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IUU2B, by Phil Ware Phil Ware

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    “I used to be an athlete.”

    “I used to be in band.”

    “Used to be a good golfer.”

    “I used to be in good shape.”

    If you listen to those around you, you know there are a lot of UU2B’s (“used to be’s”). Yes, for many of us, there are significant accomplishments in our past. So when folks brag on themselves or someone else, we find it very easy to jump in with our “IUU2B” comment. While nothing is wrong in particular with talking about past achievements, there are two dangers which we should acknowledge when we get to be a regular in the “IUU2B” world.

    First, we often jump in with our “IUU2B” monologue before the other person has finished with his or her story. In other words, we’re not listening to hear them and learn about them, but we’re listening for when we can say something, especially something about ourselves. Whether it’s a buried selfishness or insecurity, our “IUU2B” talk is often a tad bit rude and reveals something lacking in our hearts.

One of the best things we can do for people is to listen to them.
    If we are to be salt and light to the people around us, one of the best things we can do is to listen to them. I don’t mean just hearing their voice, but listening for their heart in the story they are telling. One way to avoid derailing their story is to pause when the “IUU2B” urge strikes, and ask two relevant questions about their story when they’re done telling it. Many people would simply fall over in amazement to have been heard and valued enough to be asked to explain!

    Second, too much of the “IUU2B” monologue reveals that we are spending too much time in our past and not enough in planning for the present and dreaming for the future. We dangerously threaten our present and future when we keep looking at the good things we did yesterday rather than rejoicing in the day that God has given us today. Paul reminded us to press on to things ahead and things above. Ours is not an “IUU2B” existence. It’s “by the grace of God today this is what I am and what I’m becoming” existence!

    I hope your past was full of achievements and blessings. But even more, I’m praying that all of us can be better listeners and more focussed on the present and future than on the past. Let’s make sure that our only major “IUU2B” is that we used to be an “IUU2B”!


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