No, that’s not what I was going to say…
Have you ever played the autocorrect texting game? It is when you tap the middle word that your phone predicts you will say next. If you do this about 15 times, you create one hilarious, nonsensical sentence. Some of my friends and I have several ongoing conversations of this nature. Pretty fantastical random laughs. Here’s an example: “I don’t think that I have a great way of the year and I don’t think.”
If you’re like me at all, autocorrect serves its purpose sometimes, making my texting speed much more impressive, and my ability to inform others of information nearly effortlessly. But, if you are like me, when you least expect it, autocorrect will betray you and change even one word to something comically out of context. I regularly type “bahahaha” to laugh at a friend’s joke; more than once, autocorrect texted “Bahamas!” instead. Such a vacation would be great! As that wasn’t what I was going for, it results in “dang you, autocorrect!”
No, that’s not what I was going to say… It’s like the real life “dang you, autocorrect!”
The problem is that it is not just our phones guessing what we want to say. For a couple years now, I have noticed that the culture surrounding me is one completely comfortable with cutting each other off in conversation. This problem seems even more obvious (or prevalent) at my current job. Attempting to communicate a problem (or even potential problem!) gets interrupted by a manager finishing my sentence; and most of the time, it’s not the correct ending. “Dang you, autocorrect!”
What escalates the problem to the level of infuriating is that instead of stopping to listen to what I wanted to say, the individual keeps guessing. What should and could have been stated in less than 10 seconds now takes exponentially longer. Then we hop on a merry-go-round where they guess, I say no, I start again, they guess again, I say no again… round and round and round we go. I’m not sure yet the cause: anticipating my needs, thinks guessing and interrupting will save time, impatience, arrogance, or I could be taking too long to get to the point. (I tell reeeeeeeally long stories… you’ll see, I’m sure).
I think that often we become autocorrect for others. Rather than listening, we try to guess what they are trying to say. Communication can be simply to inform facts; interaction and connection comes through the process of communicating. I’ve spent much of my life bottling up my emotions and my voice because I thought no one wanted to listen, because I thought no one would take the time.
I am tempted to tell you about my bad day at work by simply saying “I had a bad day at work.” Does healing does not comes from that? If I sit down (with coffee!) and verbally process all that I struggled with that day with an understanding friend who gives feedback, I am better prepared for my next struggle. Plus I have with hope and reassurance, and we have connected at a deeper level.
Communication at that deep level is hard to develop.
The good news is God is always there to connect with us. Romans 8:26 reassures us that even when we can’t find the words to express ourselves, we have the perfect intercessor, who knows us better than we know ourselves. Never a “dang you autocorrect” moment necessary with Him.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)
“Bend down, O LORD, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help. Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God. Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly. Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you. O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Listen closely to my prayer, O LORD; hear my urgent cry. I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.”
Psalms 86:1-7 (NLT)
Another good thing, God can help us to connect with other better. We don’t have to guess what someone is trying to say. Remember that interaction is more than transferring information. If that was the case, God wouldn’t have a reason to listen to us. He knows everything already, and He still loves to interact with us. Communication is a journey with another person. Communication can cause growth and healing.
So find a listener and be a listener.