3 Phrases to Avoid in 2020

34216A6B-6783-4E18-80CA-CD26532ABF66New year. New mindset.

So often we get bogged down by “stinking thinking.” Here are three phrases to avoid in the new year and three mindset shifts to adopt, drawn from the book of Philippians.


1. Words to avoid: “I should have.”

These are words of regret. None of us can go back in time and redo things. Hindsight is 20/20. We can beat up ourselves over the past. We can ruminate and obsess, and it does no good.

Better to let it go, trust in Christ’s forgiveness, and move forward into a new year. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. But it’s worth every effort to reach the point of embracing God’s gift of grace in Christ.

God’s Word for you: “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Leave the past in the past. Take Christ’s grace with you into today and each day ahead.


2. Words to avoid: “I can’t.” 

I was listening to an interview with a four-time Crossfit champion. One of his comments was that the key to his success is believing that he can. He said others may have greater physical gifts but he has a stronger willingness to push through pain and achieve his goals. He talked about how his baseball coach growing up sought to develop mental toughness in his players and how that mental toughness has translated into Crossfit competitions and other areas of life.

Through Christ, we can have the mental toughness that comes from spiritual toughness.

God’s Word for you: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

This passage teaches that in times of plenty and want, Christ’s strength will sustain us. “I can’t”? Maybe. But He can. God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)


3. Words to avoid: “If only.” 

If only I had more money.

If only I had a better upbringing.

If only I didn’t get all the bad breaks in life.

“If only” is idolatry. It’s overestimating what you don’t have, setting it on a pedestal, and discounting what God in His perfect wisdom has given to you.

God’s Word for you: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

God will meet your needs. He will resource you with what is required to fulfill His vision for your life, a vision the revolves around His purpose for you in Christ.

Happy 2020! God bless you this new year!

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Published by Christopher Kennedy

Senior Pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, School, and Child Care in San Antonio, Texas. Husband to my beloved Ashley. Dad to the four most wonderful children in the world.

3 thoughts on “3 Phrases to Avoid in 2020

  1. Good morning,

    I was just checking with you because I stopped getting these emails. Are you still doing them? Or is something wrong with me receiving them? Just thought I would check.

    Thanks, Shannon Diamond-Lopez

    Sent from my iPhone



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