I have used that word countless times – and usually in a negative way. You don’t understand what I’ve tried to tell you, ten different ways? Whatever. You don’t understand my passion for reading (despite it being THE MOST AWESOME pastime)? Whatever. You don’t seem to understand that my time is super valuable? Whatever. You don’t like my fashion choices today (who says I have to give up putting ribbons in my hair despite the fact that I’m in my late twenties)? Whatever. You don’t understand why I don’t wear make-up (not true as of six months ago)? Whatever.
Don’t get me wrong, there are positive ways to use the word. There were a couple instances when I used “whatever” in conversations with friends – and NOT ended up in a fight. I’ve told a few close friends that “WHATEVER they do could, it would not be so bad that it would end our friendship”. WHATEVER they did, we would still be friends.
But one day, as God does, He turned “whatever” upside-down, topsy-turvy, inside-out for me. I was in a bad mood. Well, it was one of those down-right, all-out bad attitudes about something I knew I was supposed to do. I didn’t want to do it. I knew I wasn’t going to be paid enough. I knew there was a good chance I’d get emotionally hurt. I knew I’d probably be overwhelmed at some point. And I knew I wouldn’t have as much free time as I currently enjoy. I didn’t want to do it.
BUT I knew I was supposed to. Have you ever had that feeling? That God is personally asking you to do something? If not, you might try listening to Him closer. He asks stuff of us – sometimes crazy stuff. And so I knew my crummy attitude was going to have to change, because even if I WAS obedient, doing it with a crummy attitude wasn’t going to help anyone – or please Him. I also knew I’m not very good at doing that on my own, so I asked God for help. Actually, after stewing over it for an entire night, I asked Him the next morning in the shower – because that’s where I was (I’m not one of those people who have amazing God moments in the shower generally – usually it’s during worship, when I’m writing or teaching, always during a sunset/sunrise, or outside taking pictures of pretty flowers).
ANYWAY, I was in the shower and knew this coming school year would be absolutely horrible if I didn’t change my attitude. And then, out of the blue (or plaster ceiling above my head) God, with what felt like a heavenly hammer (not made out of heavenly clouds either – definitely heavenly iron), pounded into my head the word “Whatever”. Right. God, hit me over the head with the metaphorical beam of “whatever”. And my first response was “??????? Um, God, was that YOU? What’s with ‘Whatever’?” So I kept listening, and He pretty much shouted these two verses at me:
Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is honorable, etc etc etc Think about these things.
Now, since I’m not the perfect Christian (obviously, I didn’t even know the entirety of one of the verses), I had to go look up the references (and the rest of that one verse).
But His point was made. Whatever I do – I’m not supposed to do it for the money, for the recognition, for someone else, or for, for, for anything or anyone EXCEPT for Him, because He asked me to, because, for whatever crazy reason, He picked ME to do this job . And I love Him, so of course I want to make Him happy; I want to feel His smile on me, and so I’ll do the job for Him TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY (which I probably wouldn’t have if I were doing it for someone or something else).
This is where the other verse comes into play. It’s super easy to get distracted from that perspective. SO, I have to keep my mind focused on good things – GOD things, things that make Him smile. This is what I’ve found: It helps me remember why I’m doing what I’m doing, and (and this is the best part) it helps me remember / continue to discover HOW VERY IMPORTANT are to Him. And I’m discovering that when I’ve got that solidly ingrained in my brain – that He loves me, cares for me, wants my good, that He desires to give me the desires of my heart more deeply THAN I DESIRE THEM – I’ll do everything with a “whatever” attitude. An attitude that says, “whatever I do, I do it for You God, because I love you”.
And there are so many times I catch Him smiling at me. You should try it!
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil 4:8
3 (Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, Col 3:23