Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Told You So

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

 Do you ever look back on something you did or said and just cringe?!  How did you ever think that was a good idea?  Why on earth would you ever justify doing that?  How could you talk to someone that way?  Unfortunately, I’ve had many of those moments...insert foot in mouth.

A few years ago, I used a phrase that rarely brings good things—“I told you so.”  During a large event, a co-worker (not to mention a dear friend) of mine was extremely stressed.  We had discussed an issue about the event, but she had decided not to take my advice—which is fine.  Unfortunately, the night of the event, she panicked about the very issue we had discussed and came to tell me about it.  What an incredible moment for me to have comforted her, consoled her, helped her, done anything for her.  A moment that someone needed encouragement, validation, a hug.  But being stressed out with my own responsibilities, I simply said “I hate to say it, but I told you so.”

Ugh.  My cheeks still flush hot with shame when I think about that.  What a snarky, smart-aleck, insensitive comment.  What a misrepresentation of my heart, and God’s heart.  My dear friend simply looked at me and walked away distressed.

Of course the event went great that night.  But I didn’t enjoy any of it.  I felt so embarrassed and ashamed and guilty that I would belittle someone I love and show such poor leadership and insensitivity.  After the event, I asked if she would forgive me.

The power of words is so profound.  Rarely do our words have a neutral effect on someone.  Unless you say “I told you so—I TOLD you that you were going to be great!”  “I told you, you could do it!”  “I told you, you are so capable!”, don’t ever use that destructive phrase the way that I did.  It is so unhelpful, so unnecessary.  I wish I had that moment again so I could say, “How can I help?  It will be great!  Don’t worry!  Let’s figure it out together.”  Our words can positively or negatively affect people, and I want to choose to build people up with my words.  I want to be a Barnabus…his name means “Son of Encouragement.”  I love that!

I’m grateful for the grace and forgiveness my friend showed me, and for the opportunity, although it was a hard lesson, to learn just how powerful words can be.

Use them wisely…

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dumb Wedding Traditions

“How’s the wedding planning going?”

This is the #1 question I have been asked this year.  And it’s hard to succinctly answer.  I mean, my Pinterest boards are awesome.  My dress is perfect.  And my soon-to-be husband is the greatest.  So, overall things are going awesome. 

If we’re talking details, I don’t have anything borrowed, blue, or old.  I don’t know to what degree of transparency I want that little sheet of paper over the invitations to be.  And I really don’t know how I should get my nails done—acrylics?  Gel?  French?  Glitter on my ring finger—too trendy?

One great thing about getting married when you’re thirty is that you have a pretty good idea of what you like and what you don’t like.  I went to a lot of weddings in my twenties, and it’s impossible not to take mental notes of what you want your own day to be like…or what you don’t want it to be like.

Now, don’t get me wrong—I like weddings.  I like dresses and flowers.  I really like cake.  But in the process of planning my own wedding, some traditional wedding customs have come under serious scrutiny.  Tradition cannot be the sole reason to do something, in my opinion.

First, let’s talk about garters.  I can’t think of a less comfortable (or flattering) place for a piece of elastic to go on my body.  Nor do I want it to be thrown to a wolf pack of guys, where it will inevitably be flung around as a sling shot.

Second, wedding favors.  Let me ask you a question, because I’m still torn on this one—do you currently own or even remember any favor from any wedding you have ever been to?  I don’t.  Weddings aren’t like vacations where you need to go home with a souvenir.  Take an Instagram photo and call it a day, right?  I like the idea of something cutesy to pretty up the table…but I’m not sold on anything.

Third, apparently the bride and groom are supposed to give each other gifts before the wedding.  Isn’t marrying me enough?  (Kidding.)  We get new rings, pretty flowers, dress up like we’re fancy royals for a day, and then get to go on vacation together for a week.  Ain’t nobody got time to remember to buy presents on top of all that!

And lastly, smashing cake in each other’s faces.  How did this ever become a thing?  I have already warned Nathan that if he smashes cake in my face on our wedding day, I will not be a happy girl.  I’m spending half a day getting my hair and makeup done and wearing a fancy dress…you better be sure that nary a CRUMB is going to end up on me.

I wouldn’t exactly call myself a non-traditionalist.  Actually, I’m really into holiday and family traditions.  Sometimes it’s good to question things, though, and I’m excited to see how our wedding will reflect our own values.  But give me some ideas—what are your wedding non-negotionables?