I confess, I have a few pet peeves. I don’t like when drivers cut you off and then drive slowly. But an even bigger pet peeve is the overuse of the word “just.” If you listen closely, you’ll hear it frequently in conversations.
It’s a filler word, like “um” and “uh,” but worse. But it doesn’t show up only in everyday conversations. It also comes out when praying to God. Just recently a woman was praying over me. “God we just want to come before you and just ask for your grace. If you God would just hear us and answer our prayer. We just want…”
I confess, after the first five “justs” I started to count. After 20, I lost count. I couldn’t even focus on what she was praying for.
Isn’t our God the God of more than enough (2 Corinthians 9:8)? So why then do we use and abuse the word “just,” especially when talking to God?
The word “just” implies:
- Settling. We may say that our God is a big God but we bring our puny requests before Him and settle for less than His best. Why would we pray, “God just help me make it through the day,” when He has already told us that we are more than conquerors?
- Asking for less than we truly want. You may think that using the word “just” is being respectful or reverent but if I were God (and thank God I’m not, we’d all be in trouble), I would be insulted. We are told to come boldly before His throne (Hebrew 4:16). There’s no need to soften your requests with people or with God.
- A lack of confidence. Many people who lack confidence will use the word “just” just about everywhere: “I’m just checking in to see if you mailed out my check.” “I’m just a mom.” “I guess I’ll just pray.” John 5:14 tells us: “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.” We don’t have to be timid and uncertain when approaching God.
- Justification. Often times we use the word “just” as a justification for our own actions. “I’m just trying to understand you.” “I just want to love you.” When you use the word as a justification, it keeps you trapped in your inappropriate and possibly dysfunctional way of relating. The benefit to eliminating the word “just” is a more clear, confident form of communication with people and with God.
Next time you are in prayer with your Heavenly Father, remember that He is the God of the impossible (Luke 18:27) and He can do exceedingly, abundantly above what we could ask, hope or think according His power that works in us (Ephesians3:20). There’s no “just” about it.