Good grief

If someone asked me if there was a particular book I found myself returning to and rereading, I would have to answer: The Book of Psalms. Don’t get me wrong…I could say ‘The Bible’ as a whole, but even within the Bible, I am consistently in the Psalms. The Book of Psalms seems to cover every emotion of the human heart: anger, fear, sorrow, joy, peace, praise, questions…whatever situation I find myself in, I can find a Psalm to encourage, comfort or challenge my thoughts.

I am not sure what initially caught my attention to the phrase, but I started to note that “steadfast love” made a common appearance throughout the whole book. I recently restarted the Psalms, this time with the intent of not skipping around, but rather reading through the book in numeral order and making reference to the verses containing the phrase, “steadfast love.” I have just begun and realize that there will be many references by the time I reach Psalm 150. 🙂

Seeing, reading, hearing or writing certain phrases (or words) will cause them to get in your mind, and out of the reoccurrence, a habit of saying the phrases (or words) is most likely to follow. Habits like this are strange. It is not that I planned to get myself in phrase habits…it just happens.

The first time I think I started getting into phrase habits was when my sister started to use the term, “cutsie” in describing things. I started to say it, because I heard her say it. Once I got to college, I stopped saying the word. Then there was the term, “Cool beans.” What that means, I am not quite sure but I am glad I chose that particular phrase instead of “Dude.” For some odd reason, I never found myself sounding realistic when I said, “I know dude.” It would be as if I were quoting Janice from the Muppets, “Oh wow, like for surely.” Both were just not in my personality profile I suppose.

Last summer the word was “genius.” If I agreed with something: “Genius!” If I thought a point was well made in a conversation: “Genius.” If I learned something new or finally understood something that was trying to be communicated: “Genius.” Along the way, with my fascination for English/UK history growing, I then ventured to also stating, “brilliant” after my train of thoughts if “genius” had not already been spoken. Of course, I know where I got my word “brilliant” from: try not to laugh but it is the truth–Yzma, off of Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove. Truth spoken. 🙂 [And if you haven’t seen the movie…you must!]

As of the present, my phrase is “Good grief.” I have no idea where this came from–I don’t even read the cartoon Peanuts either.


The phrase itself is neutral; the context of how I say it is when it differs from a plain mutter to a complete mode of venting my frustration. I don’t apply it to people as I did the word, “genius’, but rather I find this time my phrase habit is associated with my physical state. I run into the wall as I turn the corner: “Good grief” (muttered). I can’t get my bobby pins in my hair or my pants buttoned: “Good grief!” (with tone of frustration and a slight, ‘ugh’ added.) I spill something, drop something or can’t get something open: “Good grief” (sort of in whinny tone). These are just a few…but my reoccurrence of the phrase has me once and for all thinking in my mind: “Good grief…why can’t I stop saying this phrase?”

I have tried. Then I catch myself saying it again and it starts to play like a broken record in my mind. I am not sure how to break myself from this phrase habit. I have before with the others but this time since I am sincerely trying to stop the habit, I find it more continual. So as I read the Psalms yesterday, the thought dawned on me that if I see, read, hear, or write a phrase that a habit of saying it will be more likely to follow.

I may not walk around and say, “steadfast love” after every sentence, but it could very well be a map of a new habitual phrase. In seeking the continual reminder of God’s steadfast love, I hope to find that in the end all of my ‘good griefs’ will fade to where only His goodness remains.

Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

Psalm 33:22 ESV


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times

9 responses to “Good grief

  1. This is a great post. Psalms does have so many repeated phrases, and just learning those and remembering them is like mini prayers throughout the day. Or maybe we could call them God whispers*. Hmm…

    *Totally not my idea. I got it from an author, although I don’t recall which one.

    Or….. Perhaps you could start saying things like, “Dude, her love for pizza is so steadfast!” or “Dude, share the steadfast love.”

    Haha. Just kidding!

    • mel

      *Sounds like something Ann Voskamp would say, but that is just my thought. 🙂

      If I tried a sentence like these, I think I would laugh more than be serious. haha.

  2. Well written Melinda! I love the Psalms…especially Psalm 91.

  3. Sherrie

    Melinda, your words continue to be a source of inspiration, humor and enlightenment to me. I eagerly look forward to each new post. Thank you so much for sharing your journey!

  4. Kim Decker

    You make me smile. Blain’s mom’s phrase of frustration is “Oh corn”. I find myself using it. She dislikes the word crap. We all had been in the habit of saying it without realizing it. Once I told Brandon not to use it in her presence, it seemed that was the word that kept popping out. The more we tried not to say it, the more we did, then the humor of the situation of not being able to stop got the better of us and we lost it. The Emperor’s New Groove is hilarious by the way. Like Kronk. Love that movie. Ever get a song stuck in your head and you can’t stop singing it, but you want to because you’re tired of it, so you try to sing another song and then that one gets stuck? Has happened a lot lately. Oh well, at least I’m singing, right? They say it takes 21 days to become a habit. Guess if we find a pleasant thought to end the sentence with, then the old habits will eventually die off, you suppose? Striving to concentrate on finding God’s goodness is a good start.

    • mel

      I know this response tok a long time coming but while I may not have totally unbroken my habit of saying “Good grief!”, I have often thought before I say it, “Oh corn.” Then I laugh and think of this post. 🙂

  5. Megan

    Aw:) I find myself in the Psalms a lot too…. even after having my normal devotional at night, many times I end with a Psalms. As for the habitual phrases, that’s hilarious you used “good grief” to exempt frustration as to why you can’t stop saying “good grief” – just for the record, I do still say “cutsie” at times. HAHA!!

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