Confessions.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

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Shawn and I love to talk long walks through our neighborhood. It's when we go deepest, our hearts become softest, and we really communicate for sometimes the first time that week. It's where our conversations are sharp, sanctifying, making us more and more like Jesus by tearing away the ugliest parts. It isn't like we set out with the stroller in tow and ask, "What's the darkest thing happening in your heart?" But many times, it just comes out. We need each other to sort through the messy stuff, to confess to one another and bring things into the light. I hope you have someone in your life who can dig through the muck alongside you and come out cleaner on the other side.

So what I'm about to say wasn't really part of our conversation, but there are two phrases in my current vocabulary that I feel convicted about getting rid of. Immediately. Here we go.

1. "Let me know if you need anything." 
It sounds caring, right? Someone just had a baby or had surgery. They might have lost a loved one or gone through a messy breakup. "Let me know if there's anything you need!" I've used this phrase more times than I'd like to confess and, while I've probably meant well, it's so non-committal and just plain unhelpful. Has anyone ever actually let me know they've needed something when I've tossed out this comment? Of course not. Several people told me this when Liam was born. I know they meant well. But the thought of picking up the phone and asking a random person a random favor when I really needed something? "Umm hi... I haven't seen you since my baby shower, but we're running low on diapers. And we have nothing in the fridge. Could you help?" Didn't happen.

So I'm cutting it out of my vocabulary. Instead, I'll say, "I'm going to bring dinner. Let me know if Tuesday night works for you" or "I'd love to take your son to the park so you can get some rest. What time would be best?" Way more helpful, right?

2. This one is worse. Way worse.
"Must be nice."
I see a post on Facebook about a friend's day away from the kids, an elaborate vacation, or someone complaining about being bored. "Must be nice," I say. Maybe coming from your mouth it's a harmless thing to say. But behind it is so much bitterness and jealousy and discontentment with my own life at that moment, it isn't even funny. It exudes ingratitude for what the Lord has given me... "must be nice" to not be me is basically what I'm saying. So that phrase is going away, too. The opposite of this kind of heart has to be one that praises the Lord for what He has done and what He has given. Because He's given everything.

Ok. Confessions over. That feels better.

16 comments:

  1. this was beautifully written and thank you for sharing your heart. i, too, struggle with these phrases & i think the holy spirit just spoke through you directly to me. it's humbling. yet freeing. you seem to have a teachable heart...and that...is a beautiful thing! i pray your days is blessed...and thanks for blessing mine!! ><>

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  2. Couldn't agree more...especially with number one! I really do mean well - but you're right, no one would really ask me for something. Praying that I step up to the plate instead of just sitting on the bench!

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  3. This post was both challenging + freeing for me. Like the ladies mentioned above, I also struggle with these phrases. (particularly the first). I haven't really looked at it this way before, but offering a concrete plan / option to help someone is far more thoughtful than throwing out a passive phrase many of us say. Thank you for bringing some light to this, Whitney :). Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  4. Well, that was convicting. Wasn't maybe what I was planning on in my last few free minutes during rest time, but I'm sure it's what I needed. Today has been pretty rough, and I've already thought "must be nice" at least 50 times I'm sure. I'm blessed beyond measure, and need to remember it. Thank you for being transparent!

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  5. Just this week I have been dwelling on the same ideas. Empathy is a strength of mine, but I find myself not actually doing anything for people. I mean well, and I hurt for them and want to help, but I'm simply horrible at actually jumping in and acting on those little Holy Spirit nudges, which leaves me feeling miserable as well because I'm not doing anything to help when I see the need. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and conviction today!

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  6. I'm trying to weed out the "Just wait until..." comments. Like pretend you have a friend who comes to you and is pregnant and just felt her sweet one move for the first time. Proceed with the "Just wait until you have an uncomfortable foot in your ribs!" Ugh. Even when it's said with a smile and a chuckle, it's just not at all loving or encouraging.

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    1. YES. That's such a good one, too. I got that so many times when I was pregnant... and even now, people will see how affectionate and sweet Liam is and say, "Just wait til he's 13" or something. Terrible!

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  7. Thank you for this, Whitney. I'm inspired by your honesty!

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  8. I appreciate this, Whitney. Often times the jealousy is subconscious and I don't even know I'm guilty of discontentment. Oh that I would learn to find contentment in everything He has given ... everything He is. Thank you.

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  9. I appreciate this, Whitney. Often times the jealousy is subconscious and I don't even know I'm guilty of discontentment. Oh that I would learn to find contentment in everything He has given ... everything He is. Thank you.

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  10. Ouch! Those are my toes you're stepping on! I am so so guilty of the first one. It is just so easy to say. I feel like I have good intent, I really do. But anyone can say the words. It is the works-- the actions-- that set helpers apart from helper-wannabes (for lack of a better term).

    James 2. "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."

    Thank you for this real world application.

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  11. I just want you to know that I absolutely love your blog! You have inspired me with your awesome bow clutch tutorial ( which I totally made, by the way), and I love your love for Jesus! :)

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  12. Phew! Challenging, deep, real, inspiring. Way to cut to the heart of it. Thank you!

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  13. I'm catching up on your recent posts and loved this one. Those are good things to remove from my vocab, too. Came across this video and thought it was relevant to your second one...about being empathetic and not just saying "let me know if i can help" but actually helping - http://brenebrown.com/2013/12/10/rsabear/

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    1. I love that. "I think of empathy as a sacred space, where the person is in a deep hole and they shout out from the bottom... and then we look and say, 'Hey, I know what it's like down here and you're not alone.'" Perfect.

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