 🙂

  13. As a child, I was not allowed to verbalize my feelings when hurt or angry and created an anger issue for me as an adult. My husband was raised the same way. Needless to say, disagreements turned into heated arguments very quickly between us.
    It took me many years, studying the Bible and striving to be more like Jesus, but I finally learned I do not need to say everything on my mind and when my husband is angry, just keep my mouth shut. Then, when we have both calmed down, we can talk more respectfully and rationally.
    Neither of us are perfect by any means, but we have come a long way.
    Sharon, some of your resources have been a major blessing in this journey. First through your app that I found years ago to pray for my husband, then the Facebook page to pray for my husband, and your book Praying for your husband from head to toe and the 30 day challenge. Thank you for your ministry, you are a blessing to more of us than I think you realize. Just look at comments on your Facebook page, many have been missing your daily prayers for our husbands. I pray God continues to give you strength, wisdom and encouragement to continue using you to bless others. 🙏🏼❤️

  14. Thank you for this gentle reminder of the power of our words Sharon. A kind word turns away raft and a harsh or wrong word can cut and damage more than a two edged sword.

  15. Thank you for this devotion. A time that resonates with me to remain quiet was when we were at a college baseball visit for our son. As we were sitting in a coaches office listening to him talk about the program my son was interested in, a feeling came over me, as someone was telling me, this is the one. This is where he will go. I’m son had 5 offers to play baseball at colleges and he had narrowed it down to 2; this college being one of the 2. I could have told my son about what came over me but I chose to be quiet. This was his decision and he needed to follow his heart. Fortunately he chose this college and us extreme happy. God has given him a gift and I know had I spoke up, it could have confused him more. He is where God wants him for now.

  16. My daughter was in a relationship that was not good for her. That is how she described it. After some months she has gone back. I said all I could have say back then when she was broke off the communicatin. I believe God is leading me to be quiet and just pray for her. I am keeping quiet regarding her relationship and I am glad I am doing that.

  17. Dear Sharon

    I am going through so many challenges at the moment and I came across this and realised that many times I create some frictions myself with speaking when no words are required, I pray that God will help me keep quiet more often even if I am burning to say something.

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