3 Phrases You Use But Need To Change

When I was growing up, my mother owned a company called Programme to Success which involved her being a motivational speaker and distributing this kind of material. My parents got into listening to motivational speakers, and were convinced that you can talk yourself into riches and self-confidence. Needless to say, they weren’t believers at all, and as much as they repeated the positive affirmations over and over, day after day, wealth and self-worth eluded them.

I have thought many a time that I wish I would have been saved all the way back then. I would have told them that their faith should be in our great, sovereign God alone, and that:

The reward for humility and fear of the Lord

is riches and honor and life.

Proverbs 22:4

I imagine them turning to the source of all blessing and recanting their recurring daily chants which included “I love myself,” “Today I will be successful,” and “Wealth is on its way to me,” among many others.


Because of this background, I’m acutely sensitive (read disagreeable with) the “power of positive thinking” type teachers, and even more so when they claim to be preachers of God’s Word. However, I’ve discovered over the years that…

There are certain phrases we can tweak that give us a better perspective. Click To Tweet

These upgraded phrases don’t have the “power” to redirect our destinies, as the positive thinking preachers claim their ways do, but I have found them helpful in reminding me of the message I want to convey to myself and others through making them.

I have to…

There are so many activities each day and week that I’m sure you have to do.

From having to prepare dinner for your family to taking your children to piano lessons… being sinful human beings, we can start to feel resentful of all the things we “have to” do.

How about changing your “I have to” statements, to “I get to” statements?

Instead of saying, “I have to take my car into the garage to be fixed”

Look at the task as, “I get to take my car into the garage to be fixed”

You’ve just transformed the chore you dread into an attitude of gratitude for the blessing of having a car, and for the funds God has provided to get it repaired!

Try these for size:

I get to change my baby’s diaper!”

I get to do my family’s laundry!”

I get to go to church!”

What a huge turn around in thanksgiving and joyfulness when you see your tasks as privileges as opposed to chores!

I don’t have time…

I’m the queen of saying, “I’m too busy.” And with a husband, five children whom I “get to” homeschool :-), a pretty full-on household, and a blog, I certainly am not twiddling my thumbs. But you see, I can, and often do, use my full-plate-of-a-life as an excuse not to do things that are important, beneficial, and even required by my Lord!

So, instead of saying, “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time” when you’re confronted with a choice to do something you know you ought to be doing, try telling yourself what you’re really meaning behind the scenes, “It’s not a priority.

Believe me, that can hurt!

Consider what you’re actually saying when you replace, “I don’t have time” with “That is not a priority for me”:

I don’t have time to read the Bible this morning.”

It is not a priority for me to read the Bible this morning.”

I am too busy to share the Gospel.”

“Sharing the Gospel is not a priority for me.”

See what I mean by it hurting when you simply rephrase words that you use regularly. I, for one, made some pretty major adjustments to the way I spent my time after I thought of my busyness in this way.

What If…

As someone who has been through a lot of grief in my lifetime, I have certain fears of “bad things” happening. This is especially true when I think about tragedies relating to my husband or children.

If you agonise in this area, too (and I’m pretty sure the majority of people struggle with fear to some degree or another), it is helpful to change your “What if” to “Even if.”

See how this works:

What if my husband dies…”

Even if my husband dies… God will take care of our family.”

What if I contract a debilitating, terminal disease…”

Even if I contract a debilitating, terminal disease… I will praise my Lord and glorify Him to the end.”

What if we go broke…”

Even if we go broke… God will not leave or forsake us, we can trust in His everlasting care.”

This small modification in your speech transports you from fear to faith! Click To Tweet

The only way you can finish your “even if” statements is by focusing on the God who will lovingly and sovereignly allow the hardship into your life, and trusting in His goodness and faithfulness through and beyond it.

So there you have it, 3 phrases you use but need to change. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll catch on to your new way of talking and thinking once you get going.

The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.

Proverbs 16:23

Which of these phrase alterations “spoke” to you? What have you been saying that you will tweak from now on?

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Tehila is an Israeli, God-loving, husband-serving, child-nurturing mom of five sweet little ones whom she homeschools. She resides in beautiful New Zealand from where she blogs at Women Abiding – Encouraging women to abide in God and His Word.

About womenabiding

Tehila is an Israeli, God-loving, husband-serving, child-nurturing mom of five sweet little ones whom she homeschools. She resides in beautiful New Zealand from where she blogs at Women Abiding – Encouraging women to abide in God and His Word.
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64 Responses to 3 Phrases You Use But Need To Change

  1. Bella says:

    Thanks for this! I needed these words of encouragement at the moment. Aligning our thoughts to something that’s more biblical and God-honouring can transform our whole outlook on life. My situation is a bit unexpected at the moment, but I wonder how things would change if I started seeing this as an opportunity I ‘get to do’ rather than something I have to put up with.

    • womenabiding says:

      Bella! I’m so blessed to hear that this post has been helpful to you… The “I get to’s” is a biggie and truly transforms our attitudes. May God make you acutely aware of His Presence and goodness in your current circumstances. With much love to you xoxo

  2. Ugochi says:

    Great you have changes recommended. I believe so much in being conscious of our words as they are seed which reflect our fears or our faith. I love the ‘I get to’ one in particular.
    Many thanks for sharing Tehila.
    Have a super blessed day!

  3. Excellent! Excellent!! Oh how it will change our outlook on life to do these exercises! I wrote them down and now have them on a sticky note in my office. Going to pray for an opportunity to share these with the ladies in my church! Thank you!

    • womenabiding says:

      How exciting, Karen! Your enthusiasm is thrilling 🙂 May God use these phrase improvements in your life as well as in the lives of all those you touch… Hugs to you xoxo

  4. Heidi says:

    I am SO glad I happened upon this article! These words are so true! I will be printing out these tweaks, and will try to remember to use them! Thank you so much!

  5. Brenda says:

    Ooo, “It’s not a priority…” That one can sting a little, can’t it? Will have to think about that next time I say I don’t have time for something. Great thoughts, Tehila. Thanks for sharing with #ChasingCommunity today. ((blessings))

  6. Ashley says:

    Thank you so much for this. I felt like you were speaking right to me. How often I say all three of those phrases. You new suggestions are great and I am going to try earnestly to put them into practice. Thank you for this wonderful reminder.

    Much love in Christ,

  7. Carlie says:

    This is such an encouraging reminder to be mindful of the words we use and to be grounded in the one, true Source of all blessing. I like them all – one encourages gratitude and thanksgiving, the second helps us to check our commitment to God and the third is a wonderful reminder of God’s promise that he will never leave us no matter how hard life gets. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Melinda Wood says:

    I don’t have time….

    Very sobering.

    Thank you for bringing perspective into these phrases.


  9. Heather Hart says:

    Those are pretty deep changes. Definitely makes you think.

  10. Naomi Fata says:

    So true! I’m a strong believer in how our words impact our hearts because when we say it with our mouth we are also hearing with our ears the words we spoke so what we speak will either teach our heart to trust God or not to trust Him – especially in the scenario of ‘what if’ love how you changed that to ‘even if’

  11. Ruth says:

    Great suggestions!
    My husband changed his “I have to go to work” to “I get to go to work” after a period of unemployment. Sometimes we forget just how blessed we are.

    • womenabiding says:

      Nothing like a trial like unemployment to get someone to appreciate work, is there? Thank you so much for sharing, Ruth. Your comment is helpful on so many levels!
      Blessings to you xoxo

  12. Nicki Faust says:

    I certainly needed this change of perspective today – I’m feeling overwhelmed with everything. However, I GET to vacuum, I GET to write, and EVEN IF I’m exhausted from a busy day, I GET to spend time with family tonight. 🙂

  13. I love the “What if…” section. Especially, the “What if my husband dies?” That is one question that would terrify me in the first couple of years of our marriage. It still paralyzes me at times. I cannot fathom going through life without him. However, your suggest statement to say instead really helps remind me of the bigger picture and rest in God’s goodness, grace, and sovereignty.

    • womenabiding says:

      I’m so glad, my friend, and I can very much relate to your fear. God would indeed sustain us in every single way if something did happen to our hubbies, BUT… even if He chose that path for us, we would come to the point of accepting that it was His loving and good Hand that allowed it for His greatest glory and purposes. I pray we never have to face it, but may our perspectives and gaze be upon Him in anything He chooses to bring our way… Amen? Hugs to you xoxo

  14. Jann Olson says:

    Love this! So true that looking at things in a more positive way makes all the difference in the world. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  15. Carol O says:

    The first and the third is something I learned years ago. The second one is new to me and I must be more aware of this in my life. Great post!

  16. I do think how we say things can have such an impact. We used to preach this at my work because many of us would say “just” a lot.
    But it’s hard to change how we say it—it takes tons of practice!! Thanks for the reminder!

  17. Betty says:

    Well-said. I like the attitude of gratitude. God has given me so much to be thankful for. I believe sometime we take that for granted.

  18. This is one of those posts that are worth reading again and again – such great reminders! Pinning!

  19. Such good wisdom! I have heard the “I get to” one before but the “It’s not a priority?” Whew! That one was tough to take. Thanks for sharing! Your neighbor at #raralinkup

    • womenabiding says:

      Adrienne! Allow me to first confess that I popped over to your blog, and you are beautiful!!! You have a gorgeous family, and I just love the sweet, godly spirit that exudes from your online presence! All that to say… I’m impressed 🙂 Yes, the “it’s not a priority” digs where it hurts… but once we put it in that way, leads us to change where we should… Much love to you, my new friend xoxo

  20. These are really good. Another one that I’m working on is being careful not to throw the word “busy” around like a badge of honor. I want to be more available to people.

  21. Jennifer says:

    I get to… I like that. So often I dread things, but perhaps if I word it differently it will be a reminder of the fact some people don’t have homes, or babies, or pets and so forth.

  22. Aimee Imbeau says:

    I’m not a fan of the power of positive thinking movement, either. It is disturbing how popular it has become in Christian circles.

    I particularly like your second point. When we say we don’t have time, we are actually meaning it is not a priority for us. It is important to prioritize our time and duties. However, using accurate terminology is equally important.

    Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth.

  23. Rosanna says:

    Your post reminded me of the scripture Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. I’ve worked hard to change the words I say over myself in the last year. I’ve taken to quoting scripture regularly and saying who God says I am. For years, I called myself “not enough,” “less than,” etc, etc. I would never have said those things over anyone else, but somehow it was okay because I wasn’t hurting anyone. Changing my confession has changed my mindset and life. Thanks for a great post!

    • womenabiding says:

      Amen to that applicable Scripture, Rosanna… It’s true that we often put ourselves down way more than we’d ever put others down. Thank you for sharing your touching testimony. God is clearly at work in your heart, sweet friend! xoxo

  24. Michelle says:

    Thank you! I know I have to change my “what if”s to “even if”s! (Nice to have met you at the Christian Bloggers link up.)

  25. Patty says:

    Yes! This is so encouraging! Thank you for sharing your heart on this topic!

    God bless,

  26. My favorite is “get to.” It is so true and really changes our perspective.

    One thing I hate to hear is, “I deserve this.” No, none of us deserve the good things, and especially not more than someone else. I don’t deserve a vacation, Starbucks, or new clothes. God likes to bless me with extra sometimes, but I didn’t do anything to deserve it.
    End rant. 🙂

    • womenabiding says:

      LOL! Rants are welcome here 🙂 I am 1000% with you on the “I deserve this” thing, Sarah! In fact I’m soooo glad you brought it up… I *do* deserve something – Hell!!!! Anything less is a gracious gift from God’s hand – and certainly nothing I deserve! Great, great, great point! xoxo

  27. Wow! These are great! I might have to print these out and hang them up in my house. I am completely guilty of ALL of these, but I think changing “have to” to “get to” would make a huge difference, and help my children have a better attitude.

  28. K. Scott says:

    Beautifully put and wonderfully convicting! I am chronically a negative person with anxiety and social anxiety disorder, so these “perspective truths” (rather than positive affirmations) are very good.

  29. Laura says:

    Oh my goodness, this is such a great post. These phrases come out of my mouth on a regular basis. Somehow I’m feeling both convicted & inspired at the same time. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Nailed it with a thought-provoking, slightly “ouchy” post. Recently, God opened my eyes to how often I say,” I didn’t have time.” You’re point takes rethinking that phrase to a different level. Linking with you today:)

    • womenabiding says:

      LOL! Didn’t realise it was an “ouchy” post, but not saying it isn’t 🙂 This life can get so busy, and I think many can identify with you saying “I don’t have time.” Changing this phrase can really impact our priority list! Blessings to you, Ginger … xoxo

  31. These are wise words, Tehila. I love them. Who’d have thought such small words could make such a huge difference to how we view our world. Wonderful.

    • womenabiding says:

      Appreciate your encouragement, Rachel! Yes, it’s quite amazing how changing just a few little phrases can impact us so greatly 🙂 God bless you xoxo

  32. Elaine @Military Wife After God says:

    Wow! What a change on perspective! I am sharing this on my FB page. Everyone needs to read this! It could truly be a life changer. Visiting from #FaithFilledFriday

  33. Thank you for this reminder! I also need to stop telling my daughter that she “has” to do her school work!

  34. Sereena says:

    Hi Tehila, What a great article. Such a challenge to think about the words we use, and the reality of what they really mean. Thank you for your blog and your seriousness of living a holy life pleasing to our Lord. Say Hi to the family from us! love Sereena 😃

    • womenabiding says:

      Sereena, so sorry for my slow reply! Your comment encouraged me so greatly, and I read it over and over again 🙂 Hugs, love and blessings to you and Nige! xoxo

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