You are More than Just a Sponge

One day recently, I had back-to-back brief conversations with two people who both used the word “just” in describing themselves. It made me pay more attention to how often people use the word, and I started keeping up with it. Over the last four or five days, I’ve heard:

I’m just a student.

I’m just a mom.

I’m just a programmer.

I’m just a go-fer.

I’m just a beginner (guitar).

I’m just a dabbler (art).

No one is just one thing. We have many roles. I’m a minister, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a blogger, a writer and a slew of others things I may or may not choose to claim on any given day.

“Just” is a word that lessens us.  When we are “just” something, we downplay our value, our gifts and our possibilities.  It begins to ingrain in our own hearts and minds that we are limited in our ability to affect change (in our own lives and in our communities).  We start to believe that we are less than enough.

When others use it to describe us, they are attempting to keep us from being or doing more than they want us to be or do.  Do not listen to them.

It must irk God to give us these wonderful gifts and talents and opportunities to just have us shrug them off as not very impressive or important at all.

You are wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139:14).

You are created in God’s own image (Genesis 1:17).

You are a valuable part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:17).

You are the temple in which the Spirit dwells (1 Corinthians 6:19)

You are not “just” anything.

I have this kind of odd playlist of songs that I go to when I need to snap out of unhealthy thoughts, bad attitudes or a general malaise. When I fall into the I-am-just mode, this is my song.  It’s from an surprisingly inspiring musical based on the cartoon Spongebob Square Pants. It’s going to be up to SpongeBob to save his town, but to do it, he’s going to have to own that he is more and can do more than he or anyone else believes.

So jettison “just” from your vocabulary except for the times when you are running late or slightly overwhelmed and you need “just a minute.”  You are so much more than just a simple sponge.

Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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