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 UU2Bs (used to bes). 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, were not listening to hear them and learn about them, but were listening for when we can say something, especially something about ourselves. Whether its a buried selfishness or insecurity, our IUU2B talk is often a tad bit rude and reveals something lacking in our hearts.
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 dont 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 theyre done telling it. Many people would simply fall over in amazement to have been heard and valued enough to be asked to explain!
One of the best things we can do for people is to listen to them.
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. Its by the grace of God today this is what I am and what Im becoming existence!
I hope your past was full of achievements and blessings. But even more, Im praying that all of us can be better listeners and more focussed on the present and future than on the past. Lets make sure that our only major IUU2B is that we used to be an IUU2B!