I call it NIMBY, Mom,” said my adult son over the phone a few years ago. It was an acronym he used with employees to clarify his stance on boundaries in the workplace.

“NIMBY? I asked.

“Not In My Back Yard,” he explained.

“Oh, well, that goes way back with you,” I teased.

My son Gary was the cutest little guy. When they weren’t riding bikes, he and his friends spent hours playing in our backyard. It became a basketball court, baseball diamond, or the occasional Wild West town.

Gary’s acronym, NIMBY, reminded me of a day long ago when the usual backyard boy-noise had been disrupted by my son’s loud, angry voice. As mom-on-guard, I moved closer to the door to see what was happening. Gary and his friend James, with arms tightly crossed, feet set, and jaws clenched, faced three other boys in similar posture. It was a double-dare stare down.

“Not in my backyard!” Gary yelled.

“Oh yeah?” one yelled back.

“Yeah!” said James.

“Yeah!” said Gary. “Don’t misuse the name of the Lord God. Not in my backyard!”

“We’re leaving!” The other three boys stomped off.

We meet with unavoidable challenges during cancer. We experience many variables within those challenges. We simply don’t have to allow untrue or invalid concerns to move in with us.

When I ask forgiveness from God and accept His forgiveness for anything, or if I am accused, blamed, or shamed by others or in my own mind, will I allow that which He has forgiven to come back in my heart to haunt, badger, or torture me? NIMBY.

During the years before my cancer diagnosis, did I do everything possible to keep myself healthy, active, and positive? Did I honor and worship God with all my heart, soul, and mind all the time? No, I didn’t.

After I ask God’s forgiveness, will I entertain false and invalid regret, guilt, depression, bitterness, resentment, or despair? NIMBY.

We can refuse thoughts, actions, or words that try to creep into our space, our own backyard, which might hurt or harm our peace with God. These creepers are the negative experiences, the insults, the hurtful judgments, and the lack of our own or others’ understanding. They are thoughts that try to threaten or insult our relationship with God, and therefore our spiritual well-being.

They might sound like this:

  • It’s my fault. I’m ruined.
  • I’m worthless. No one cares.
  • I’ll never be normal. I won’t have a life.
  • I’ve lost all my dignity.
  • I’ve been robbed.
  • Why did this happen? Why doesn’t God do something?
  • Doesn’t He love me? Doesn’t He care?

We can repel these attacks because God is bigger than cancer, treatments, procedures, and medicines. He is bigger than the pain, scary stories, dire warnings, troubled days, or the mind-body connection. He is bigger than all of our wrong decisions, choices, lifestyles, mistakes, failings, sins, and shortcomings. He is bigger than our sorrow, anger, self-pity, chaotic thoughts, feelings, and imaginings.

NIMBY helps us guard these priceless treasures:

  • our identity and dignity in Him
  • our devotion, our heart for Him
  • our focus on Him
  • our peace with Him
  • our worship of His nature and worth
  • our gratitude for His willingness to occupy the core of our being.

Like my son, Gary, we can choose what we allow to stay in the backyard of our heart, mind, and soul. We also can choose what must leave. The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, wrote Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Say it with me: NIMBY.

* * *

Your Turn

Join the conversation by adding your comment.

What won’t you allow in your backyard?

It's Cancer

by Venita McCart

Amazon Price: 5.95

amazon   buy_now_LPCbooks

VenitaMcCartVenita McCart, founder of Faith Force Cancer Support Ministries –, has connected with hundreds of patients since 2005 through group meetings, personal contacts, writing, and speaking. She develops support groups and materials to comfort and encourage cancer patients and their families. She may be reached at


About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions ( and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.