20 – I Don’t Know if I’m Coming or Going

Fifty common expressions that originated from the Bible that influence our language today.

I Don’t Know if I’m Coming or Going And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in” (I Kings 3:7).

The original meaning had to do with not being able to identify if you just arrived or just departed from someplace. Today, this phrase implies busyness, mental confusion, being overwhelmed by circumstances outside of your control.

“Coming or Going” became the title of a song by Jean Shepard and “I don’t know if I’m coming or going” was a song written by Billie Holiday. It also made its way onto the cover of several books. In 2011, it became the title of a romantic comedy and in 1959, British dramatist, Bernard Kops, used the expression in the play, The Hamlet of Stepney Green, “What with one thing and another, I don’t know if I’m coming or going.”

It was first recorded in the United States in 1924 and made its way to Australia in the 1940’s. Of course, Australia added its own slang to it, making it Arthur or Martha, instead of Coming or Going. Note the following excerpt from the Sydney paper, Truth, on 14, March, 1948; “Players were all over the place like Brown’s cows, and most didn’t know whether they were Arthur or Martha.”

Fortunately, no matter how busy or confused we become, God always knows our “going out” and our “coming in” (Psalm 121:8).

Posted in Influence

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