It’s partly the expression of my inner rebel; partly the rewards reaped from such an endeavor. This thing Cyrus and I did last year, having an UNword – a word we were diligent to delete from our vocabulary – well, we’ve found it to be a positive, beneficial, forward moving practice for us each individually and as a family.
Our UNword for 2018 was the word busy. I lost count of how many times I was on the brink of using the word in everyday conversation and had to bite my tongue. Not for the sake of an arbitrary challenge, but in an effort to think more precisely, better understand the motives of my heart, and to communicate more clearly. If you’d like to read more about how we decided on the word busy, click here.
We will continue to be careful in our use of the word busy. And since we valued this challenge so much, we’re at it again for 2019!
So, drumroll please, our UNword for this new year is the word bad.
This short little adjective, we’ve come to recognize, can do a lot of harm to our thought processes, our perspectives, our attitudes, and our relationships.
Our kids are quick to label foods they don’t care for as bad.
We call circumstances bad and color the whole day bad because of a few moments.
We judge others as bad, attempting to remove their speck before we remove our log.
We name ourselves bad, in direct opposition to the names God has given us.
This word, bad, is a dangerous word because it covers a multitude of issues with one vague, imprecise, gray colored brush stroke.
Using the word bad doesn’t help us to get to the real problem, and therefore it prevents us from getting to the real solution!
If I am having a bad day, what else is there to do besides wallow in my circumstances and seek some sort of temporary relief? But what if, instead, I more precisely declare: “Today I was hurt by someone’s untrue and harsh words towards me.” I can do something with that! I can seek restoration in the relationship, or I can pray for that person, or I can bolster myself by renewing my mind with what I know IS true according to our Heavenly Father. Calling a day bad will never bring me to this place.
Bad can be an adjective that leads us to cowardice, apathy, and having an unhealthy victim mentality. It doesn’t acknowledge responsibility. If it’s that thing or person or situation outside of me that is bad, then certainly I have no responsibility toward it.
When I use the word bad, it tends to reveal a heart that elevates myself above the Living God as judge and determiner of value. I see pain as bad, while all along God is using it for my good! Some of my kids view a bedtime as bad, but it is ultimately for their benefit! Throwing around this label of bad onto things and people, skews my perspective and can harm my desire to Aim at Heaven.
I believe that a healthy and God honoring perspective seeks to be honest and to bring all things into the Light. I can do that by being specific rather than vague. Instead of calling things bad:
I will call sin, sin.
I will call hurt, hurt.
I will call pain, pain.
I will call conviction, conviction.
I will call sorrow, sorrow.
I will call injustice, injustice.
I will seek to call all things by their true name so that the truth of God may minister precisely and effectively in my life. I will seek to do the same in the lives of those He has placed before me to minister to. To Him be the glory!
These are a few of the reasons Cyrus and I are choosing to UNword bad for 2019. Truth be told, I’ve already said it a number of times accidentally. This is going to be a much harder word to remove than busy! But, we look forward to how this practice will refine, challenge and teach us this year.
Do you think this is a practice from which you could benefit? We invite you to join us in UNwording bad. Perhaps this has sparked an idea for a different UNword for your year. Ask someone to join you and give it a try! Let me know if you do, and what your UNword is for 2019 if it’s not bad. I’d love to hear from you so that we can encourage one another in this goal!