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Shut Up Grace

Shut Up Grace

St.Louis Author Releases the Power of Shut Up Grace

On May 1st, 2016, at her book release, St. Louis author Tonita Smith release a book, ‘The Power of Shut-Up Grace,’ that has already drawn staunch criticism for its message even before hitting the shelves. Author Tonita Smith has been told her book will set the women’s movement back 20 years, and that it will make women weak.  But Author Smith disagrees with her naysayers.

Like a line of women authors who are emerging with the new perspective of It’s-Not-All-Men’s-Fault, Author Smith feels her book has a message that needs to be heard.  We agree.  Check out our one-on-one interview with emerging author, Tonita Smith.

Tonita_Smith_BookEveryDayWeSpend:  Hello.  Thank you for accepting this interview.  What is the name of your book?

Tonita Smith:   My book is titled, “The Power of Shut-Up Grace.”

EveryDayWeSpend:  What does that mean?

Tonita Smith:   Shut Up Grace is where you have a connection with God so close that you understand discernment and the conviction to know when to be quiet.  It warns you to be still.  It’s to allow God’s presence to overwhelm what you’re thinking about saying (back) sharp with your mouth (in rebuttal).  Shut-Up Grace is about being humble and being so connected that you learn to put your flesh under arrest at times of attack when you want to say something (back) but are humbled by the spirit of God that comes over you. Shut-Up Grace is disciplining yourself to know when it’s wiser to be quiet.

EveryDayWeSpend:  Do you mean being quiet in relationships, or in business?  Which are you referring to?

Tonita Smith:   In every situation. I have learned to practice Shut-Up Grace in every situation; it’s a practiced lifestyle. There are plenty of situations where I have (shot off at the mouth) and there were consequences as a result. God always brought those situations back to my remembrance as to why I should’ve been quiet and trusted Him to handle that situation. I’ve used shut-up grace in relationships with friends. I used to be a very opinionated and judgmental person. I always got something (cutting) to say for everything on any occasion. But God dealt with me and delivered me from that negativity, and He taught me. The Holy Spirit taught me how to know when I need to deliver an opinion, or advice, and when not to. I use Shut-up Grace every day.

EveryDayWeSpend:  How has it helped you in your relationship or in your marriage?

Tonita Smith:   Using Shut-up Grace in my marriage has been very challenging.  I’ve always been a very outspoken person. Dealing with a (headstrong) man and myself being a (headstrong) woman I have recognized so many tests. So many times  when I needed to be submissive or to allow my husband to have the last word, versus me wanting to have the last word, at times I’ve spoken out of  Gods timing and the results were horrible.   I often ended up in tears or ended up in a really bad argument. Things went left when it needed to go right, all because I allowed my flesh to overpower what the Holy Spirit was saying; which was to sit quiet.

EveryDayWeSpend:  In this era of Feminism, some women may say what does Tonita mean by suggesting we shut up?  This will set Feminism back 20 years.  How do you respond to that?

Tonita Smith:   I disagree, I believe that a wise woman builds her home not tear it down with her mouth.  I never want to be considered that foolish woman that tears my own home down with my own foolish words.  It’s better to build up my husband.  Marriage is about partnership.  If you see your mate as your partner in every aspect then that means supporting him.  I support my husband in every adventure, if it’s not illegal, unethical or immoral, I’m right there with him.  I’ve heard women challenge their men about who makes the most money in the home; that’s foolish.  Marriage is not about competing, it’s about partnership. If I make $50,000 and my husband makes $5000.00 then together we got $55,000.00.  Relationships have to be viewed as a partnership, not competitions.

EveryDayWeSpend:  In our community we use the phrase, ‘I’m keeping it 100’, meaning I’m going to say it exactly what’s on my mind at the time, without any verbal filters. We tend to view using verbal restraint as being phony.  What’s your take on it?

Tonita Smith:   I don’t think holding back is being phony.  I have used that term, “Keeping it 100”, but I also use wisdom when I’m keeping it 100.  If it’s not something that’s going to help someone, or to benefit them, or build them up, then it’s not keeping it 100.  What will you gain from tearing someone down, just letting your tongue lash out and by saying whatever (sass) comes to mind?  That’s foolish.  That’s not using wisdom.  I don’t believe in being reactive. We all have an internal pause button, we must learn use it.  Use that quiet time to consult with God before you open your mouth.  Your outcome will be much greater.

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EveryDayWeSpend:  So how has using ,”Shut Up Grace” helped you on your job?

Tonita Smith:   At my job, I’m actually going through a situation right now. It’s funny that you would ask.  In a previous situation that I refer to in the book I was actually a supervisor at a clinic where I had an employee being blatantly disrespectful to me on every level. But with Shut-Up Grace I recognized her as a test.  I knew the easy way out would’ve been to write her up or fire her. I also knew this lady really needed her job.  She allowed a bad spirit to use her, and God allowed me to see that this was not even her.  It wasn’t about her, this was my test.  I recognized it clearly when she said, “Let’s see how holy she’s going to be now.”  It was in this moment that I knew exactly what God wanted me to see and do for his Glory.  Fire her or keep her?  It made me very emotional. I prayed and asked “Why me God”?  God said, “Why not you?” I really felt like God didn’t want ME to fire her.  That wasn’t part of the test; that would be too easy.  I started praying, and then got wisdom from an elder lady; she was my confirmation.  She told me to start going to into work early before the lady and to start praying in her area.  As much as my flesh didn’t want to pray for this mean lady, I knew it was part of my test.  I knew it was God moving me out of my comfort zone by having me to pray for somebody that I didn’t want to pray for because I felt she was utterly disrespectful. In the past I would’ve cursed this lady out, it’s no telling what I would’ve said to her in my old self. As I began to pray for her things began to shift. One day she came to work started packing up her things, got her purse, and got up and walked out.  She never said I quit. She never left a resignation or anything. God had removed her.

Shut-Up Grace does not mean you allow people to walk all over you. It simply means you keep your eyes on God and trust him to work things out for your good and his Glory.

That message there taught me to pray every time that I recognize the enemy, pray for them, not tongue lash them. Right now I am a supervisor dealing with a new (similar) person trying to cause our job atmosphere to be caustic.  The same lesson from over ten years ago has me coming in early in the morning praying for him. Today he sent an apology out to everyone for the way he has been behaving.  What inspired him to do that?  I really do live by the power of Shut-Up Grace and I know if God can do it for me, he can and will do it for anyone.

Tonita_Smith_EveryDayWeSpend:   People who don’t know you may say that encouraging people to use Shut Up Grace is passive, and something a weak person or a pushover would suggest. How do your friends know you?

Tonita Smith:   My friends know me (now) as being humble. I wasn’t always like this. I used to (verbally) rip people coming and going. Now I hear a lot of my friends come to me for advice because they know that I am going to be honest with them. I have learned through Shut-Up Grace to ask if someone wants my opinion. I learned that jumping the gun without even asking a question or without hitting that internal pause I may say something that will isolate someone or cause them to shut down.

EveryDayWeSpend:  Do your friends view you as a pushover after coming to realization of applying Shut Up Grace?

Tonita Smith:   My friends know I’m not a pushover. (Laugh) They know I can still use the word of God in a loving way to bring tears to their eyes; who can kick against God’s love? They know I’m just being humble. But at the same time I’m not a pushover. Shut-Up Grace does not mean you allow people walk all over you. When something needs to be said, I still say it, but my delivery is different. Grace is in the way you deliver it.

EveryDayWeSpend:  So tell me a little more about the book, what inspired you to write the book?

God gave me a road map and He began to give me stories situations, different things that I was delivered from, to write about. Things that I went through He brought back to me as I wrote.

Tonita Smith:  Originally I always wanted to write children’s books. I believe I aimed for that because children’s books were safe. In writing children’s books I wouldn’t have had to be transparent or expose myself on any level. When I began to write every idea for children’s book I felt the Holy Spirit saying that is not what you are writing. This is not what you are going to write about. Soon God spoke to me so clear about what I was to write about. It was Shut-Up Grace. I was so excited about how clear it was that I went back to my office closed my door and I started typing that day. After an hour, I was at like ten pages deep, I knew then this is what the Lord wanted me to write.

God gave me a road map and He began to give me stories situations, different things that I was delivered from, to write about. Things that I went through He brought back to me as I wrote.

EveryDayWeSpend:  Is your book for women or men? Who is it for?

Tonita Smith:   My book is for anyone. I think men would find as much of a benefit in it as women. But in many ways Shut-Up Grace caters to women. It’s me being a female talking about real situations dealing with spouses, families, dealing with work, dealing with social media and more.  I think women would be able to relate more.  But men will also appreciate its message.

EveryDayWeSpend:  Do you think that women have an issue women being wise with their tongues?  Do you think verbal abuse from women is an issue nowadays?

Tonita Smith:  Definitely, just to give you a quick example, the guy who published my book I did not know him personally. But after hearing what it would be about, offered to publish my book for free. I saw it as a favor from God. So I got on it. When he printed the proof he had an extra copy. I asked him why he had an extra. He said “My ex-girlfriend needs your book. I know it’s not ready for other people to read but if you don’t mind please do me the honors of autographing this copy for her. I’m going to present it to her as a gift. I want to see what her reaction will be after reading it,” he said. The next day he called me to come to his office saying I want to show you something. He took out his phone and showed me a text message from his ex-girlfriend. In her text she said, “Thank you so much for my gift. After reading this book I am on a fast and I am practicing the power of Shut-up Grace.”
She said, “I don’t know this young lady but I would like to come to her book signing with five ladies from our church. I would like to meet her to see if she is willing to speak at our women’s conference. So many other ladies could benefit from this book.”
Just hearing that reaction made me feel good. Knowing that he read it and felt he knew someone that could benefit from my book made me feel so good, even in just knowing that my stories blessed someone felt good.

EveryDayWeSpend:  Why should people buy Shut Up Grace?

Tonita Smith:  Anyone who desires positive change should read Shut-Up Grace. Anyone who is willing to be honest with themselves, and is open for self-evaluation should read Shut-Up Grace. To want to make a change, I’m exposing myself for change. I’m being truthful till the end of it. It’s definitely worth reading. You never know how you may connect with the situations in it, whether it’s on a job, in relationships, even down to children, its reason enough to hear what someone else has gone through on their journey and how God brought them out of circumstances. I want the seed to be planted that if God can do it for her than he can do it for me.

EveryDayWeSpend:  Is there one scripture that this book is based off of?

Tonita Smith:   Yes. Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

EveryDayWeSpend: Thank you for the interview.

Tonita Smith:  No, Thank You.

For more information on Shut Up Grace  visit her website here AuthorTonitaSmith.com or visit her social media page below.

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Comments (6)

  1. Hey cousin, that interview was great. I love you and I am so proud of you. I will see you tomorrow.

  2. I just ordered my copy and I can’t wait to start reading it. Maybe God continue to bless you on this journey!

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