On more than one occasion, I’ve told my kid – who has just fallen – to”be careful.” That’s good advice, but it’s far more helpful before a kid falls down. I’ve yelled upstairs to tell my youngest to stop yelling. One time during a sermon, I slipped and said “bring your breasts to church.” Which is technically true, but I meant to say “best.”
But those are not the dumbest things I’ve ever said. I’ve said far worse and far more deadly. Here are two.
1. I’ll do it later.
In 2009, my marriage was in trouble. We were three years into the church planting journey. And while things were going well on the outside, i was a wreck on the inside. I was successful by most standards, but my soul was in trouble. My own need for acceptance plus the pressure of a fast-growing organization was a deadly combination.
A friend came to me in love, concerned about marriage and encouraging me to get help. I knew he was right and admitted as much to him. But I never took action. I never scheduled a counseling session. And a couple of years later, I imploded.
I fell into the trap of later.
For me it was getting help with my marriage. It might be the same for you. Or it might be getting out of debt, starting an exercise plan, changing your eating habits, saving for retirement, mending a broken relationship, going to church or any number of things.
I wish I could go back and take action sooner. It would have changed a great many things and save a whole lot of people a whole lot of pain. You don’t need to make that mistake. Act before you have to.
2. I don’t like people.
I’m an introvert, and everyone who knows me knows this. But this doesn’t mean I don’t like people…it means that being around big groups of people drain me.
So while speaking to large groups of people, I would say things like “I don’t like people.” I’d always get laughs, especially since people didn’t expect to hear such a comment from a pastor.
But I let my personality type become an excuse for having shallow relationships. I let the air of accountability keep me from the need for authenticity. In the name of going to the next level, I shut myself away from people, even though I deeply craved honest relationships.
It was a dumb thing to say because it wasn’t true. And it came across as arrogant. And it kept people even more at arms length. I regret ever saying it.