I’ve read stuff about what people would say to their dogs if, magically, their dogs could understand them perfectly, for 60 seconds.
‘Stop jumping on humans and nosing them in the crotch! Don’t roll in mud after a bath, or ever. If you’ve been wallowing in the pond, wait outside ‘til your paws are dry. Please stop trying to dislocate my shoulder when I take you for a walk. The leash is ‘cause we love you. No sneaking into the lounge and climbing on couches. You are Mommy’s precious dog yes you are! Give us a warning bark if you’re nauseous in the car so we can pull over. You have very bad breath. Don’t eat anything that has passed through another animal’s digestive system. Don’t eat anything unless you find it in your bowl. You make us so happy. We’d never swap you for another dog, or forget to feed you.’
60 seconds gives you about 130 words.
It’s made me think about what I’d say to my husband, my kids, the president, the church – if I had 60 seconds of their undivided attention. If I knew every word would penetrate – and be received.
Like, if I was convinced my boys could absorb a 60-second lecture on table manners, it might go something like this:
‘Burping contests are funny for a while. Then they’re not. If you don’t stop chewing with your mouth open, we’ll write you out of the will. That is how irritating it is. Waving cutlery in the faces of other diners is hazardous. No playing fork guitar. Both bum cheeks on your chair for the duration of a meal. Save random dance moves for after supper. Plates are there to keep all the food in one place. At least try a spoonful of something new; then you may say, “No thank you.” You may not say, “Yuk!” God designed us to eat together because food greases the wheels of conversation and connection, and it forces us to slow down – listen and laugh. Good manners make all of that easy, and pleasant.’
Today, if I passed you in the school car park or the grocery store or we rode the same floors in an elevator and I had a minute of your time, you’d think I was weird and intense but I’d say to you,
‘God hasn’t called you to be successful. He’s called you to be fruitful.*
Stop over-achieving, beating yourself up and trying so hard. Fake fruit falls off, stuck on from the outside. Let God grow the real deal on your branches, from the inside.
Practise being in two places at once – the chaos of life, and the quiet of His presence.
He knows about all your dreams and all your disasters. Leave them at His feet so you can do today well and un-distracted, securing tomorrow.
You’re absolutely lovely. (Also, you never look as fat as you feel.)
Get outside and get more sleep. Eat fresh stuff and drink water. Sit up straighter; breathe deeper. You’re on solid rock in royal robes, barefoot on holy ground.
You will not be shaken.’
. . .
*My friend Ilse said that to me this week. We’re called to be fruitful, not successful. Isn’t that freakin’ profound?! I’m letting it shatter and re-make my worldview a little bit.
I’m keen to hear what you’d say and who you’d say it to, in 60 seconds?
Walking in Grace is on shelves where books are sold in South Africa and the USA, and worldwide on Amazon (Kindle and paperback editions). Because we all want to keep on spreading truth, courage and the hope of Jesus, by leveraging our time, passion and potential to do the Next Right (ordinary) Thing – right?
Here’s what’s on the menu, if you’re reading this in an email: