Or at least I hope that I can say them over my lifetime.
I’m still in self-reflection mode from last year. I know. I should be done by now. I’m not. Sorry to disappoint. Two phrases deal with people and the other deals with God.
“I want to like him/her.” I was asked this past year what I thought about a mutual acquaintance. Honestly, everything I had heard about the person was less than desirable. But the truth of the matter is that perception is not always reality. It rarely is. I heard these words come out of my mouth and couldn’t believe that I had said them. I want to like that person. Regardless of whether or not I have reason to do so, I always want to be open to the Holy Spirit giving me the desire to show God’s love when it’s least reasonable. There’s a subtle nuance here. We can’t always get along with everyone. But we can always desire to get along with everyone. Maybe that’s shooting for the moon or something. It certainly doesn’t come natural to anyone. I suppose that’s why it has to be a point of supernatural surrender.
“There’s a lot you can learn underneath the bus.“ I heard this phrase on some podcast in the last six months. Don’t ask me which one – I can’t remember. But that phrase stuck with me. People will throw you under the bus with little reservation. And the image here is that others who get thrown under the bus often write their words of wisdom on the underside. And there’s a lot to learn there. Sometimes it helps to stay there for a while and reflect. But as you tell your story under the bus, others will tell you theirs. And you’d be amazed at how similar they are sometimes. I’m not a fan of betrayal, hurt, pain, or broken relationships…but I’m beginning to figure out that there are few ways faster to learn about people and about life. It’s like going from dial-up to a T1. Everyone has been under the bus before. And there’s a lot to learn there.
“Either way you and I are still good.” Our church has spent a tremendous amount of time talking about prayer this past year. We’ve shared joy over answered prayers and disappointment with unanswered ones. Somewhere along the way, I started praying this phrase to God…and it’s been my anchor in a few situations. Often times, we don’t start praying for things until they get serious. There are all sorts of reasons for this…I’ll let you figure those out. But whether I start praying early or late, adding this phrase makes all the difference for me personally. Now, people love to pull the ol’ “if it be thy will” out of the hat when they know things could very well be disastrous. As if we’re hedging our bet in some way. But those are not the words of intimate friendship with God. They are the words of someone who doesn’t want to be disappointed. So, now I pray this phrase: “God please heal, help, protect, rescue this that or the other…but either way you and I are still good.” I believe he can do all those things…you aren’t gonna be able to convince me otherwise. But regardless of the outcome, our relationship remains. No matter what happens, God is still my best friend.
So, there you go. I invite you to say these phrases with me in the coming year. Particularly that last one…