Newsletter 604 – When There’s Nothing to Say

MAN WALKING 1Obviously this image of somebody walking away is not a photo of me, but did anyone wonder if I’d walked away from this newsletter for the past few days? There was no crisis or decision to quit writing. I simply got swamped with other things and decided to let this go for a couple of weeks.

At the beginning I named this a newsletter, determined to give weekly updates on issues that were recent, fresh, and relevant to anyone who might read what I would write. Usually the material for these posts comes from the diversity of things that I read or from the interesting people with whom I interact. But sometimes other things get in the way of this goal, usually the result of one or two obstacles. Probably you encounter these as well.

First obstacle is too much material. This is the information overload problem of being inundated with magazines, newsletters, books, blogs, audio or printed newspapers and floods of media material that we want to read. Wall Street Journal (March 11) reported that three in four surveyed people felt overwhelmed much of the time because of too much information. These people feel they will never catch up despite using various methods for learning “faster and smarter,” including an underwater device that permits listening and swimming at the same time.

Second obstacle is not having anything to say or lacking the time to find something fresh. That was me last week. Why write a newsletter when I did not have any news to share? (What do columnists or pastors do when they have deadlines but nothing worthwhile to communicate?) Often this dearth comes because we stop reading or connecting with people. Take in nothing and there is nothing to give out. Without external input we dry up.

Of course we’re speechless at times because we encounter a disaster or seemingly impossible problem. More often we struggle with unrealistic expectations. It is difficult to apply the principle that no one person can know, learn, read, or develop expertise in every area that seems interesting. Harder is accepting the fact that God never calls one person to do everything or help everybody. We need to set realistic priorities, discern God’s calling and responsibilities for our lives, and sometimes walk away from things that we can leave for a time. Do you agree? Please leave a comment.


  1. Thank you Gary! I VERY much enjoy reading your newsletters – your wisdom and observations – short basics – a little like a BB coach during a brief time-out. I really enjoyed the personal touch here!


  2. Always appreciate your wisdom, Gary. Sometimes we need to be silent as we adjust to a new situation or reality, revising an attitude or altering a perspective. It’s difficult to take in what we may need to go forward if we are already busy with dispensing what we have. In the process of growth there is a time and a season for everything. So glad you share your process with us!


  3. I agree wholeheartedly, Gary. When I begin to feel overwhelmed by the onslaught of emails and information now available at my finger tips it’s a sign that something’s going on. And it’s not good. This information-overload takes a toll on my connection to God and to the people around me. In fact, I believe that the quality of my relationships is a litmus test of my spirituality, and so my racing heart and aching head informs me that my God-connection needs to be realigned. It’s then that I pray for wisdom, something that seems to be lacking in today’s world. On my knees I get the chance to reset my barometer and reconnect to Him and to others, through prayer and by spending more time in the Word.


  4. We need to be comfortable with silence. Especially when we believe we are obligated to speak (and have nothing to say).
    That is when GOD is most likely to fill the void.


  5. Thanks for the good words that remind me that I can be overwhelmed by information overload only to find myself left with nothing to say that has substance.

    I have been wrestling with an observation that Henri Nouwen made in is book on Christian leadership where he says the that the future of Christian leadership will be found in the embrace of irrelevance rather than the pursuit of being relevant.

    I suspect that following the wisdom of the old hymn will helps us cut through the noise of excessive info and focus on Him:

    “Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
    Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
    By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
    Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.


  6. Gary I know what pastors that have nothing to say should do – shut up – but they don’t don’t seem to have any problem with saying nothing meaningful 🙂


  7. Gary, it’s true! I am a pastor here in Brazil and I write in my blog and website. Sometimes I get so absorbed with so many other activities that do not spare me time to write something, or ideas just do not sprout. It gives me an enormous sense of failure. His text was comforting. It’s true … There are times when there is nothing to be said.


  8. Hi Gary,

    I have not received your last two Newsletters – 605 and 606. Please put me back on your list. Thanks, /Jenny/ skype: jennygiez +60 16 485 3814


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