By Jennifer Davis Rash
It has happened more times than I care to admit and each time is just as embarrassing as the others. You may have done it a time or two yourself especially if you communicate via email and/or text messages on your smartphone.
And I know better, I really do, but I continue to do it — failing to read a document, an email, a text or how-to instructions carefully.
You know the drill. We know we should slow down and read all the words and make sure we understand what is being communicated before we respond or act, but for some reason we tend to skim the text and then take action.
And many of us can remember that particular exam given to us by that one teacher or professor determined to teach us a life lesson. He or she handed out the test papers and said, “It is important to read through all the questions first, then take the exam.” The top of the test paper also stated, “Read all questions before answering any of them.”
But what did we do? We answered the questions as we read them because we thought it would take less time. We didn’t want to read through all of them and then come back to the first one to start answering them.
Of course, the disappointment hit hard when we reached the last question and realized why one or two students got up fairly quickly and turned in their exams. The final question wasn’t a question at all. It stated, “Do not answer any of the above questions. Sign your name here, turn it in now and you will receive an A. All others will fail this test.”
Ouch — if only we had followed the instructions. And yet still today, I find myself failing to read carefully through correspondence and other forms of communication.
I’m not sure if it is because my full-time work requires such careful reading, editing and fact checking that I get a little slack when it comes to other content or if it is merely a result of going in too many directions, but it happens more than it should.
The one good thing about realizing what I’m doing is that I am reminded to be kind and gracious to others when it happens to me. And it does happen — often.
I might send an email or text asking three questions and the reply comes back with only one question answered. Or I might provide an outline for what all needs to be in a story and 75 percent of what I noted is written but the other 25 percent is overlooked.
It happens at work, at home, at church, in the neighborhood, at school and anywhere else we interact with people.
The deadline was clearly marked in the notice but somehow we didn’t see it. The change of plans was tucked inside the other three paragraphs of information but we stuck with the original schedule because we missed that note.
Take the challenge
If you are still with me and are truly reading through the column rather than skimming it, then I would encourage you to take the challenge I’m giving myself — slow down and read carefully. I believe we could save a lot of time, missteps and apologies by doing it right the first time.
I also wonder how much of the habit of not slowing down to read carefully could spill over into our biblical studies. How many times do we skim the Scriptures rather than carefully and thoroughly read every word? What are we missing if that is the case? Could God be blatantly showing Himself to us in a life-changing way that we are sadly missing because we’ve chosen to skim rather than absorb?
Healing requires facing the pain
People everywhere are struggling through life with wounded emotions. Lies, deceit, slander, selfishness, misunderstanding and abuse are wounds that can cut deep and have a profound and lasting impact.
There comes a time in the healing process when we find ourselves having to face these hurts instead of sweeping them under the rug in an attempt to make them go away. Along with the pain and all the emotions, we cannot build walls or stuff things into dark closets or pretend they will simply go away. Bringing these emotions out into the open is difficult because we don’t know what others will think. But we don’t want to repress these emotional wounds; rather we need to share them with a trusted friend.
James 5 says a key to our healing is in the sharing of the need — the widening of the circle of trust. Bringing our hurts into the open gives us an opportunity to bring safe, trusted friends into community with us. It tells us in Scripture that the truth sets us free, and it also helps us keep healthy perspectives on others with life issues. We cannot heal and walk this journey of recovery alone because we were not created to be alone. We were created to be in relationship with others, so be encouraged by allowing some safe and trusted community into your healing journey.
Secondly we need to recognize that healing and victory from our emotional wounds is recognizing that Jesus is our Healer, just like He is the healer of our bodies. We can move from our emotional hurts to being able to relish in the healing grace of Jesus Christ. Remember — ultimately it is our choice whether we heal on this journey toward restoration and wholeness.
Executive director, National Woman’s Missionary Union
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
2 Corinthians 4:8–12
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
“Perhaps we’ve become so consumed with our gadgets that we are losing our ingenuity, inspiration and originality. I fear that our fixation with phones is mitigating our imaginative spirit. Or, in a world filled with white noise, perhaps we’ve forgotten how to be silent.”
Excerpt of a Facebook post by Al Blanton
“Wherever you go, there you are.”
Retired from the University of Alabama and mentor to countless communications students/alumni
We don’t need (to be) rescued from the idols around us but (from) the idol worshipping heart within us.
Our failings are never meant to be the cause for despair but instead an invitation to receive God’s grace afresh. @WisdomHunters #grateful
How awesome to know that no matter what we have done, God can restore us and save us! #verseoftheday #psalm80_19
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