Four words that drive me crazy right now.
Most people have good intentions. And when they see the deep struggle and pain I am experiencing, they don’t know what to say. I get that. I don’t expect any brilliant words of wisdom or deep insight. People ask me about my life, and I tell them. I am not looking for pity or help or advice. I don’t need any help. Prayers, yes please. Advice, no thanks.
Because, more often than not, I hear these four words that leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. And we could debate the truth of the four words, but I don’t want to debate.
Four words that I just cannot handle right now. Those words that people say to be encouraging. Those words that people throw out there in hopes that it will bring me hope and ease my worry.
“God Has A Plan.”
Okay. I know they aren’t SO BAD. But, when it is said with an indifferent, passive tone of voice, I want to gag. It is apathetic and almost indifferent. No one has truly said those four words with real conviction. Not really.
So, I gag.
Sorry, y’all. I love Jesus. With all my heart. I won’t debate you about the ins-and-outs of God’s plan and His will for everyone’s life. I believe He does have a plan. But, do not tell me that He has a plan when I am going through this immense pain. Don’t tell me that it was God’s plan for my husband to treat me the way he did. Don’t tell me it was God’s plan for me to have this immense heartache over the choices of someone else. Because God DID give us the ability to choose.
If I walk into a mud pit, should I blame God for all of the mud around me? I have to know if I made a choice to walk into that place, or if I was led there to learn a lesson, as part of character-building for my life. Or it may be someone else’s crap got flushed into my world, not by my choice at all.
So, I ask myself whether God actually led me into this mess? Or did I get myself into this mess? Or did someone else’s poor choices lead me into this mess?
I know that I can make choices for myself, and God can use those pathways for His glory. He can bring all things together for HIS GLORY.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
So when you are attempting to encourage someone, be mindful of what you are saying exactly. Are you simply throwing out an apathetic Christian phrase in hopes that it will make that person feel better? Or are you going to stop yourself from that kind of insensible rubbish?
I challenge you to dig deeper. Look at the person you are wanting to encourage. Dig deep (some have to dig deeper) and find empathy. You have no idea what kind of real pain they are experiencing. If you truly don’t have any other words besides “God has a plan.” then please, say nothing at all. If you can, think of other things to say like: “I’m sorry you are going through this.” “I will pray for you.” (And do it.) “God will work all things for good.”
Otherwise, just give the person a hug and smile. Be a friend. Don’t avoid them because you don’t know what to say. Just be there.
I have been going through an extremely life-altering tough time. And some people have no idea what to say to me. And that’s okay. I try to put people at ease and let them know that I don’t expect them to say anything. I’m okay with NOT getting any advice or deep encouraging words.
Because sometimes those supposedly placating words just make me gag.
I know God loves me and will get me through this tough time. And I will be stronger for it. I will have a deeper faith and deeper understanding of who I am in Christ, and who Christ is. Those truths give me hope. Having someone tell me that it was all God’s plan does not provide hope.
Isaiah 30:31 says, “…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
I have hope in God, who historically brought people through tough times. And that is enough.