Our UN-word For The Year

Two days ago, at our church’s moms group, we were all asked to write down a word for the year that we want to dwell on, remember, or pursue. Two years ago I chose the word LOVE (I know, probably the most cliche word possible, but it reflected some deeply personal growth I was pursuing).

The word I wrote on that pretty little piece of paper yesterday was DELIGHT. Without recognizing it, this was actually my word for 2017, but I never named it as such. So this year it is. I’ll share more about that another time though.

Today I want to share something a little different with you.

You know how there are some people (okay, maybe you and me) who, when asked how they are doing, almost always respond with, ‘I’m so busy!’ or something along those lines? This was the backdrop to my husband’s and my situation several years ago.

Cyrus and I were confronted by someone who was offended. They were hurt because we had not asked them to help out more in a particular ministry Cyrus was overseeing.

And yet, the very reason we didn’t ask was because of the often repeated remarks by this person about how busy they always were.

The incident sent my mind racing about all the implications of using that little word and prompted me to completely re-think my use of the word BUSY – the message it sends to its hearers and the intents it reveals in its speakers. In fact, it is now a word that my husband and I try to avoid like other four-letter words.

BUSY is our un-word for the year, and the rest of our lives.


Though we can recite a dictionary definition of ‘busy,’ the reality is that it can imply so much more than we realize.

‘Busyness’ can say:

Stay away.

I’m important.

I’m waiting for something better to come along.

I’m actually desperately overwhelmed internally.

I don’t want to get involved with you or your activities.

I am guilty of abusing this word.

I have used ‘busyness’ to avoid tasks I don’t want to do.

I have used ‘busyness’ to avoid relationships I don’t want to invest in.

I have used ‘busyness’ as a measure of my greatness.

I have used ‘busyness’ as a measure of my spirituality.

As I look at this list, I realize that ultimately ‘busyness’ has been a way in which I lie to myself and to others about what is really going on in my heart. Ouch. But, I’m certain I am not alone in misusing this word.

I read a book recently called “Between Walden and the Whirlwind” by Jean Fleming. It’s all about ordering our lives in such a way that everything revolves around our Center, around Christ. In one chapter, Fleming addresses this idea of busyness. I love so much about what she had to say, mostly because it was convicting, yet it also spurred me on in my walk with the Lord. She says this:

“The goal of much that is written about life management is to enable us to do more in less time. But is this necessarily a desirable goal? Perhaps we need to get less done, but the right things.”

The Right Things. This is what I want to be doing. I want to schedule my days according to my values and my relationship with the Lord. I want to prioritize what God prioritizes. I want others to see me as ‘available’ – not too busy for them. I never want to say ‘I’m busy’ again.

That doesn’t mean life isn’t full of activity, but that that activity is prayerfully and thoughtfully chosen – yes and no are chosen out of obedience and love toward God. I’m far from perfect at living this way, but it’s still my aim.

Speaking of doing the Right Thing, another great encouragement to me lately has been a podcast by Emily P. Freeman called The Next Right Thing. She gracefully and artistically delves into the process of decision making and using the time, energy, and resources we have received to best serve the Lord. I highly recommend listening!

So that’s it. My un-word for the year.

Do you have a word, attitude, or idea that may need to be ‘un-worded’ in your life? A phrase that runs more toward a lie than the truth? I’d love to hear what God may reveal to you – leave a comment below!

I’ll leave you (and me) with this admonition from the Apostle Paul:


P.S. – Here’s another quote from Jean Fleming that I just had to share: “The emphasis is not learning to pack more into each day, so much as learning to order our day according to God’s will. We must recover our time from wasteful activities, and liberate it for God’s purposes.” I just love this idea of liberating our time for God’s purposes. It rings of freedom and peace and joy to me! These are the very blessings that we experience in living for God’s kingdom rather than our own.

P.S.S. – More than ever, I am persuaded that the only endeavor of true value in this life is Aiming at Heaven – pursing a loving and obedient relationship with our Lord and Savior. It’s my goal for this blog to share with you how God is continuing to teach and transform this life of mine that it might be an encouragement as He teaches and transforms you too! If you would like to receive an email when a new post is published, you can sign up below. It only takes a moment.



10 thoughts on “Our UN-word For The Year”

  1. Wow! Makes me realize that I have used that word way to much!! I will be re-thinking how I use that what kind of impression I am leaving with people!!

    Yes, I would love to be on your email list!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such valuable insight into the word “busy” and how that can make others feel and even back off from us. To be available to serve the Lord and have time to serve others is always a challenge. Now that I am having to work more outside of the home, it is even more important to prioritize what I need to get done without wasting time. Thank you for your exhortation to have the Lord show us His will for our daily lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My heart is kinda hurts after this post! I have said, not now…I’m busy far to many times to my kiddos! I haven’t put myself in their shoes to wonder what that might feel like until now! What it might be implying to them? What they may hear could be far different than what I am intending. Thank you for this message. I’ll steal your unword and I have a feeling, I’ll have a few of my own to add to this new list of unwords!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “I can’t afford it ” usually means “I have the money but… it doesn’t help me reach my goals… It’s not a priority…”
    I guess that’s an un-phrase not an un-word. This is something that I have tried to get into the habit of not saying for the past few years.
    It is easy to interchange “busy” with “afford.” We have a certain amount of minutes per day, the same as everyone else, and we prioritize, whether we are intentional about it or not. And that’s what you pointed out when you mention the book and the podcast. I will check them out! Thanks Kim
    It’s funny, I have actually been pondering this very subject for the past month and have written so many thoughts down that there is little white left on the pages.

    Liked by 1 person

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