I've been trying to notice the words that seem to come out of my mouth most often as I continue learning to love people more deeply, be with them more intimately, listen to them more attentively, and point them to Christ's life more purely and practically. For what it is worth, here are some of the things that seem to come out of my mouth most regularly:
"I want you to have the best possible life."
I mention this one first because it really gives context to the rest of my repetitions, but also to every relationship I am in...be it my wife, my kids, my extended family, my church family, my neighbors...all the up to and including my enemies. I've not always had these words to articulate my desire for others, and I have found them extremely useful in explaining myself to anyone. Other phrases that I believe are synonymous with this, but oftentimes get misunderstood by people that I interact with, are things like "I want you to follow Christ," or "I want you to repent," or "I want you to let God guide your life." Overall, these particular words are truer to communicating the heart of what I want for everyone, and they seem to leave behind the baggage or offensiveness that some people attach to more 'religious' phrases. To my very churched friends, this phrase opens them up to think differently about what it means to follow Christ...and to my unchurched friends, they appreciate the love they see in my eyes for them and open up to the spiritual realities. By the way, I stole this phrase from my teacher, who said it this way, "I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full."
"All you gotta be is willing."
These words come from my deep seeded belief that God is actively at work, manipulating everything in order to make our joy complete by putting us right where He wants us...in our hearts and in the world. I believe that God is completely obsessed with His own glory (by the way, I also believe He is the only one that can be this way and it be an act of love for everyone), and when He is glorified in us, we are so filled with wonder and awe that we become untouchable in terms of our joy. So many of us are so stuck with our world-conditioned view of what happiness looks like that we are too busy to "let" God show us His glory in any and all circumstances that might come our way. In addition to this being said to me at a very formational and revolutionary moment in my life, I see my Master having the same heart when he says, "O Jerusalem, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." I think Jesus is reflecting God's heart...a heart that is longing for our good, and all we gotta be is willing to let Him give it to us. This leads to a couple of my next commonly used statements...
"You have to believe."
Whenever I introduce the idea of "willingness," it is just soft and fluffy enough that many honest-to-God searchers and pursuers of life to the full argue with me. And there arguments, while cleverly disguised in oft-repeated phrases of their own like "God helps those who help themselves," and "But that is not fair," or "not practical," or "not realistic," are really just versions of their feeling the need to "do something". I'm not saying that there never anything to do, but most people I encounter err on the side of trying to "make miracles happen" instead of "letting them happen", and putting their limited but powerful energy into the productive work of "being the right kind of person" rather than "doing certain things right". Belief in what God promises is all over my savior's teachings, but my favorite one is when he sums up the essence of what our work for God is when he says, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent."
"I'll die one day, but I will not die before that."
Okay, okay...I actually haven't gotten to say these exact words yet, but they just came to me last week after I had a magnificent wreck while BMX racing. Admittedly, it hurt pretty bad, and I got some new, cool scars...one large one on my wrist advertising to the world that I'm not living the most cautious life. A sweet and beloved older sister of mine looked at me like mom's are supposed to, I suppose, and wanted me to rethink my involvement in BMX racing. I'm not nearly as extreme as some, but over the course of my life, I have had to explain my cliff-jumping, sky-diving, motorcycle-riding, mountain-climbing, hitch-hiking, old-car-buying-and-driving-across-the-nation and other adventure-taking endeavors more than a few times. So this is my new phrase that will come out of my mouth frequently to explain myself in this regard...in full recognition that I may have to be reminded of it when I finally do something too stupid, and too far, and pay the price.
More to come...I love you guys.