I’m fifty-four years old. Most of my hair is gray. Dani says it’s silver, which sounds a lot better than gray, but she loves me and I think her opinion may be biased.
The point is, I’ve lived a relatively long time, more than half a century in fact; and I’ve learned some things along the way.
For example, avoid saying, “I’ll never”. Really, just avoid it! For example, “I’ll never steal.”, and then your kids find the pen from the dentist’s office in your purse (oops!), or they see you fail to return the extra change the cashier mistakenly put in your hand.
I’m also thinking about using the term “I’ll never” in other areas of life. Like “I’ll never have a Facebook account.” (The laughter you hear are my daughters and friends who heard me say that particular little “I’ll never” many, many times before I opened my Facebook account.)
How about, “I’ll never have a reptile living in my house!”.
Those are the “I’ll never”s that we should avoid. They’re the kind of “I’ll never”s that cause you to have to eat your own words somewhere down the line, and believe you me, those sorts of statements are not pleasant tasting.
More to the point, I feel sad when I hear gals utter “I’ll never” followed by words like –
- put my kids into a public school
- take a job outside my home
- wear pants again
- medicate my children with Ritalin
I’m sad because they just cannot know the future. They’re relying on their own wisdom and strength and they have absolutely no idea how God may change their circumstances, or their hearts. It’s okay to plan on not doing any of those things. The danger, I think, comes in the saying of, “I’ll never”.
“I’ll never” has a wicked “kissing cousin” named “I always”, that brings along the same sorts of problems. “I always” will inevitably have at least one exception because God sends circumstances our way that we weren’t expecting.
- “I always lock the door when I leave the house”, except for that time that your hands were full and you meant to go back and lock up after putting your things in the car, but then the kids started arguing. By the time you got them settled and buckled, going back to lock the door had completely slipped your mind.
- “I always cook from scratch”, only to find yourself in a season where buying bread, instant mashed potatoes and boxed macaroni & cheese is necessary.
- “I always obey the traffic laws”, and then your son-in-law calls for you to please come because the entire family has been in an accident, totaling their vehicle, and they’re an hour’s drive away, and you drive like the wind to get to them.
Let’s be careful with these two phrases, I’ll never and I always. They smack of pride.
God grows us in ways that we cannot anticipate and often in ways that we’d not have imagined in our wildest dreams. Our lives change with the years. That’s a good thing because it usually means that we’re growing!
I used to cling tightly to my own lists of “I’ll never”s and “I always”s. They felt safe, but that safety was an illusion.
As I began to release my grip on those wicked kissing cousins “I’ll never” and “I always”, and the ugly pride that was at their root, it was then that God began showing me the beauty and richness and magnitude of His grace.
His grace was always there!
I just couldn’t see it because I had those I’ll never – I always blinders over my eyes.
Are there any “I’ll never”s or “I always”s in your life that need to go?
God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!