For 9 years straight, the word “whatever” has been voted the most annoying word in America according to a yearly poll put out by Marist College. 9 years in a row! I’d like to attempt to redeem that word. If you’re familiar with the book of Philippians, you know it’s the “joy” book. The author, the Apostle Paul, uses the word joy 16x and the book is only 4 short chapters. One of the keys to finding joy is finding your “whatever”:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Notice 6x in one verse, Paul encourages you to fight to find your “whatever”. During difficult seasons, “whatever’s” can feel impossible to find. I want to assure you they are there, but you may need to fight to find them. Each season of life, whether good or bad, is never exclusively good or bad. For example, you may be killing it in your career, but your family life is difficult, or your career and family are great, but your health is failing. Every season of life is a combination of both. Fight to find your “whatever” in your season of difficulty and when you find it, focus on it.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the “Focusing illusion”? It was a phrase coined by Psychologist Daniel Kahneman. The big idea is once the brain becomes aware of something new, it will alert your attention to it. For example, my daughter wanted to buy this hideous blue Subaru. I told her not to buy it because the blue was seriously that ugly, and no one would ever buy that car. She bought it and named her “The Blu-baru”. Guess what car I now see everywhere on the highways and byways? You got it, the Blu-baru! Either everyone bought that hideous car all of a sudden, or my mind has been alerted to look for it. That’s the focusing illusion. Focus on your “whatever,” and you will begin to see more and more “whatever’s” all over the place! It literally builds on itself, resulting in…..JOY!
Great insight PA! Yeah that word is so annoying especially when our kids would say it to us LOL! But now that you mentioned about what Paul said, “eureka!” Thank you! What a beautiful verse to meditate on and live out: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” -Philippians 4:8
Really excellent article and scripture PA. Dictionary says “whatever” is
no matter what: Do it, whatever happens.