5 Phrases to Remove from Your Vocabulary

5 Phrases to Remove from Your Vocabulary

 5 Phrases to Remove from Your Vocabulary

by Steve Backlund

There are some obvious things we should never say, like “Are you pregnant or have you just put on weight?” Oops, definitely not smart to say that. We need to be careful to speak in a way that does not hurt other people and there are some key common phrases to consider before communicating them. Proverbs says, “death and life are in the power of the tongue,” (Proverbs 18:21). There are two clear results that come from what we say. The greater result is that we can create and increase life all around through intentionally speaking encouragement, thanks, God’s promises, blessing, and prophetic words; but we can also decrease the abundant life we have been given by speaking foolishly and carelessly (Ephesians 4:29). To illustrate the second result, consider how Zechariah was muted for nine months in Luke 1 because he could not be trusted to speak around what God was doing. 

And even more important to consider in this discussion is Matthew 12:34, which says “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” This verse tells us that our words reflect our deepest beliefs. Changing our words without changing our beliefs won’t bring lasting change, but when we become students of our own words, we can begin noting our faulty beliefs and change what our heart is meditating on so we speak life instead of death. With that in mind, here are five phrases I recommend removing from your vocabulary:

  1. “I can’t” – It has been said that those who say they can, and those who say they can’t, are both right. It was true in Numbers 13 when the twelve spies broke into two groups of people that fulfilled this saying. Parents intuitively know that it is not a good thing when their children regularly say, “I can’t do that.” Paul obliterates the “I can’t” belief with his radical confession and promise for us in Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  2. “We can’t afford that” – Parents often find themselves speaking these words to their children. Unless we want to create a lack mentality in our family, it is better to say something like, “We’re not going to buy that because we are saving our money for more important things.” If our children continue to ask us for things, it would be a great time to start a discussion about saving and budgeting money. 
  3. “You always do that” – Anytime we use absolute statements like “you never” or “you always,” we are decreasing the likelihood of being heard and resolving a conflict. As we learn to use “I feel” statements, we will lower others’ defensiveness in communication, for instance, “I feel sad (or scared) when you do that.” Also, we can improve relationships by learning to ask good questions. “Can you help me understand what you were thinking and feeling when you did that?” 
  4. “My back is killing me” – This represents any extremely negative phrases. When we say things like “This is driving me crazy,” it reveals that we don’t really believe our words are very powerful, and that is a real problem. 
  5. “I’m not sure if it is true, but I heard this about her” – None of us probably admit to being a gossip. Most of us say, “It’s others who do it, not me,” but if we are not careful, we can find ourselves saying things about others that we would not want to be said about ourselves. When it comes to saying something potentially negative about another person, it is always a good idea to say too little (unless you are talking to someone who is clearly part of the solution in a situation).

If you want more on this subject, Steve’s book You’re Crazy If You Don’t Talk to Yourself speaks further about these truths.

About You’re Crazy If You DOn’t Talk to Yourself

Life is is in the power of the tongue.

(Proverbs 18:21)

Jesus did not just THINK His way out of the wilderness and neither can we. HE SPOKE TRUTH to invisible beings and to the mind-sets that sought to restrict and defeat Him. This book will help you do the same.

You’re Crazy If You Don’t Talk to Yourself is a book that will reveal:

  • The incredible power of words
  • How to overcome word curses
  • The necessity of talking to our soul
  • How words set the course of our life
  • How the “hearing of faith” is the key to the miraculous
  • The priority of speaking TO things, not just ABOUT things
  • We all can and must prophesy to others


Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

For more, check out Steve’s iTunes podcastYouTube ChannelFacebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.