“Don’t Say It 2016: 5 Things I Don’t Want to Say Anymore” by May Patterson
“Lookin’ out for number one.” “O.M.G.” “I’ve never had a chance.” Clichés. Erroneous comments. Everyday chit-chat. Sometimes I throw words around sort of carelessly, without evaluating what I am really saying. After all, they’re just words—pretty harmless, right?
Jesus seemed to think our words are actually quite important (Mt. 12:36). I think it’s because they can paint life-saving pictures of God. They can reveal who He is. Our words can give hope to the dying and express love in a world filled with pain. Our words can bless others. What we say can bring honor to God.
Or NOT. What we say can spread doubt and dishonor. Our words can make God look worthless and small. We can stir up a lot of trouble and heartache with a single comment. Do the things we say show faith or doubt? Do our words make God seem valuable or trivial?
It’s important to evaluate just what we are saying. David understood this. He prayed: “Lord, help me control my tongue; help me be careful about what I say.” (Psalm 141:3, NCV) I think this is a good prayer for me, too. In evaluating my words, I’ve come up with at least 5 things I’ve said in the past, but don’t want to say anymore:
1) Saying: “Nothing good ever happens to me.”
Really Means: “I don’t expect God to bless me.”
When I was a senior in college, I broke up with the guy I planned to marry. “Nothing good ever happens to me,” I said bitterly. Not true. God used heartache for good, to teach me needed lessons about relationships. The painful break up prepared me for a happy marriage. Expect God’s blessing; talk like you believe it, even on dark days.
2) Saying: “Nothing will ever change.”
Really Means: God won’t deliver me, He is going to leave me in this stressful state forever.”
Some people have the luxury of family planning, but not us. We had three babies in three years—a two-year old and then, have mercy, twins. It seemed like our life would remain chaotic forever—with piled-up laundry, hectic schedules and wild children.
Now there are three empty places at our table (a little lonely, but at least I don’t have to cook), and the house stays neat and clean. Though it seemed like life would never change, it did. Life has its seasons (Ecc. 3:1), but God delivers us through them all (Ps. 34:17).
3) Saying: “No one has ever had my problem.”
Really Means: “I’m totally alone, no one understands, poor me.”
I grew up in a noisy, talkative family. Maybe that’s why I was a bit on the quiet side. I struggled with being painfully shy. It seemed like nobody else I knew had my problem. Eventually, I grew past my shyness, only to find that many people have the same struggle. We share the same weaknesses, but God can help us overcome (1 Cor. 15:57).
4) Saying: “I can’t take ANOTHER thing.”
Really Means: “Life depends solely on me, I don’t feel like God protects or helps me.”
Years ago, we bought a fixer upper. We moved out of our old house before the new one was ready, so we stored our furniture and moved in with my parents, with three kids, two cats and a dog.
I didn’t pack any medicines—after all, it was just for a couple of weeks. I didn’t pack many clothes, either…Two weeks turned into two months. And in that time, my son was hospitalized with a staph infection, my daughter broke her wrist, and the cat ran away. I couldn’t find anything, ever. The season changed and I had no access to my fall clothes and more importantly, neither did my teenage daughter.
One day I said (ok, yelled), “I can’t take another thing!” Maybe you know the feeling. This is the time to evaluate, is this true? Does God help me bear burdens or not? He is our shield and protector (Ps. 18:2), but do I talk like I believe it?
5) Saying: “I am just a worrier; I can’t help it.”
Really Means: “I have no choice; I have to wring my hands and worry myself sick.”
Jesus disagrees. He said, “ I tell you, do not worry about your life” (Mt. 6:25). In other words, we CAN help it. We have a choice. Our mind and mouth can actually be trained to think and speak words of faith. Jesus offers us power to live beyond fear and worry. This starts in our mind and shows up in each word we say.
Think back over the last few weeks. Evaluate what you said and why. What do your words really say about God? Take every opportunity to paint a beautiful and accurate picture of the value that the Lord is to your life.
What’s on your DON’T SAY IT: 2016 list?