Two Little Words...
by Peg Coleman
I will. Two little words that take up very little space on a page. Two little words that take an amazingly small amount of breath to utter. But when spoken with sincerity and full intent of meaning what an impact these two words can have on our lives.
Consider the “I will” that has the potential to build-- as in ‘ Will you marry me?’ Talk about visions of sugar plumbs dancing in heads! Two very different people, at that moment, have their own, individual versions of the life that can be built and created, together. For some there will be visions of someone to come home to at night, a sense of never having to be alone again, or of limitless chance for intimate relations. For others the visions may not go much farther than visions of dresses and bridesmaids, presents and children, with a sense of a ‘happily ever after’ thrown in with little more than a vague understanding of what that means.
However we say ‘I will’ not only in big things, like marriage, but in thousands of little, everyday, things throughout our lives. How many times have we heard “honey, will you….” and responded I will without even pausing to think? This is partly because past experience tells us that a quick, agreeable answer is the fastest way to end the ‘discussion’ and get back to what we were doing. Trouble is, the time will come when we’ll be expected to pay up, because even if we agreed simply to so we could get on with whatever we were doing, the person on the other end took it as a promise and believed you knew you’d have to follow through with action. So now we’re stuck. Because the fact is that answering “I will” normally involves more than just me—it involves the one who asked for the commitment they more than likely, aren’t quite as casual in their asking as we can be in our answering. A whole lot of miscommunication can be happening here, even with the best intentions in the world of both sides.
Think about the times your boss has asked you to tackle yet another difficult problem. Though you probably say ‘I will’ because you want to please him and keep your job, you may have very mixed emotions-- even as you respond outwardly with ‘the right attitude’. You may actually be filled with pride because you were singled out as the go to person for a tough assignment. You may just as easily be filled with resentment that your boss would continually ask you to tackle the problems that requires more energy and input than projects others are given. You may have a grateful, thankful heart, knowing this to be part of the plan for your life and, believing in God who tells us His strength is made perfect in weakness, accept the new responsibility with grace. Whatever our attitude at the time, when we respond with “I will”, we are committing ourselves to a course of action and all that’s implied, or we are, simply put, telling a lie to get through the moment with the least fuss possible. Of course the prospect of telling a lie is no longer in vogue. We prefer “I just needed to get him (her) off my back”. Or we really don’t think the thing asked was actually that important so our response isn’t really a lie...it’s just a little untruth.
Which brings us to the other side of “I will”—the un-building, or tearing down effect those very same words can have as in ‘I will never forgive you as long as I live”. That’s an ‘I will’ that we see carried out to the full far too many times in our homes between mother and fathers and between parents and children making our homes a battle field rather than a safe haven of rest.
Whatever the relationship-- our marriage, our boss, a colleague, a friend, “I will” is just the beginning, just the tip of the iceberg. Expand those words out now, and see the layers beneath. There are the layers that build--I will be faithful. I will do the work required to make this relationship grow. I will be responsible. I will do the tasks asked of me to the very best of my abilities, not cutting corners, not looking for the easy way out but looking for the very best possible solution even though it will require most of my time and attention.
All of these are what I think of as building up I will’s—they build up character in the one who truly takes the pledge to heart. They build up confidence and trust in the ones to whom the action was promised. They build up; they help relationships to grow in a healthy manner.
While the un-build I will is often filled with darkness, creating a space where nothing can grow because the intent from the first is not open, forthright and honest.
We have today. Today when you hear “will you”—hesitate for a moment, think, and then give the reply that is filled with light. If “I will”, then respond with the full intention to carry out your promise. Or if your answer were other, be brave enough to reply honestly, that way you grow.
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