Conversation is one of the tools by which we put people at ease.
Good conversation, for me, is very much considering other people first. It is a matter of finding the right questions to ask that will discover their interests, their unique contributions to the world, their special areas of growth. Even in the purely intellectual pursuit of ideas, it is important to keep in mind that what other people have to say is of merit. Even when we disagree, we must learn to be hospitable to their concepts.
One afternoon I invited a large group of women to come for coffee. We crowded around the dining room table and began to share common things from our daily lives. Somehow it seemed as though everyone was talking at once and no one was listening to the other people. I tipped my chair back, slipped into my mind’s eye, and saw each person as a caricature of herself. Each one seemed to be saying only one word, “Me.”
Over and over they repeated themselves, “Me. Me. Me. Me-me-me-me-me-me-me-me-me-me-me.” Disgusted, I refrained from talking and contented myself with filling cups and passing cake.
However, the Lord had something significant for me to learn from that afternoon coffee klatch. He was soon asking, “Don’t you do the same thing yourself? Isn’t your conversation basically ‘me-me-me?’ Aren’t you mostly concerned about what people think of you, about expressing only your ideas, about having others think how cleverly you turn a phrase, how humorous your repartee is, what an eager mind you have, and how eloquent you wax?”
It was a moment of truth. Self-examination revealed that I entered a room personality-first, thought nothing of becoming the center of a party to the exclusion of others, dominated conversations, and fought inwardly to interject as many words as possible into the discussion. I, too, needed to become a “you-you-you” person. It has taken years, but I am learning to say “you-you-you.”
Karen Mains has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
For decades, Karen Mains and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
In addition, pastors will find special resources to help them create effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.