A phrase has been in mind since Sunday afternoon - probably because the Lord is convicting me of all of the times I have said it (or at least thought it) - "I could never.../I would never..." This is slightly different than the phrase I talked about in class of "I don't know how you do it!" Whereas that "I don't know how you do it" phrase usually comes in a form a (strange/frustrating) compliment, the "I could never..." is often coming from a place of judgment. If not a judgment, at the very least least it is from a place of not trying to understand someone's background/story/decision.
I remember I was a teenager the first time that statement really stood out to me, was when I was indirectly on the receiving end (though the person who said it didn't know she was being hurtful, and I still think very highly of this person). She said, "I could never let my kids date someone from a divorced home." This broke my heart since I was a kid from a divorced home.
Other phrases that have been hard to hear (directly or indirectly);
- I could never raise a child with special needs.
- I would never live on the northside of town.
- I could never go to a Pentecostal church. Or a Baptist church. Or a Reformed church.Or a church that doesn't have kids' church. Or a church that...
- I would never homeschool.
But I haven't only been on the receiving end. I am going to be completely transparent here. I hesitated to share this, but wearing a mask about my struggles doesn't help anyone. I have at different times of my life said hurtful "I could never/ I would never" statements,
- "I could never be a stay at home mom" (oh how things change)
- And on the opposite end, "I could never work outside of the home." Yes, in my short lifetime, I have made both of those statements. I'm very sorry for saying both of those things.
- I would never send my kids to public school. (Well, I ended up doing that for a few months this year. Never say never.)
- I would never go to college in Springfield, MO (Ha!)
- I would never wear _________.
- I would never let my kids _________.
When we say the, "I could never.." it is most often out of fear/pride/envy or even what we try to claim as "concern," With each of these statements, whether said aloud, written or even just harbored in our heart for too long, we end up alienating the people we are called to love and encourage. These statements often stop us from caring for one another and instead start us competing with one another. I don't know if that makes sense, but in my "year of quiet" I think God started working on this issue in my heart (and my tongue - or more like my written words, in my case). After spending a few days thinking about our class on Sunday, I know He isn't finished working on me in this area.