Two words of instruction. Over and over and over. Two words that followed me all throughout childhood. Over and over and over. Two words that are still said to me by people who are well-meaning and who love me. Over and over and over.
I suppose that I will never be completely free from these 2 words:
On my way to school; be careful. Going to basketball practice; be careful. Heading to an event with the youth group from church; be careful. Walking across the field to my grandmother’s house; be careful. Using scissors or a hammer or fingernail clippers; be careful. Doing anything at all and for no reason at all; be careful.
Frankly, I have long since grown tired of hearing those 2 words. And I have my reasons.
For some people saying these 2 words has grown to be a habit. They just say them at the end of every conversation. Kind of like “bye” or “talk to you later” or “take it easy.” These people do not seem to realize how silly it is to tell normal, somewhat sane people to be careful. Do they think that I plan on being careless as I use sharp objects or go swimming? Do they think that if they do not tell me to be careful that I will come unglued and begin behaving as though I have no sense at all?
Them: Be Careful.
Me: Oh my goodness! Thanks for telling me that. Without you here to instruct me to be careful I probably would have walked headlong off of a cliff. But since you said “be careful,” I will be sure not to do such an ignorant thing.
Sorry for such sarcasm. I’m hoping you see and commiserate with my aggravation.
Those words that entered my brain over and over served to make me afraid. As a child, I often experienced anxiety over all of the things out there that could potentially harm me (even though very few of those things ever happened). Being constantly reminded to “Be careful,” served as an accomplice to my worries and caused me great distress. There was not a problem around every corner, but it felt like there would be around the next.
Those who kept saying the 2 words I now abhor had my best interest at heart. They cared about me; about what could happen. They wanted me to keep my eyes open; to be aware. But those words combined with my alreay shy and skittish personality dampened my ability to take risks regardless of the possible rewards.
I was paralyzed by being careful.
But now, I have overcome this.
There are 2 new words that are at the forefront of my mind. Two words that help me to take risks when appropriate, yet at the same time help me keep my guard up against real threats. I do not repeat these words over and over to myself and no one else ever says them to me, but I strive to live my life by them anyway.
Being Christlike covers being careful without taking it too far. When I am being Christlike I am aware of the real dangers out there without worrying about the imaginary ones. It also means that while I am aware of the real dangers, I am not controlled by them. They do not make me afraid for I know that my Savior is leading me.
Being Christlike allows for greats risks because truly following Jesus implies that there will be plenty of risks involved. I know that while I following the Master by living life on the edge, the great net of His grace is there to catch me when I fall.
It’s a good feeling, trust me.
People still tell me to “be careful” from time to time. When they do I usually give them an inward cringe and whisper to myself–“Be Christlike.”
It’s better that way.