Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sorry, We Are Close

I drove by Burger King the other day, and the sign out front said, "Sorry, we are close." Now, I don't know if they just didn't have room for the "d" to finish the sign (Sorry, we are closed), or they just didn't care. If Burger King is closed, it must be serious. If it's serious enough to close down, who cares about the "d"? Or maybe they weren't really closed, but they were actually advertising that they were close...close to what? Close to McDonalds, who have served billions?

Most of us have smart phones. These phones are so smart that they think you should say something other than what you want to. It's called "auto-correct." It corrects your spelling mistakes to something the phone thinks is more suitable. For instance, one time I wanted to tell someone that auditions for her favorite musical were happening at a local theatre, and my auto correct decided I should tell her that auditions for her family protection musical were happening (It was Fiddler On the Roof...not too far off). My daughter wanted to ask her friend if he could change her windshield wipers, but instead asked him if he could change her whippersnappers. I'm sure we all have these funny stories.

These kinds of things are funny...things that are obviously spelled incorrectly and give the sentence a whole different meaning. But how often do we do this in real life...say something or write something that has not been "auto-corrected" but perhaps should have been? Don't you sometimes wish there was a backspace or delete button attached to your mouth? Or your brain? I sure do! 

I have a disease called Foot-in-Mouth. I know many of you suffer from this disease as well. It's quite common. And while I've got my mouth wide open, trying to extricate the foot I've thrust in there, the other one usually finds its way in. Sometimes, I think, "Oh, there's just no hope. It's an incurable disease. I can't help it."

Four of the most deadly words to a person's growth---"I can't help it."

Yes, you can. And so can I. "I can't help it!" is an excuse for bad behavior without taking responsibility. It's a cop-out. It's a lazy solution to an active problem. People who say, "I can't help it," really don't want to change that behavior, because it requires work. Most things can be helped. 

Another good one is "That's just the way God made me." Nope. Wrong. You may have put your foot in your mouth as an infant, but that's normal for infants. As you grew, you learned the other method. And it can be unlearned. Don't ask me how. I'm still doing it.

Kidding...sort of. I am still doing it, but I think I know how it can be changed. And I'm working on it. It's a process that I haven't perfected yet.

First, we need to realize that if something seems too challenging to overcome, we have a Helper. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me (Phil 4:13). Simply give it to Him and ask Him to help you.

Second, we change our behavior by taking on a healthier, opposite behavior. For instance, if you have a habit of saying stupid things, or blurting out things before we think, take a few seconds before you speak. Think about what you're about to say. Even if you realize immediately after you've said something stupid/harmful/hurtful/nasty/out of line etc. you can quickly apologize. "Oops, I'm sorry, that was out of line. Forgive me." Done. And don't put your foot in your mouth by expounding on the apology!!!

If you keep doing this, it will become learned behavior and eventually, you'll notice, "Hey, I didn't say that stupid thing I was about to say!" When that happens, give yourself a pat on the back. Hey, if you can manage to get your foot in your mouth, I'm sure you can manage to twist your arm around to your back!

Blessings Along the Path,

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