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-I never eat onions.
-I always exercise in the morning.
-I never travel outside of the United States.
-I always spend Friday nights at home.
-I never eat meat.
-I always have meat with every meal.
While none of these things are wrong in and of themselves, I have noticed something about these two little words: they lock us into a lifestyle that is without new experiences and adventures! While sometimes it is imperative that we use always and never, such as in parenting (you are never allowed to talk to me with disrespect), our Christian walk with God (I always want to please God), or in our marriages (I will always love you), there are many other areas where these words are used kind of in a default mode. Let's talk about some of those areas.
First, in the area of food. I grew up thinking that I did not like many things - spicy dishes, Italian dishes, sloppy joes, onions, tomatoes, just to name a few. But as I got older I realized that perhaps these tastes were childish perceptions that were no longer true and started trying things I thought I had always hated. Sure, I still do not like everything on that list, but I like most of what's on that list because, instead of using the word "never", I tried each one of them. And actually, I keep trying them on occasion, because you never know! Let's not lock ourselves into boring food choices because we "never" are willing to try something new and "always" eat the same thing.
Second, in the area of travel and activities. Many are the options we are not willing to try for vacations and days away. We "always" go to the beach or the mountains. We "always" go to this restaurant on Friday nights. Traditions are awesome and we have a few of our own, but, once in awhile, it is fun to try something different! If you always go to an Italian restaurant on Friday nights, why not try Mexican this week? If you always go to the beach for vacation, why not try a different beach? Or do something totally different and go the lake or the city? Many of us are so incredibly blessed with options and choices, why not take advantage of them? We also tend to lock ourselves into particular exercise routines. I "never" run. I "always" go to the gym. Again, these statements aren't wrong, but sometimes there is great gain to be made in mixing up our exercise routine a bit...to try something new. Dance classes, biking, kayaking and hiking are all good options to mix it up a bit.
And, most importantly, we need to be very careful of our use of these words in our relationships. Let's not use sentences like, "you know I 'always' get angry when you do that!" or "I always take out the trash" or "you always spend too much money". And then there are the "never" statements: "I will never travel there with you" or "you never gave me the love I needed" or "I will never forgive you". Negative and accusatory statements like these are never healthy for relationships.
We need to be so very careful when using the words "Always" and "Never". We need to make sure if we are using them they are being used correctly. Is the statement I am making true? And if it is true, should it be true?
Let's live wisely by being careful with our use of these two words. Have a great weekend, everyone! :)