A few weeks ago I attended a Leadership Development Night at our church. The teaching was on being a flexible and adaptable leader. Keith, our speaker for the evening, talked about how we need to embrace change, be ready for it to happen, and not get our undies in a bunch when we’re asked to do things in a new way – again. (Okay, he might not have mentioned the bunched up undies – I’m summarizing here.)
There was one thing Keith said that really hit home. He talked about how God’s desire is for us to do things with an honoring and positive attitude. Keith went on to say, “Emotional, mental, and spiritual maturity are created and demonstrated by our willingness to act above our feelings and negative thoughts.” Good stuff.
And then he got to one of my favorite topics of “choosing your words.” “Instead of just saying, ‘Fine,’” Keith admonished, “when someone asks you how you are, say, ‘I’m up!’ And if you’re not up,” he continued, “then say, ‘I’m getting up.’” Our words are way more powerful than we give them credit for being. But as much as I loved Keith’s admonition, “I’m getting up” just weren’t the words I wanted to use when answering the question, “How are you?” It just doesn’t flow out of my mouth very easily.
Fast-forward a few weeks to a four-hour stint in the car by myself. When I’m traveling alone, I find it helps the monotony if I can listen to podcasts. I started listening to a sermon from Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. Pastor Steven Furtick is a charismatic southern preacher who I find usually has some good stuff to say. In fact, his sermon on “How to be Brave” was fodder for my last blog about the power in our words, only this time I can’t remember the title of his sermon and it really wasn’t so much about choosing our words. It did, however, give me the answer to my quandary about what to say when I’m really not all that “fine.” Pastor Steven was talking about the Israelites wandering through the desert on their way to the Promised Land. It was hard there in the desert and the Israelites weren’t really appreciating the journey, shall we say. And then Pastor Steven said (and again, I’m summarizing), “The Israelites didn’t know that there was a miracle on the way. It was hard in the middle of the dessert but their miracle was coming.”
And that’s when it hit me. I am in the middle of a miracle! Sometimes life in the middle of a miracle seems challenging and hard, like it’ll never change, just like it did for the Israelites who were hot, tired, and sick of manna. But the truth is, nothing is forever. Things are always changing and miracles happen all the time! So, I decided to use my “middle of a miracle” response when people ask me how I am.
“How are you doing, Nancy?”
“I’m in the middle of a miracle!” I respond with a smile.
My answer has received a variety of responses. Some people look at me like I’m nuts, and perhaps a case can be made for that. But other people will say, “Really? Tell me more!” Best of all is the change in me. Let me tell you, when I hear myself say over and over again, “I’m in the middle of a miracle,” I start to believe it and expect miracles to happen! Honestly, it’s a pretty awesome “place” to live. Want to join me?
By the way, if you want to hear an amazing “miracle story” this one from my friend, Jane, is my favorite! I especially love the words she chose to use while in the “middle of her miracle!”
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 15:24
I’m having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth this week. She’s an amazing encourager!