Impeccable : free from fault or blame: FLAWLESS
For some reason, I like the way “impeccable” sounds and feels when it rolls off of my tongue. In my mind, it’s just a strong word, not only in the way that it’s pronounced, but in what it means.
Want some other meanings for impeccable?
You don’t really hear impeccable used that often, because the word sets such a lofty standard of excellence. For instance, you might say that a child has impeccable manners, or that a woman’s use of the English language is impeccable, or that a man is an impeccable dresser, but does that mean that any or all of them are truly impeccable? Hardly.
I have to tell you that while I don’t believe that perfection is attainable, that the thought of it doesn’t keep me up at night, and that I don’t have a problem with not being impeccable, there is one area of my life in which I try to be impeccable and always seem to fall short, but that doesn’t keep me from trying because it’ll make me a better person. Whew!
The first agreement.
A couple of years ago my friend Britta suggested that I read The Four Agreements, a book written by Don Miguel Ruiz, a shamanistic teacher and healer. While I may not agree with all of Mr. Ruiz’s beliefs, I certainly agree with the four agreements that he lays out in his very short but impactful book.
The second, third, and fourth agreements are, in order, to avoid taking things personally, to refrain from making assumptions, and to give your best in everything that you do. I’m proud and grateful to say that with God’s help, I’ve made great strides in each of these areas. Now I’m not saying that I’ve mastered them, but I can honestly say that they’re no longer major hurdles in my life.
It’s Don Miguel’s first agreement that has proven to be my biggest challenge. I’ve put a lot of thought into why this particular agreement has given me fits, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are actually two reasons for it:
· The first agreement is a broad stroke of the brush; that is to say, it touches so many my areas of my life, including my relationship with God, with others, and with me.
· The first agreement deals with the spoken word.
The first agreement is to be impeccable with your word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip against others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
To be impeccacle with my word. To be faultless, unblemished, absolute, and irreproachable. To be flawless.
I guess the first thing that comes to mind would be always telling the truth, and quite honestly, I don’t have a problem with being truthful. I’m probably one of the most transparent people that you’ll ever meet, and that transparency has ruffled a few feathers in the last couple of years. I just can’t bring myself to lie to someone, regardless of the consequences of being absolutely truthful.
From where I’m standin’, being impeccable with my word is, using Southern slang, “a whole lot more” than just telling the truth. In fact, being impeccable with my word is so far-reaching that I’m not exactly sure where to begin…
I used to make promises to God. Come to think of it, I think that saying that I used to try to make deals with God would be a bit more accurate. I’d promise to go to church every week if He would answer a certain prayer. (He did. I didn’t.) I promised to live a certain way or give up a bad habit if He would make something happen. (He did. I didn’t.) I promised that I would turn my life around if He’d get me out of a certain financial situation that I was in years ago. (He did. I didn’t.)
Looking back on it now, I realize that while God was faithful in answering my prayers, I wasn’t very good at living up to my promises; not very good at all. I was anything but impeccable with my word to God.
And today? I don’t make promises to God anymore. I make commitments to Him; to offer each day to Him, to make each day count, to take advantage of every opportunity that He gives me to reach out to someone, and to be the ultimate Christian. (Still haven’t quite figured out exactly what that looks like, but I don’t have to.) I make these commitments with no strings attached. Oh, I still offer prayers to Him every day, for myself and for others, but they’re completely independent of my commitments to Him. If and when He answers my prayers has nothing to do with my walk with Him.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when we come into this world we don’t know words of condemnation, prejudice, hate, or degradation. We don’t know curse words. We don’t know any negative words at all. From the day that we’re born, words, both positive and negative, are funneled into our minds. For some reason or another, it’s the negative ones that seem to have the most impact.
We listen to the negative words of other people that are directed towards us. We listen to the negative words of other people that are directed towards other people. We read them in books, watch them being spoken in movies and on television, and hear them in some of our music choices. We file these words away in our memory banks, and then we haul them out when we need them.
What’s my definition of being impeccable with my word to others? It means that I’m always truthful. It means that I can’t gossip, slander, ridicule, or belittle someone. It means being a man of my word, following through with what I say that I’m going to do. It means speaking life and encouragement into others, and never planting seeds of doubt in them with my words. It means not lashing out in anger. It means always lifting others up, and never tearing them down. It means that there’s no room for prejudice, envy, hatred, or condemnation in my words. It means that I take the time to measure all of my words that I have for others before they leave my mouth; all of them.
I’ve come to the conclusion that for the majority of my life, or at least until four or five years ago, I’ve been my own worst enemy. You see, I took many of those negative words to form thoughts that I used against myself. I put limitations on myself. I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough, or worthy enough, or smart enough, or talented enough, or lucky enough, or whatever enough. I assured myself that I wasn’t going to be successful at doing something before I even took the first step.
Amazing… Using my own words and thoughts, I planted seeds of defeat in my mind for everything that I did. Everything. Looking back now, it’s a wonder that I accomplished anything.
That was then. This is now.
What does being impeccable with my word for me look like to me today?
No words of condemnation. No words of unworthiness. No beating myself up with my words. No giving up on the goals that I set for myself. Proclaiming myself to be a righteous man, and living up to it. No cursing. (Not only because it’s offensive to God and to others, but because it offends me.) No words of limitations; no more focusing on what I can’t do, but on what I can do….
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV
I wear an iCAN bracelet on my wrist each day to serve as a reminder of Paul’s words to us. I recite the verse out loud, because I want my ears to hear my proclamation that I can do all things through Christ.
So, all things considered, am I impeccable with my word?
No I’m not. But I’m working on it.