“Be careful of your thoughts, for they run your life.” I’ve been thinking lately, how we say things sometimes but then we go to Bible study, or we come away from Bible study for that matter, and we say something different to what we said we believe or think. Or is that just me? For example – and this is a little lame but bear with me – we say ‘all I need is Jesus’, but then say we neeeeed an ice cream. Right now. Or we’ll die. I’m discovering that some words have subconscious connotations to my mind that contradict or make flippant what I say I actually believe, and I wonder if, maybe, choosing different words would help me to live out what I believe. So, here are three words I should stop using.
Need. My real needs are Jesus (and his way of doing things), food, water, clothing, and shelter. (Actually, the jury is still out on the shelter but apparently some Greek guy thought we needed it, and I’d like to agree with him.) I do not need, however, al dante pasta or cold water. People go without so much, proving that we actually don’t neeeed as much as we think we do. I’m not saying I’m cutting my electricity just because people in Africa go without it, or that I won’t crave ice cream sundaes, but I want to cut saying need all the time to help me be content with what I have and remember what I truly need.
Should. How often is something really, honestly a should? I should be doing something more productive than Facebook. I should read this theological book. I should grow my own veggie garden. I should save my money like such-and-such a person does. I should, I should, I should. The problem with the word should is that it’s loaded with guilt and tempts us to take things out of perspective. It’s like what I was saying a few weeks ago – we need (see what I did there?!) to take the rest of our life into account when choosing to do something. Yeah, Facebook can be a waste of time, but in light of your exhausted self after a 12 hour work day, Facebook is totally legit. So is reading ficticious books – there is no law going on here, nor is there any competition. I fall into the trap of comparing myself to others or setting high expectations on myself and saying I should be doing something, when really, in light of everything else going on at the moment and in light of God’s grace, I need to cut myself some slack. (Speaking of laws, yeah there are things that boil down to a should because not doing them would be wrong in God’s eyes. But even still, is God about choking us with do’s and don’ts, or a reflecting him relationship?)
Nice. This one is my latest pet peeve. I get called nice all the time. Seriously, all the time. Oh, Jess, you’re such a nice person. Oh yeah, that’s Jess – she’s always nice. Jess – stop being so nice!! And that’s really nice and all (haha), but problem being, I start misinterpreting what people are saying and think that my whole identity rides on this one word. For example, people tell me I’m nice and I hear, spoil-sport, overbearingly polite, Miss Perfect, goodie-too-shoes, and devoid of any personality or sense of humour. In reality, people tell me I’m nice and are really saying that I’ve shown thoughtfulness, care, compassion, manners, and helpfulness. I can’t stop people calling me nice, and I honestly, really appreciate people affirming me like that, and to be honest I call people nice all the time without even blinking an eyelid. But I am trying to use that word as a trigger to remember that nice is just a generalised way of saying you are characterised by something good, not negative, and that’s a good thing!
So there’s my three words I want to stop using. What about you? Are there words you avoid using because of the connotations they have on how you think and live? Share in the comments below!