Growing up in South Carolina, I’m used to folks saying I talk funny. I refer to everyone as “y’all”. I use the word “slap” as an adjective as in I’m just slap wore out. I only recently learned that “fixin’” isn’t a real verb. I mash buttons and cut the grass. I tell the kids to high tail it when we’re late for school. When they misbehave, you may hear me say I’m gonna be on them like white on rice. I believe you can say anything about anybody and if it’s offensive in any way you can fix it by adding “bless his/her heart” at the end of the statement. Like this…That dog is as ugly as homemade sin, bless his heart. Or this one…She ain’t knee high to a duck, bless her heart. Perfectly normal way of talking, I’d say.
My sweet hubby was raised in NC but has lived in Florida for the past 23 years. So when we met, I don’t think he understood half of what I said. I distinctly remember a blank expression as I answered his question and wondered what the heck was the matter. I was annoyed. He thought it was cute and would ask me to repeat myself over and over so he could hear whatever word he found so amusing. What can I say, he’s a keeper.
One day not long after we’d gotten married, our oldest son (my husband’s son who has also grown up in Florida) was cooking (fixin’) himself some eggs. I was sitting in the living room and hollered to him in the kitchen.
“Hey, when you’re done cooking your eggs make sure you cut the eye off.”
There was a slight delay, an audible eye brow raise, and a possible shoulder shrug before he asked me to repeat myself. Annoyed, I hollered the same sentence yet again and then mumbled something about him being “thick as a brick”. Our confused teenage son pointed out that he did not speak any language other than English. He had no idea what language I as speaking but it wasn’t the Queen’s English he was accustomed too. So I repeated myself again, but slower and more drawn out for emphasis.
“Cuuuuuutttttt the eyeeeeeeeeeeeeee offffffffffffff!”
I tried sign language. Another confused stare. I repeated my instructions yet again.
“Make sure you cut the eye off when you’re finished!”
This little tennis match went on for a few minutes, before I finally stomped into the kitchen. I walked over to the stove where he was frying his eggs. I reached over to where the knobs were and turned the appropriate one to the “off” position. As I did, my bewildered son looked at me like I had horns.
“Oh, you mean turn off the burner.”
“Whatever. Cut the eye off.”
Where I’m from, we call the little circles on the stove that heat up – eyes. I suppose other folks call them burners. Nevertheless, it’s a stove eye to me and I couldn’t for the life of me understand how our son was so confused by my simple instruction. But he couldn’t follow my instructions because he didn’t understand them. He wasn’t familiar with my voice or my manner of communicating.
As Christians we learn to listen to His instructions as God leads us through life. In order to understand how God leads, we must be familiar with his Word. The Holy Spirit is our helper. and the still small voice guiding us through decisions, valleys, losses and celebrations. He will never lead us against the Word. But if we aren’t familiar with what the Word says, then how can we understand the instructions we are given? So instead of wondering what the Lord is saying to you, read his Word. He will guide you, you will know His voice and you will be led in the decisions and direction you need without confusion.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 (NIV)