There are phrases that I absolutely hate.
Actually, I seem to be gaining more and more of these phrases as I get older, which is probably a sad predictor of just what a cranky person I am going to be, if God should grant me the gift of being elderly. Objectionable phrases and a gobbly turkey neck. Can we pause for a moment while I rant about Zoom meetings? What is that all of you know that I don’t that is giving you such dewy, youthful complexions on Zoom? I am having meetings with women who are twice my age and man, my skin didn’t look that good when I was 16! I look like a bag lady who somehow got ahold of a laptop, who carries all her weight in her face and can fit the beggared donations of an entire day in the bags under her eyes, and, at the risk of sounding vain and superficial, come on! What happened to “we are all in this together”??
Which leads me back to phrases I hate, because that is actually one of them. Do we need bullet points for this? Probably so.
- We are all in this together: No, we aren’t. False solidarity is not only false (it’s right there in the name), but it is a brutally efficient way of not actually learning anything about another person. I once had a well-meaning individual tell me that she completely understood what it is like to have multiple children with feeding tubes — her daughter had allergies when she was little.
- Adulting: If you have to call it adulting, I guarantee you are not. You are maybe Infantilizing or Childishing or possibly even just plain old Whining, but the one thing that actual adults never say is Adulting. Instead they say things like, “I am paying the bills. I am changing a diaper. I am putting on pants.”
- People are human, they are just doing their best: If I don’t want to hear this from my brain surgeon or the guy who builds my bridges, why would I want to hear it from the guy writing my Bible study? We are human, that’s true. We need God’s grace, not a lower standard.
- God will never give you more than you can handle: I’m sorry… have you met God? Or me? The question has never been whether I can handle what He gives me; the question is whether He can handle what He gives me (spoiler alert: He can).
- Stay safe: No. I want so much more out of my life than safety. Safety is a miserable, grasping idol that, ironically, sucks the life of living. Go big! The goal of not dying is too small, too petty, too meaningless.
- Get over it: This one may surprise you… maybe not. You are pretty astute readers. But it deserves its own post, so read on.
For the record, I am aware of how peevish I must sound as I write this. I am not generally in the habit of spouting off to people who say these things to me, but in case you had forgotten, you are reading my blog. Which is to say, you can shut me off right now and go look at cat videos on YouTube instead and I’ll never know.
Still here? Hi.
I am going to make the argument that “get over it” is a thing you should never say and always do. It is a phrase that irritates me, because it is the verbal equivalent of shutting a car door on someone’s emotional finger. Isn’t it interesting when you look throughout the Bible that God never deals with His people in that way? Now, He doesn’t let them wallow in disobedience or ingratitude or fear, but He never tells them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps either. There is no “suck it up, buttercup” from the Almighty. He tells Joshua to be strong and very courageous — not because there was nothing to be afraid of (there was), but because God Himself was Joshua’s champion, and was with him. When we encounter the fear, frustration, or doubt of others, it is the height of foolishness to shrug and tell them to get over it. That is always a selfish shortcut, the sort that doesn’t want to get into the mess of the conversation you cannot control. Instead, take the Lord’s promise to Joshua as your own — the Lord your God is with you wherever you go… even into someone else’s sticky feelings and struggles. Incidentally, the very thing that enables you to engage with them is the very thing they need. Convenient, eh?
Now change shoes. Suppose you are the one weighed down by the feels, by a misunderstanding that hurt you, that you are the one who has just been told to “get over it”. Did you know that you can choose to offer forgiveness in your heart before the thing is actually fixed, before it has been asked of you? Did you know that, by the grace of God, you can choose not to be vindicated, not to have your case made, not to have your feelings satisfied? You can choose not to replay the conversation in your head, only with you saying exactly the thing you wanted to say… You can actively decide to turn your attention upward rather than inward, to decide that your feelings are not God and that God, in fact, is.
By your own strength, none of this is possible. But then… by your own strength, you can’t swallow Pixie Stix sugar. In Him, you live and move and have your being. In Him, you have the strength to listen and love someone weighed down by all the feels.
In Him, you can get over it.