Do you find this to be true too?
It is almost impossible to refrain from complaining when I am doing burpees. Or any other form of exercise that requires me to jump up and down, do a push-up, and shoot my legs back, all within three seconds.
When I worked out with my friend Jody at the Y, I typically made sure she knew how I felt about burpees and any other exercises that were hard work. Ugh! Nooo. I can’t! That many more? Whine, whine, whine, and then we’d laugh. But I always explained to her, “I’m not complaining, just informing.”
Somehow, pretending that I wasn’t complaining but just sharing information made me feel a little better.
I’m rethinking this whole “informing” language these days though.
Have you noticed? It seems like informing has been slicked up with that gorilla glue we see advertised on TV, adhering itself to yelling, scolding, and making sure others know we are right, and they are wrong. Informing has turned into intense, high volume, opinionating. Does it give you a headache, too? In the news, social media, conversations . . . words are harder and harsher.
For reasons that are as unique as our life experiences, we desperately want to be heard and we want others to know what we know. We feel deeply about our beliefs and it’s important to us that others understand our perspective. But, unfortunately, we get so busy complaining and informing that we set aside listening and engaging respectfully. I’ve discovered that “unkindness” can too easily slip into my words before I even realize it. You too?
I think there’s a better way. At least, I hope there is.
What if we decide we don’t have to join the disagreements that fan the flames of fiery conversations? What if we choose to engage in conversations that are more helpful – listening, seeking to understand? What if – even just sometimes – we choose to say nothing?
The words of author and missionary Amy Carmichael always lead my heart back to repentance. A place where I set myself firm yet again in who God calls me to be, and how He teaches me to live. In her book “If: What do I know of Calvary Love?” she writes . . .
If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
Oh my. Have mercy.
That just feels like such high expectations for how we behave, doesn’t it? And yet, there’s nothing in there that God hasn’t already taught us in his Holy Book.
I certainly try and keep my complaining at a minimum while I’m doing burpees. And I’m going to continue to work at keeping my “informing” respectful and kind. Remembering to lean in and listen and learn.
Maybe we can, at the very least, move closer to that more loving way of living and speaking with each other. Maybe we can be more mindful of our words and how and when we use them. Maybe we can talk less and listen more. Maybe we can lead with grace and mercy in all our conversations.
Maybe we can choose to filter our words through love.