In my Olive-dictionary, there are three words I no longer want to use. I’m trying to delete them from my vocabulary. I want to x them out. They’ve proven to be toxic so I am doing my best to erase them from my thinking.
As I’ve journeyed toward becoming a healthier person and moved toward being filled with more grace and wholeness, I’ve realized that these three words have been poisonous to me. They are extremely common in our society’s lexicon, but I desire to eliminate them from my own everyday language. Here are the three words and why I’ve chosen to stop using them.
On the answering machine at my parents’ old house, I once recorded a little ditty from Veggie Tales that said, “We’re busy, busy, dreadfully busy; You’ve no idea what we have to do! We’re busy, busy, shockingly busy; but not too busy for you.” That was my old life. Since burning out five years ago, I’ve realized that being busy is not necessarily something to brag about.
To me, busy means my schedule is packed and I’m running from one activity to the next with nary a break. In our culture, it signifies some sort of importance and worth to be involved in a lot. But I hope to be more thoughtful about my activities. I want my involvements to be intentionally chosen with space to rest and just be.
My life can be full. But I don’t want it to be busy.
Along with busyness, hurry is part of today’s lifestyle. Part of becoming more attentive to life requires that I slow down. If I am hurried, I cannot be observant and aware. Internal rush makes me blind to my surroundings. I want to leave time for “interruptions” from my child, or spouse, or friends, or even strangers. I want to have space for God to show up in my day. Hurry also raises my level of stress because I feel like I’m always running behind, like I’m not enough. I observe how Jesus lived his life on earth and never do we see him scurrying from one place to the next. Removing hurry from my life allows me to live in the “unforced rhythms of grace” (Matthew 11:28, The Message.)
“Should” is a very heavy word to carry around. And its cousin, “ought to,” also loves to dump false guilt on us. In the past, I would often say, “I should do this,” or “I should do that.” I had a huge list of things I held myself responsible for that I really didn’t need to be responsible for. And I had impossibly high expectations of who I was supposed to be.
In its place, whenever I catch myself about to say the s word, I am learning to stop myself and replace it with, “I want to,” “I’d like to,” or “I could…” I’ve found that this practice helps me to be more realistic with my expectations of myself and frees me to entertain ideas as options and possibilities to explore without taking them on as obligations.
Busy. Hurry. And Should. Three destructive words that I’m working on getting rid of.
What words do you want to eliminate from your vocabulary?[photo credit: Leo Reynolds via photo pin cc]