I don’t like the word “just”.
Don’t get me wrong, “just” is a fine word, especially when used in a triple-word space in Scrabble. It has all sorts of good uses and meanings…even used to fill time when we are thinking, along with the other great words and phrases of our culture, such as “like”, ”um”, “I mean” and ”you know.”
I simply do not like the word “just” when it is used to place limits on or minimize something we are doing. It might be unintentional, but many of us use the word to lower the bar:
“I just want to go to church and sit quietly and enjoy the service.”
“I just want to go to work and have no one bother me.”
“I just want to attend that meeting without someone asking me to speak up.”
“I just want to retire.”
Can you imagine someone stating, ”I just want to be a missionary”? Devoting your entire life, both present and future to God’s will and work, giving up everything you planned in your life for the service of God’s kingdom seems a bit larger than “just” another path in life.
Now imagine someone who “just wants to be a writer.” It sounds like a person who aspires to write ad copy for Craigslist.
Purpose, passion, energy and total commitment are what it takes to be good at anything.
Many years ago, I decided to never “just” do anything (except for mundane things like getting dressed, washing dishes, taking out the garbage and mowing the lawn of course). My wife will often precede something she is about to say that contains the dreaded word with an apologetic disclaimer. I might have gone too far with this entire thing, but it is too late to turn back now. (Dedicated to the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose)
Many years ago, as a way to remember to not “just” do anything, I wrote myself a note and pinned it up next to my desk. Here it is:
I Love Mondays
- They are the beginning of an opportunity to do something significant. It might the start of the best week of my life.
- Do important stuff.
- When confusion reigns, remember what is important.
- Harness creativity, intuition and wisdom to beat back ambiguity and randomness.
- Have fun.
- Do it all for the glory of God.
Who in their right mind would actually look forward to Mondays? (and not “just” because Steve Laube’s blog post is on Monday)
Zig Ziglar said, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”
So, don’t “just” write…write with everything in you, but first, maybe write yourself a note.
What drives you?