better – noun | \ˈbe-tər\
: higher in quality
: more skillful
: more attractive, appealing, effective, useful, etc.
“You know what would make this better?”
It’s a question I ask all the time. When I am eating a meal I just cooked, I can almost always think of a spice I didn’t add or a sauce I could have substituted. When my husband, Steve, and I are at a restaurant or store or other business establishment and the service isn’t great, we often have several suggestions (which we keep to ourselves) for how things could be better. And as a writer, well “better” just comes with the territory. There’s always a way to rearrange, remove, or replace words or paragraphs to improve what I have written.
“Better” is just, well, better.
On Sunday, our youth director, Grant Merrill, started a new sermon series called, “Better …. Because Normal Isn’t Working.” He talked about all the things in life that are just normal now: being busy, feeling stressed out, pursuing wealth, chasing after glamour. “We spend our lives planning perfect moments to the point that we miss all the better moments arounds us,” Grant said. We do this in our faith, too, he added, and suddenly “self-centered, consumeristic, and me-driven” faith is just normal.
But what if God is calling us to something better? “Would you say ‘yes’?” Grant asked.
Of course, the moment I saw the giant letters on the cover of the church bulletin I knew what my word would be this week: B-E-T-T-E-R. Because who doesn’t want something better than what she already has? But here’s the question I wrote in my journal Sunday after the sermon: “Is better always bigger and louder? Or can better be simpler and quiet?” Because in my mind, the other part of normal that isn’t working very well for me is all the noise, all the pressure to become more _____.
This week, I am in the middle of some hard decisions that might mean less money, less praise, less opportunity for me personally and professionally. These decisions might be unpopular with others and create awkwardness at times. But these same decisions might mean a quieter life, a smaller existence, and the chance to explore and grow and dream in other ways. To receive something better.
Of course the choice between “better” and “normal” isn’t always so obvious. And what’s better may not even be an option at times. I’ve experienced that truth, too. Just last night over stir fry, in fact. You know what would have made it better? Soy sauce.
I just forgot to get it out of the fridge until it was too late.
What’s YOUR word of the week? Drop it into the comments section, or share it on this week’s Facebook post. If you post about your word on your blog, please slip the link into a comment below so I can stop by and join you.