Oh, the things we say.

Christians say a lot of interesting things that non-believers (or newer believers) often feel confused by. Years ago, I remember hearing about something called Christianese (words, verses, and phrases used in Christian culture that sometimes come across shallow, trite, vague, or dismissive). I was surprised at first but curious. So I read people’s thoughts on social media and wondered what I might be missing. Sometimes their point was well-made, which caused me to laugh or feel sad.

It was clear Christianese caused confusion (best case) or harm (worst case).

Then I realized how often I used similar phrases in my writing.

Did that need to change? If so, why? How? What was important here?

I value staying true to my beliefs and not diminishing the passion I feel for honoring God, so I wondered if there was some way I might change things up so what I say helps me to connect better to others who aren’t sure about God, or struggle to to maintain faith in God.

Turns out, by reviewing the Christian phrases I frequently spoke or wrote, I learned I needed to improve clarity in my communication. To do so, I would also need to connect more deeply to my inner world of experiences.

How could I describe what it’s like to received the goodness of God (something I say often) without identifying how I experience his goodness (something I still need to work on conveying.)

Over time, I realized that not only were some of the things I was saying unclear, they sometimes came from a desire to please instead of a soul at ease.

I wasn’t comfortable enough being wholly me. All I knew was to say the things that seemed right and good. At the same time, a deep passion for simple faith kept surfacing because I feel deep love and connection with God.

Could there be more? Could I be missing out on more of what God had for me, and what I could experience with others?

While I started noticing my patterns in writing, I also experienced numerous events where someone used Christian phrases, verses, and concepts to invalidate my reality, deny my need for emotional processing, and press for (demand/expect) actions that aligned with what they expected of me. I assumed I had to respond.

Oh, the things we say.

Christian Phrases Keep You Stuck, Hidden, and Hurting

 

I started noticing Christian phrases that lacked feelings of genuineness. Then I noticed how several phrases and scriptures were used as a form of denial, because they quickly dismissed the reality of pain. Either theirs or someone else’s.

Spiritually sounding Christian phrases became a way to make people think or feel that they’re being good, rather than a path to experiencing God’s goodness.

The first phrase that started feeling off to me was “Fear is a Liar.”

Deep breaths.

I realize some people find this phrase helpful. Even so, I see it used often in unhealthy ways. Even though I wrote about it publicly a couple times, it took years before I’d really tackle the topic online. Writing thoughtfully is important to me, and it took awhile to get past my fears of other people’s opinions on this phrase before I could allow my thoughts to surface.

Finally, I decided to write about fear not being a liar, and several other thoughts related to Christian phrases and verses. These are my thoughts about how words get distorted because of the meaning we apply.

Some words sound good, but keep us from experiencing good things (like healing, deeper connections in relationship with others, healthy emotional processing, relief from anxiety and depression, etc.). Even so, the same words may help another person because of the meaning they associate with the Christian phrase.

When I post a video or longer content on social media related to these Christian phrases, I try to include how they may be helpful for some people and problematic for many.

Christian Phrases (verses and saying) covered on YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook

You can find Instagram posts with the hashtag #OhTheThingsWeSay and on my profile @thejoleneu.

Coming Soon…

  • I’m Sorry You Feel That Way
  • All Things Work for Good
  • Don’t Judge Me
  • God is All You Need
  • Chapter & Verse
  • more to come

How These Christian Phrases Keep Us From Healing, Growing, and Living Free

In each video, I attempt to start with identifying ways a Christian phrase (verse or saying) can be helpful for some people. Certainly, my thoughts aren’t exhaustive, but I hope they’ll provide a place for understanding why and how some people say things that are helpful for them.

The bulk of the video (and posts on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn) talks about ways these phrase keep us stuck (by denying reality for example), hidden (by projecting a false self versus the real one), and hurting (by refusing the processing of pain).

When we don’t have healthy outlets for processing painful challenges in life, we miss out on healing, growing, and living free.

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