Can I Quote You On That?

quotationMarksEvery Monday in our weekly Department Head meeting, we have an ice breaker question.  They have ranged from the unimaginative, “What are you doing this weekend?” to more thought provoking questions that will make you think, “What is the favorite gift you ever received from your grandparent.”  It is always interesting to see exactly what someone might come up with.

This week, one of our newer managers was given the task of the icebreaker.  You could feel the tension coming off of her as she explained that she had thought a long time about it and had thought about doing an activity, but was not able to get all of the props together.  She said after a lot of deliberation and asking some of the people in her department what they thought, she settled on this:

“If you had to have your life summed up in a quote, what would you want it to be?”

Wow.  My mind was blown as I sat there and thought about the weight of that question.  Sum up my life in a quote.  All of my desires, dreams, and accomplishments in a sentence that would depict my life.  Something memorable, imaginative, and potentially inspirational in the life of someone who heard it.

The answers began as we went around the room.  It was my turn to impart my words of legacy that I would want people to remember me by. Here we go:

“Sarcasm. just one of the many services I offer.”

Way to go, Tom. Home run… Doofus…

As the day wore on I went back to what I had said and thought about it some more – a lot more!  Obviously that quote is a part of who I am (no remarks from the peanut gallery), but it is not a total representation of me, nor is it what I want to be remembered by.

There are things in my life that I value more now than I used to.  The importance of my family and friends has grown in magnitude to a level I didn’t think possible before.  I mean, I always loved my family, but I am loving them differently now.  It is stronger, healthier, and with more purpose.  Friendships were something that always came and went with me, and I didn’t lose a whole lot of sleep either way, but now, I have some real friendships that I see as mutually beneficial. And I love doing life with these people.

Another thing that has changed is that I am now able to interact with people at a deeper level.  Over the last couple of years I have learned to ask better questions, to listen to understand, and to enter into another person’s emotional state.  It is something I never wanted to do before.  Let’s face it.  We are all people, and we all have emotions.  Emotions are just plain messy!  I avoid messy, but lately, I like that kind of mess!

What happened?  How has this change taken place? (And how will he bring it back around to talking about a quote?)

I believe with all my heart that it has hinged on one thing.  It has been something that I have done off and on for about 30 years, but only in the last two have I become more consistent about it:


I’ve been to classes, I have taken training courses. I have read books about how to have these changes take place in my life, and up until recently, I have seen no appreciable change in the area of friendship and genuinely caring about people.  The only real change has been my time in God’s Word.  So, what am I supposed to think happened?

Logically, I have to stick with what makes sense.  The time spent in God’s Word is doing it.  It is the only variable that has changed, and the only real change about doing it is that it has become consistent.  Spending time reading my Bible has opened my eyes to what He is doing in my life.  It has given me more of a desire to pray for direction, understanding, wisdom, and for the well-being of others.

I guess when it is all said and done, if I was going to want a quote to define my life, I would want it to be something that reflected the changes that have taken place lately.  I have never felt the closeness of God in my life that I do now.  I have never had the peace in my heart that I have now.  I have bad days, but they are not as often, and not as bad.

So, when I take all of that and put it together, I guess (and now we’re back to the part about the quote) I would like the quote that defines my life to be something along this line:

“Healthy relationships with family and friends are the natural fruit of a life devoted to relentless growth in Christ, and there is no better way to grow deep in Christ than to dig deep in His Word.”

It might never end up on a coffee cup or a T-shirt, but I’d be pretty pleased if that was the legacy I left behind. You can quote me on that!

Relentless Growth. Grow deep. Grow strong.

In HIS Grip,


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Author: Tom Tanner

I'm a follower of Christ, husband, and father. Over the last few years I have been learning how to dig deeper into God's Word and letting it influence more of my life. As I learn, try, fail, and repeat in this process I am seeing God's hand more and more in my life and that of my family as well. This journey is long, hard, and at times a little lonely, but living a Relentless life for Christ has rewards that reach beyond me and my family. My prayer is that it brings God glory and leaves a legacy that will show His influence in my life.

I would love to hear your comments here or e-mail them privately to

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