Learning to Speak “Different Languages” – Meeting People Where They’re At

Learning to Speak “Different Languages” – Meeting People Where They’re At

When we spend a lot of time with a group of like minded individuals something funny happens, we all start sounding the same. 

I think of the times when I was younger and I would pick up the phone to hear one of my aunts. They live in West Virginia, and have pretty heavy accents. Next thing you know I start noticing myself developing an accent just by talking on the phone. To this day I’ll still slip and use words like, “y’all”

Yet it’s not just with accents, this “phenomenon” even happens with words, more specifically the “language” we use when around the aforementioned groups. 

In Christian circles we tend use certain phrases, words, and even jokes only Christians would really understand. We call it “Christian-ese”. 

The same situation also happens for myself when talking fitness. I’ll soon find myself using terms and phrases only fitness enthusiasts will understand. I’ll even sarcastically use cliches such as, “feel the burn”. 

There’s nothing wrong with speaking in such manners. There is nothing wrong with talking like this when the people around us understand what we are saying. The problem arises when we try to communicate with people outside of these circles. 

In college, I had a group of friends and just for fun we would call each other dawg. Well it got to the point, we would do so and it would just be natural. Then there was that fateful day that my mom made me breakfast one morning and I said, “Thanks dawg”. I think we all know this did not go over well. 

While the above example is an extreme case, think about when we try to help people. I’ll often find myself working with clients and using terms like “tuck your pelvis”. Well unless they’ve been working with me for a while I find they’ll usually stare at me like a confused puppy.

The same goes when I’m hanging out with fellow Christians. Sometimes we’ll say something or do something and I can’t help but wonder what this would feel like to someone who maybe didn’t grow up with a church background. 

If all I do is speak in these “different languages” I soon run into significant roadblocks. The people I’m trying to help, don’t understand what I’m saying, and as a result I struggle to help them. 

Another issue I run into is trying to explain something to others without them feeling like I consider them dumb. I loathe the often used phrase “dumb it down”. There is no respect for the person we are talking to when we use such words. 

When we communicate to people not involved in our regular circles it’s not about dumbing it down. It’s about speaking in a way that is relatable to the other person. We ought to communicate clearly the point we are trying to make using language others understand. The people who do this the best are the ones that will reach and affect the most people. 

Truth is; if we don’t take the time to step off our high horse of what we know people aren’t actually going to listen to us. If we want to reach and help people with our knowledge we can’t assume they’ll know what we are saying. We need to meet them where they are at. 

Of course the worst thing you can do before explaining something to someone is say, “I’m going to dumb it down for you”. Unless your purpose is to sound like an absolute prude. Then mission accomplished. 

– Dave

The Plight of Rest – Quit Trying so Hard

The Plight of Rest – Quit Trying so Hard

I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there. We wake up in the middle of the night, and we just can’t fall back asleep no matter how hard we try. Or even just as bad, our body tells us we’re tired but then we lay in bed tossing and turning with sleep as just a distant memory. It’s frustrating and disheartening when that moment hits, it’s the time when we should be at our most relaxed and instead our physiology is as stressed out as ever. 

Recently, I’ve been using an app called Headspace. In short, it’s a guided meditation, 10 minutes a day. I’ve always wanted to be better with my relationship with my thoughts. Between the fact that I have a million thoughts in my head going a million miles per hour, and my natural impulsiveness, it is hard for me to just let myself be. The minute I relax I catch another thought zooming by and I go after it like a dog chasing a car. 

This app has helped immensely in teaching me simply to relate to my thoughts. To have a focus on my surroundings while also letting my thoughts pass me by and to just sit there and enjoy them. Through such a relationship I’ve gained better clarity, I’m able to think better, and during my daily quiet time I feel myself able to open up and become more readily available to simply listen to what God might be trying to tell me. 

In this guided meditation, a fine British chap named Andy shares a secret to rest so simple it is often overlooked. When it comes to times that we should relax, whether it be sleep, a day off, or even just rest, we try too hard. Let that sink in for a moment. We try too hard to rest. Kind of funny, but it’s true. 

The times we fall asleep are often the ones where our head just hits the pillow, nothing else.

It’s the hardest thing for us. To simply let go, and let be. I’m not about to go all Beatles on you and whisper the words of Mother Mary. In Matthew 11, Jesus’ only command for rest is that we simply come. That’s it. And somewhere along the lines we’ve turned this into a “To Do” list. I mean honestly, even on my day off I find a way to make a to do list. 

Along with this, the other issue becomes the struggle of mindlessness. Some of us are really good at being mindless. Sometimes when I come home after a long day I just want to turn my brain off and watch tv. Yet this is not true rest. 

When working with athletes and I tell them they have a rest day I still make sure to point out that the best kind of recovery is active recovery. The worst thing you can do on a day off from the gym is to sit around doing nothing. Rather you should still do stretching of some sort or maybe go for a walk. The same goes for our mind. Sure watching tv and mindlessness is nice, but if that’s the way we get our rest then no wonder we never actually feel rested. 

I’ll be honest. In my own life, when I simply come and not turn off my brain but rather just rest; those are the times that I am able to truly sit still and just feel a peace amidst any turmoil. 

Even for myself this paradigm shift requires breaking a few old habits and forming new ones. Yet the lesson is still there. That much like rest for the body entails a balance of being active without effort, so must rest for our whole being be the same. 

– Dave