**Links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that if you click that link and purchase the product, I will receive a small compensation. I am, however, committed to honestly assessing the products mentioned. My opinions are my true feelings and are not affected by my participation in the program!**
Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All, by Karen Ehman, is a must-read for every woman, especially those of us who tend to get ourselves in trouble with our mouths! As the title suggests, this book is about using our words … for good. With wisdom, insight, and humorous honesty, Karen tackles such tough (but oh so relevant!) subjects as how we talk to our husbands and kids, gossip, speaking the truth in love, and the very timely matter of what we say on social media. More than just a list of do’s and don’ts, she prompts us to dig deeper to address the source of our words. As she says,
“[My words] are purposeful and intentional, having originated first in my heart. So if we have a mouth problem, in actuality what we really have is a mind and heart issue.”
I could very much relate to Karen throughout this book. I have always had a bit of a “gift of gab.” As a child, I talked so incessantly that my parents would assign to me periods of “talking time-outs.” I always had something to say (and I often still do)! Being a talker can definitely be an asset at times, but my mouth has also gotten me into trouble more times than I can count over the years. My swiftness to offer my opinion on any and all subject matters came back to bite my in the behind more than a few times! Thankfully, I have tempered my opinionated nature significantly in adulthood, but I still have a tendency to overshare, steal more than my fair share of conversations, and speak before I listen. I also struggle with speaking harshly in anger (who doesn’t??), and Karen is right when she says that there is often a double standard between how we use our words with people outside our family and how we use them with those we love the most.
This book was so challenging, and yet encouraging, to me as it covered all those topics and more. Her humble approach reassured me that I’m not alone in my struggle. Although the words she spoke were challenging and convicting, they were free from any sense of condemnation or her own perfection. Her personal stories showed that she has been where I am, done what I’ve done, and said what I’ve said. Through her own experiences, Biblical examples, and what I’m sure was divine inspiration, Karen packs this book with great wisdom, encouragement, and very practical advice.
There is so much to glean from what she has to say, but I’ll leave you with two of my favorite take-aways. The first comes from her chapter on gossip and is a list of three questions to ask yourself whenever you’re tempted to let your tongue wag:
“When considering whether to chatter about something, ask yourself first: Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?”
My favorite quote, and the one that originally piqued my interest enough to buy the book in the first place, is this,
“Don’t say something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off.”
Regardless of whether you’re a talker like Karen and me, or your words tend to be few, I would highly recommend this book. I can’t imagine a woman out there that doesn’t need help using her words more wisely from time to time. Keep It Shut is so helpful, and so practical, that it won’t be one that you just read and forget about. It’s one that you will keep and refer to time and time again.