So I guess I started writing my “I’ll never…” list when I was a young kid.
I remember being reminded by my brother many times how I’d solemnly declared “I would NEVER wear deodorant, perfume or high heels when I grew up!”
Thankfully that all changed! I’m sure the residents of Chiang Mai have appreciated me applying deodorant and perfume in this consistently hot climate.
There have been many more things added to this “I’m never going to…” list as the years have gone on. Interestingly enough, most of them ended up being things that I actually did do. By the way, I’m not talking about changing my morals or ethical standards, you know the stuff I mean like, “I’m never going to eat bugs” and, yes, thanks to Thailand, that one is no longer on my list now either!!
I know there were lots of idealistic things on my list prior to having children that have all been sheepishly crossed off now one by one. How is it that I have changed (or softened) so much?
So anyway, I’ve just decided that it’s getting too embarrassing to back peddle, change my mind about stuff, feel convicted and eat my words all the time.
I’ve just worked out that I need to stop adding to this list, for a few of reasons, and I’ll tell you why.
First of all, the more I put on my list, the more I realise that I am potentially robbing myself of experiences that actually turn out to be not so bad. When I think about the restrictions I’ve set, I wonder why I was being so hard on myself.
So I now understand that it’s okay to let your kids sleep in your bed, it’s okay to change your mind, it’s okay to grow up and admit that you didn’t know it all.
And I can also see that there’s no point putting more things on my list only to age another ten years and be deleting them off too.
Also, every time I recognise that I am starting to do something from my “I’ll never …” list, I end up second guessing myself, feeling guilty or simply trying to ignore the fact that I said I’d never do that.
I remember when I first realised, at age 19, that I was falling for Dave. I was speaking to one of my good friends on the phone who was questioning me about this developing “relationship” and I assured her that, “No! I would never go out with David Cross. We were just friends”.
Well I’m sure glad that one didn’t remain on my list for very long.
I can’t honestly remember whether or not I ever verbalised “never” becoming a missionary but I know Dave did. How is it that we find ourselves in these unlikely situations, doing things we thought would simply never happen?
Well I’ll tell you what I think.
I think there’s someone else ‘out there’ that has an even bigger list than ours. And the things on their list never get crossed off or replaced and they remain the same for all of time.
And it’s because of this list that we can do all the things that we never thought we would or could do, like finishing a university degree, leaving family, starting a new career, becoming a parent, learning a new language or eating a particular food.
Their list has “I’ll nevers” on it like:
I will never abandon you!
I will never leave you!
I will never forsake you!
I will never fail you!
I will never stop loving you!
I will never change!
If you don’t already know whose list this is then I encourage you to pick up a bible or go online and read some of the many promises that God has for you.
As I thought through my list today, I spent a long time wondering how my life has turned out so differently to how I’d planned. But then I reminded myself that it’s all okay and that the only “I’ll never…” I want to let remain on my list is this:
I will never be the same again!
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.