Michael DuVal, Co-Pastor

Carey Nieuwhof has identified several phrases people say that impact them—and others— more than they think.

And, let’s be clear, whether we immediately recognize it or not—what we say reflects what we believe—and this may particularly be true of little phrases that slip out of our mouths without our giving them much thought.

Do you say any of these self-defeating things to yourself again and again?

1. I didn’t get a chance to . . .

“I didn’t get a chance to get that report done.” “I didn’t get a chance to write that email I promised.” “I didn’t get a chance to empty the dishwasher.”

We did get the chance to do whatever we said we didn’t get a chance to do. We just didn’t take it. Imagine what might happen if we started admitting that to ourselves. It would be sobering—but a little liberating too. We do what we decide to do.

2. I just don’t have time for that . . .

We all have 24 hours in a day. No more. No less. Hours and minutes don’t discriminate. This may sound like a small thing, but if we embrace it consistently, it can be revolutionary.

3. I’m too busy to . . .

In many circles, the #1 response people give to “How are you?” is “I’m too busy.” What’s up with that? Whatever happened to “I’m doing really well” or “You know, things are a little challenging, thanks for asking” or “I’m great. How are you?”

Why is saying we’re too busy not the best way to respond to a simple greeting? Well, how does being busy help or engage the other person? It doesn’t.

Why is it that many of us wear busyness as a badge of honor: “Look at how busy I am. I must be important.” Busyness is not a sign of effectiveness. It’s a sign we’re not managing our lives well. So why tell people that?

4. I just can’t . . .

How often do we turn down great opportunities by saying things like “I just can’t.” Like, a consistent family night, or exercising, or a vacation, or some meaningful time with God. Greg McKeown says: “You can do anything, just not everything.”

Thoughtfully choosing our words can help us get beyond the ways we are limiting ourselves and often actually doing harm to ourselves and others.

- Michael