what’s in a phrase


Category : different, faith, sharing faith, taking action


“Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right”

Those are wise words from (of all people) Alanis Morissette

I’ve always admired those characters in books or TV who seem to be one step ahead of everyone else.  I’ve always wanted to be like Sherlock Holmes, anticipating events before they happened.  But I’m not.  Some days I’m barely anticipating events after they happened.  There are just some moments in my life that seem to sneak up on me.

I suspect this is called “life.”

Sometimes these events are so stressful, so overwhelming, that they change everything.  No matter how well prepared I thought I was, it wasn’t enough.  That’s hard to take.  It can shake your faith, your vision, and even your relationships.

There’s an adage in the military that you’re always preparing to fight the last war, not the one coming.  This is true of our lives.  We respond to the dangers, threats, and problems we’ve faced in the past, not the one’s that are to come unexpectedly at 3 AM.  Because then they wouldn’t be, um, unexpected…

If I’m going to make a major mistake in my life, it’s usually in these situations.  I tell myself that I don’t have enough time to think things through.  That I must act immediately.  Sometimes I don’t even think at all, I just go with the flow.

That’s a dangerous place to be.

No matter the excuse the bottom line is simple: I don’t turn to God when my life gets out of control.  Sadly, I usually don’t even think about turning to God.  I’m too busy trying to reduce my stress and fears.

Obviously that’s a problem.

The last few years I’ve worked hard at trying to remember to take a deep breath, say a prayer, and wait just a bit before I plunge into activity.  Sometimes this works, sometimes not so much.  But I’ve learned the hard way (which is apparently my preferred learning style) a simple trick.  I’ve learned that if I say a simple phrase, it’s usually enough to get me at least on the right path.

I have a friend who has trouble talking to girls.  To not look like an idiot he tells himself, “use your words.”  It’s a little goofy, and I don’t know if I really believe him, but it’s the same theory I use.  There’s nothing wrong with reminding yourself of the things you hold dear.

Over the course of the next few days we’re going to take a look at some of the phrases I use.  They are all designed to make  me stop, think about God, and then act in a much better way.  And because I recognize that I don’t know everything, I’d like to hear if you guys have phrases as well.  Consider it a collective project.  Maybe we can all learn a little something from each other.

Phrase 1: The joy of the Lord is my strength
Phrase 2: Are you dead?
Phrase 3: Have you prayed about it?
Phrase 4: What’s the point?


 <comments are open>

Comments (5)

In the spirit of the WWJD fad(?), a phrase that comes to mind for my walk with Christ is this: “Is what I’m doing or am about to do honor and glorify God?”

Mostly however is not that verse that I try to use to keep me focused on doing God’s will so much as simply trying to live through application of Matthew 24:37-40 (Love God with all your heart, mind and soul as well as loving others), 1st Corinthians 13, and Galatians 5:22-24.

Grace and peace be with you.

I know it’s cliche to say WWJD, but I think that’s one of the best Phrases ever. As for your addition – I’ve heard you say that before, so I can attest that it’s something you live by! -eb

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