Monday, January 10, 2011

Words Are Supposed To Have Meaning

This is probably one of those things you're supposed to keep to yourself rather than share. Yea, I guess being politically correct has never really been my strong suit.

When somebody says, "I'll keep you in my prayers" or "I'll be praying for you" or verbalizes any other form of the word, it absolutely makes my skin crawl.

Humor me & follow along ...

Think back through your life & try to remember some catch phrases that became sickeningly over used. For me some popular ones I remember are:

"Chaa ... as if."
"Thats what she said."

You catch my drift. These are things that were funny the first 3 or 4 times you heard them but they eventually became words that caused you to roll your eyes.

That's how I feel when most people throw out a prayer line. (Not the part about it being funny --- but the part about, "I'll pray for you" being a little on the eye-roll inducing side.)

I feel strongly about this & blame Facebook for mostly.

Everytime someone posts a status reporting that they've recently suffered a hang nail, some "friend" of theirs will be sure to comment about how they'll be praying for a speedy recovery. People are weird. All too often the internet gives them this pseudo-courage to post things they wouldn't actually say in real life --- to create a persona that has nothing to do with who they really are. It's probably not that big of a deal --- it's just a pet peeve of mine.

I'm just as guilty of this.

A few days ago I saw a post about a couple who had lost their child. I felt compelled to respond & when I did I used a "prayer line". I've thought about my response several times since I posted it & I am still fighting the urge to delete it. You see, the truth is, I never would have said those words in person. Yes, of course, the situation is tragic & heartbreaking in ways I will (God willing) never understand --- but, to post a Godly message on a public forum like the one I posted just simply isn't in my character. I should have written a more personal note. Or better yet, called.

For me prayer is deeply personal. It's my conversation with God about everything I think, feel, & question. It's the place I share my strongest desires and ambitions. It's a way for me to channel my faith & sometimes my lack there of. It's what I use to keep my balance. It's a lot of things, but mostly --- it's mine. It isn't something I speak about with anyone other than Josh & even that is limited. I feel a little naked-in-the-spotlight-ish even writting about it here.

I'm not modest. I can have a full conversation with someone while peeing on the toilet. (or squating in the woods for that matter)  I can walk buck naked through my living room without flinching if there's someone there I wasn't expecting. I have no problem talking about things that most people get embarrased to think about.

But prayer is mine.

Which is why when I see people posting all over the internet that they'll be praying for eachother, I tend to roll my eyes. I feel like it ranks up there with, "LOL". C'mon, you're not REALLY laughing out loud.

And for those of you who ARE genuinely laughing out loud, I apologize. This message excludes you.

Because, thank Heaven, there ARE a handful of people out there that I believe when they type "LOL". And, more importantly, they are the same people who I believe when they talk about prayer, God, and walking in His way.

It's really not my place to decide who "to  believe", I suppose. Afterall, I don't know the intentions of everyone out there. But, what can I say - I'm a sinner like everyone else, and this is a topic I'm a little judgmental on. Truth is, I hope I'm wrong.  I hope everytime someone tip-tap-types those words out that they actually go hoome that night and pray themselves to sleep for the person who needs it. Lord knows there is no such thing as too much prayer. Somehow, though, I don't think that happens.

I just feel like words are supposed to have meaning. And if you abuse a word --- if you take it's meaning for granted --- it stops meaning anything at all.

I will continue to use prayer in my daily life, as a means to help others, and as a tool to find guidance. But the next time you're in a situation where the "normal" thing for people to say to you is, "I'll keep you in my prayers" --- know I won't be saying it. I'm probably doing it, but the only words you're going to hear from me are, "I love you. And I'm here if you need me."  And also know ... I mean that.



  1. Nice post, Nicole.. I also believe it's an overused term, word, whatever.. And I only use it when I mean it; thing is, it means different things to different people, just as their religion does. One time when I was on O2, sitting outside, laughing with a girlfriend, a woman walked up to me, with sad eyes, and said, "May I pray for you?" I was so offended at the time. Couldn't she see that I was 'ok' and having a great time with my friend?? But, what I realize is that people say this just as much for themselves as they do for the ones they're saying it for... And I've come to realize, that's ok too. Everyone's just trying to figure this life out and the truth is any response is a good one.. even if it's posted on FB a thousand times.. cuz I know the person on the receiving end will know when it's genuine and when it's self fulling.

    I know where you're coming from though :)

  2. Excellent point, Sara! That was probably the perspective I was needing yesterday. :) I swear, as this pregnancy progresses more & more starts to irritate me. It's bizarre. I'm going to re-visit this post in 6 months and see how I feel about the subject! Ha!