December 31


BUT is a Big Fat Three Letter Word

By BarbaraEllinFox

2018, but, excuses, Self-speak, voices

Time is suspended between Christmas and the New Year. It’s intended for dreaming, reorganization, evaluation.  Since it’s part of the holiday season, pressure is off, most deadlines are met—until January 1 when it begins again. New, but…

Shirley E. Gould’s interesting ACFW blog What Hindered You? got my mind on a roll.

Paul wrote about the race. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 he talks about winning the perishable wreath and only one runner winning the prize. In His generous love God has made certain the best prize is within the reach of everyone in a race we can all finish.

Shirley’s point was Galatians 5:7 “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?”

When you look back at 2017 do you see failure? Perhaps you didn’t lose the weight you planned. Maybe you didn’t meet your writing goals, or even you riding goals. Maybe you lost your way on most of the goals you laid out at the beginning of 2017. Are you loath to make new plans, set yourself up for new failure?

But think about this…

What voice are you listening to?

I’m pleased with the things I achieved in 2017. The Lord blessed my writing with contest finals, a contest win, a finished manuscript… I’ve spent time with author friends. Had a terrific research trip to Kentucky with my daughter. Learned how to write a book proposal. And He blessed my time with the horses. Plus going into 2018 I am walking closer to the Lord and understanding better what He wants me to do.

I also understand that the worst voice for me to listen to is negative self-speak- those things I say to myself that cause my own discouragement. Early in 2017 the Lord told me to word everything I say without limits. I have spent a year discovering the many ways I speak and limit myself.

Anyone who knows me from teaching riding or from my Riding Instructor blog knows that I’m a no excuses, take no prisoners kind of person. I figure if you want to do something you put the effort forth and you do it. If you’re an unfit rider—start working out off the horse. Get fit.  If you’re an author who wants better book sales, market. Don’t know how? Get online and learn. Want to improve your writing? Enter contests. If you want an agent, learn how to write a book proposal and then send it out. Everyone’s time is limited and valuable. When there are not enough hours to ride your horse or write your book the time has come figure out what you are willing to sacrifice to achieve your goal, and do it.

We self-speak ourselves into limitation and if we listen to self-speak long enough we’ll follow it’s trail to discouragement and loss. And having spent this time buffeting my mind bringing my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, persevering, and running the good race, I have identified one three letter word that will sneak in and trip us up with negative self-speak quickly and without warning.


I want to spend more time riding, but…

Someday I’ll finish my manuscript, but…

My goal is to find an agent, but…

I want to move up in jumpers, but…

I’d come to my next riding lesson, but…

I want to sell more books, but…

For writers BUT is a weasel word and the fewer times it’s used the better. That applies when we’re not writing, too. So, yes, it applies to all of us.

BUT is a big fat three letter word that gives us permission for excuses in everything we do.

I’m not going to argue with anyone the value of this three letter word because BUT is surely versatile.

Does BUT hinder you?

Here’s to the absolute most fabulous best blessing for 2018!

Barbara Ellin Fox

P.S. I’m so excited about 2018. Are you? What are some of your plans for the New Year?

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