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Watching Our Words, Wants, and Worries…"Whatever!"By Peggy Werner
In today’s vernacular, the term “whatever” occurs frequently. “Whatever!” is an expression used to express a multitude of meanings depending on the inflection of voice used, intonation, use of hand gestures, and facial and/or eye expressions.
With a shrug, “Whatever!” can mean “I couldn’t care less.” Holding your hand up and saying “Whatever!” can mean “Your mouth is moving, but I’m no longer listening.” Shaking your head and looking away while saying “Whatever!” may mean, “I think you aren’t being honest with me or you are exaggerating.”
This kind of thinking and blowing people off and even putting off the urging of the Holy Spirit with a single word is a red flag flapping in the breeze. How do you feel when you hear “whatever” spoken by your son, daughter, spouse, friend, or even yourself? Have you really ever thought of it or are you so caught up in the daily whirlwind of postmodern living: DVRs, cellphones, MP3 players, carpool lines, long commutes to work, school, and/or sports, errands, cooking, cleaning or “whatever” else it is that takes up your time? There’s that word again…”what…ever…”
I really began to notice the word “whatever” like a juggernaut in my mind while on my very first cruise this past summer. One of the activities on the ship was BING (which is a whole other topic in itself” and my family decided we would “play.” Well, the bingo caller’s instructions were specific--- if you were one away from having a BINGO, you were to stand up to alert others that you were close to winning. Our Bingo caller was a young 29-year old lady from Australia. She had a distinctive accent and she spoke constantly throughout the game. When people stood up because they were close to BINGO she made a point to play it up by having those who were still sitting to groan or to boo; but then she would say something like, “Well those who are standing and about to BINGO, what do we have to say?” “….Oh, What-ev-er!” After the 6th or 7th “what-ev-er!” from this young lady it got to be downright irritating to me; but it stuck in my mind and rang in my ears. The word “whatever” came up during a recent Bible Study I was in. It struck me a s almost funny when I came across Philippians 4:8-9. I was amazed that Paul repeatedly used the word “whatever in the NIV translation of Philippians 4:8-9 from the Holy Bible.
Here was this word again over and over; but with a difference! Paul asks us to focus on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is right and whatever is admirable. So the next time you hear yourself or someone else flippantly say “whatever”, stop and take a moment to fill your minds instead with the six things: truth, nobleness, purity, loveliness, righteousness, and all that is admirable in God’s eyes.
May the God of Peace, our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Christ, be with you.
Wasn't that great?
I got her permission this morning at church to publish it on my blog.