8/29/14 Morning Musing: When Bad Things Happen To Good People

For about the last three weeks, Michaela has been entering into this new time of being emotionally-charged and easily-frustrated. I know that this is only the beginning of what is likely to be a long road…I know because I went through it myself…I struggled for many years through this stage (and I have had periods of re-entering this stage…even recently, as an adult.) I remember the torture (specifically in middle school) and how everything just seemed so big…so amplified! If I was sad, I was devastated. If I was happy, it was deliriously so. If I was angry, then stand aside…because I’m about to destroy your world. I know I wasn’t any fun to be around…but however un-fun I was to be around, it was even more un-fun to be me. I could see all of this…I could recognize it all happening…but I couldn’t control it. I would see it all come unraveled in front of me as though I were mute and paralyzed and incapable of grabbing the ends of the unraveling rope that I desperately needed to hang on to. And while others were walking away with the rope, I couldn’t call out to them…I didn’t have words…and I didn’t understand why my voice was choked out of me. I felt helpless to get myself out of this pit but I was extremely aware of and able to identify those who were “like me”…those who were experiencing it too…and I gravitated toward them because I felt some kinship…some sort of community…because we all were choked out in our deafening silence and paralysis but we could see it…and we could see each other…and there was community in a way because we had the same struggle.

So, why did my talk about Michaela immediately turn into a talk about myself? Well, it’s not because I am just completely self-focused (although, sometimes I am.) It is because I am empathetic to where she is right now. I know her hurt and confusion. I understand her fears and her doubts. I recognize her need to be accepted and affirmed because I have lived it…for years on end I have lived it. Having endured this pain myself, I am called to walk through it with her whether hers goes on for years or merely weeks. See, people ask all the time “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” I think that sometimes, it is because when other people come around us and love us by bearing under our burdens with us, we are able to see God’s love more clearly. I think that in our brokenness, we get a glimpse of how things were supposed to be…and we might not see that if everything was ok. (A way to wrap your brain around it is this: when we were going through the poisoning, I hurt immensely every single day. It was hell for me. But since then, my health has improved a lot and my life has become much more comfortable. Occasionally, however, I have a bad and painful day…and while I don’t enjoy those days, I can not help but see the contrast and recognize how far God has brought me through this. The occasional bad day helps me to recognize and appreciate the good days and the personal and intentional work God has done in me.)

So, why am I leading you around on all of these tangents? Glad you asked. I think that we are called to minister from our experiences. I think that sometimes bad things happen to good people so that they can become even better people…so that they can become more like the God that they worship. I think when we have survived something, we are called to help others to be survivors…to help them reach toward God…to warn them not to allow themselves to be taken over by the darkness of their circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we should pretend to be happy and perfect and as though we aren’t in pain…but we shouldn’t waste the pain because it multiplies. It moves around and infects others and we can help them through it.

So, how are you doing with this? Do you have experience in your past that could speak to someone else’s pain? Have you learned lessons the hard way? Do you know people who are deeply hurting right now? I think you could be an instrument of love in God’s hands for those people. Maybe they need to hear that they aren’t alone or that when bad things happening to them, it does not indicate God’s withdrawal from them. Maybe they need to know that you love them even though they are battered and broken. What person in your life could be silently screaming for help and is not being heard? Do you have experience that allows you to feel what they are feeling? Could you be their community? Could you love them well because in your past, a bad thing happened to a good person?

I am praying today that we will look outside of ourselves and see opportunities to help others in areas where we have struggled. I am praying that we will be instruments of love and healing today. Much love friends,

Beks

P.S. I think this is why I became a middle-school teacher back when I was teaching…it is such an awkward and unsettling time and I have such a heart for people who are experiencing all of that self-doubt, discovery of self and others, and all that while trying to figure out where they fit in the world.

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8/2814 Morning Musing: Like a Girl

This morning, I was loading the puppies and kids into the Mommy-mobile before school and Bock was straggling behind Shiner so he started this really pitiful high-pitched whining. When I got him in the car, I heard the kids talking about how he “whined like a girl.” So, of course, I had to “impart wisdom” to them and dissect why they would say that. (Keep in mind, I’ve been guilty of this before many times….When one of the guys on my volleyball team hits the ball too lightly, I have been one to suggest that next time he “hit it with his purse.”) But I’m getting more sensitive to the fact that women struggle with self-image so much and we aren’t helping it when we use references to females as being weak or bad or undesirable. (You know what I’m talking about here: like a girl, don’t be a p—-, man-up, or grow a pair….that doesn’t mean ovaries!) In all of these examples, being a guy is good and being a gal is bad. I know that I personally struggled with God over this issue for a while until I learned that I was also an image-bearer. I was angry at him for creating me with “fewer opportunities” because he made me female instead of male. So, I immediately saw this as a “teachable moment” with my kids and proceeded to discuss it with them. After my long soliloquy was over, Caleb looked at me and said “I don’t think girls are weak…I only meant that his voice was higher-pitched… kind of like most of the girls I know.” Hmmm…ok….I might have jumped the gun on that one…just a tad…afterall, this is the kid that thinks I can conquer anything because his mommy is “an in-ja!” (translation: ninja.) This is the same kid that wants to be like me and is taking Tae Kwon Do too.

So, as usual, this got me crunching on this topic. Why did I jump to conclusions on that? Why was I so sensitive to it? Why now? I know there have been things going around on the internet about this topic, and if I’m totally honest (which is basically all you can ever expect from me) I never read any of them or watched them or whatever you were supposed to do. (I’m a slow reader and tend to only read the Bible or to be entertained…I’m not wired to learn that way…I have to touch and feel and experience and interact in order to learn something.) So, if that’s not where I got it, where did I get it? Well, Michaela is reaching a tender age where she is just beginning to experience self-doubt, notice how she is different from other kids, question whether or not she is liked, wonder if boys think she is pretty, and is experiencing God-awful hormonal surges that are leaving the entire family un-balanced. (Get used to that one little girl…it’s not settling down anytime soon!) Maybe it’s his age, but Caleb isn’t going through that yet…and I’ve never been male…obviously…so there is a void in my experience as to whether or not he ever will.

So, I think that Michaela’s recent changes combined with my obvious baggage has me jumping at opportunities to correct it for the next generation…or maybe assuming that it needs to be whether or not that is actually true. I think that what I am getting from this is:
1. Soapboxes are really only useful for packaging soap…not so much for interacting with actual humans.
2. My baggage doesn’t need to be imparted on my daughter. Praise God that she doesn’t have the same doubt in his goodness that I had for a while.
3. Everyone (probably) experiences self-doubt and awkwardness. I can not avoid this for my precious girl. What I can do is share my experiences (when appropriate) and be a safe place for her to question and process.
4. Even though it is only elementary school, it is a scary world for our kids to go out into. I need to make sure that I am modeling good self-talk and good pursuit of Biblical truth at home with them so that they can learn how to find truth on their own.
5. I need to spend more time listening to my kids and less time talking “at” them. They are really incredible and if I become half the people they are, I’ll be doing pretty awesome.

So, I don’t know if this musing was actually for any of you or not this time. It might be just for me. But just in case, how are you doing with this? Do you use phrases that demean any groups of people? How do those phrases line up with the gospel? How do those thoughts and phrases affect other people? Do you have soapboxes that you should be stepping down off of? Are their people in your life that you think you should “impart wisdom” to? Are you consequently missing opportunities to learn from them? Did you get something all together different out of this?

Praying you are all able to grow and learn from others today. Much love,

Beks

8/15/14 Morning Musing: Unintentional Kindness is Still Kindness

It hit me like a punch right in the stomach: I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I knew every word she said was true. Let me back up a bit…I briefly had a roommate in college that was not a Christian. I would go so far as to say that she was an antagonist to just about every belief that I held as a Christian. The event that I am referring to is the moment she called me out on my legalism. See, back then, I had lots of head-knowledge about Jesus and the Bible…however, I didn’t have the experience that I think is necessary for that head-knowledge to move into the heart-space. I didn’t truly understand grace because I had never really required it…I was a pretty good kid and didn’t get into much trouble. I kept my nose clean and kept my rebellion contained within certain, carefully-crafted parameters. I drew lines in the sand for what was “going too far” and I made sure not to cross those lines. But within those lines…well, I did anything that I damned-well pleased…so you can imagine the state of my heart and how I treated people…I was one of those Christians that makes people cringe: arrogant, judgmental, hypocritical, and I behaved in a way that reflected my thoughts: “If what I say or do causes you pain, it’s due to your own weakness…you should probably deal with that.” Yeah, I was just…lovely. Anyway, the moment that I am talking about is when my roommate, whom I held in a place of disdain and to whom I am sure I had condescended to, called me out on my bulls#!*. She did it to my face and only to me…there was no crowd assembled to watch my ego take this hit…she was to the point and did not exaggerate…and she was dead on. I wanted to debate her back into “her place” and I couldn’t because every single word she said was true and hit the mark. I haven’t seen her since that night but I have often thought about her over the years since then because she caused my life to take a completely different path…and I owe her gratitude for that.

There are several things that I learned from this girl; I’ll call her Mindy. First, Mindy spoke directly to me about the issue she had with me. She didn’t go behind my back and get a committee assembled to talk to me in a “safe group.” She spoke directly to the offender in her life…unfortunately, it was me. Secondly, Mindy did not exaggerate her points in order to make her side “more right.” I see this a lot when people fight/argue…we exaggerate things in order to show a larger difference between us and the enemy. Mindy didn’t do that…she kept her emotion out of her statement and stuck to only the facts. (I have since tried to emulate this when I have a disagreement with someone…if you don’t exaggerate or “amplify” what happened, then you are able to maintain your legitimacy when disagreements occur…exaggerating can cause you to be disregarded as easily as straight-out lying.) Finally, she didn’t compromise who she was…she simply stated who I claimed to be and how it conflicted with who I was being…and those two people were not compatible…in fact, they were in stark contrast.

I have often thought about that moment: my breath caught in my lungs and…for once, I had no quick-witted and harsh response. I could feel my face getting hot and I knew that I was turning red. I felt my fists clench at my sides and I could hear my rapid heartbeat in my own ears. My throat closed up. I could not have said something even if a retort had come to mind. It was as if she had held a mirror up directly to my face and I had to stare at the person that I truly was…and I did not like what I saw…what I saw was ugly…what I saw was the person that I was showing others…what I saw was a nasty mis-representation of “Christian”…and it reflected very poorly on the Jesus that I claimed to follow. That day, this girl who did not love Jesus, was a better representation of him than the girl who claimed to love him and be changed by him. “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭18‬:‭15‬ NIV) Mindy did this…and it changed me…and I owe her a debt of gratitude for it.

My point? Glad you asked. I think that we often over-estimate our place in the world and under-estimate people from whom we can learn. Mindy was the last person in the world that I thought would help set me on a path to grow closer to God…but all these years later, I am still thankful to her for doing just that. I am grateful that she held an unbiased mirror to my face and made me take a look at the nasty reality of my life. I am grateful that she still took the time and energy required to invest in me in a way that I didn’t deserve…even if she wasn’t doing it for my good…even if she was just trying to knock the wind out of my over-inflated sails…good came from it. God can redeem absolutely anything and anyone for good and he did that night. I will forever be thankful to Mindy for allowing herself to be a tool in the hands of God that day.

So, how are you doing with this? Have you ever had someone hold a mirror up to you for you to get an honest and clear look at who you are? Did you like what you saw? Is there someone in your life that you need to learn from but your pride is in the way? Is there someone that you are called to hold the mirror for (maybe in a more gentle way than I described here so that relationships can still be salvaged?) What can you be doing to build into those around you? How can we better be tools of refinement for each other? What quality about you has God laid on your heart as an area for you to work on?

I’m praying for us to get honest looks at ourselves today…not so that we can become self-obsessed and ego-centric…not so that we can be falsely humble or self-deprecating…but so that we can be a better example of Christ and his love for the broken all around us…and sometimes, the broken is the person staring at me in the mirror. Much love friends,

Beks

8/14/14 Morning Musing: Emotional Chameleon

At our old house (the one where the poisoning happened) we had a neighbor that was a very toxic person to me. I’m sure she is a good person…somewhere…deep down…really DEEP down…but for me, she was completely toxic. See, she was a person who was extremely cynical and thought that everyone was out to get her all the time…she saw the worst in everyone…and she would share those thoughts with me. At first, I was ok with it because I thought she was just getting something off her chest. But, over time, I realized that she thought this way about everyone and everything.

One day, Stan called to let me know he was heading home from work and I was excited and ready to start my evening with this wonderful man. While he was on his way home, this neighbor came over and unloaded a lot of her baggage on me. By the time Stan got home, I was angry and bitter and ugly…so ugly. This had happened more than once with this woman and Stan and I talked it through and came to the conclusion that spending time with her was just not a healthy option for me…not that I wanted to…but it was time to acknowledge that she drained me.

Stan and I have joked for many years about this tendency of mine to reflect what is around me. He jokingly said that I was “dead inside” because I don’t seem to reflect my own feelings as much as those around me. I decided to term it “emotional chameleon.” I take on what I feel around me. If you are sad, I become sad. If you are angry, watch out because I’m getting angry with you. If you are happy, I’m doing the happy dance! This also makes me a sympathetic cryer…when I care about someone who is crying, I have to look away or I will join them…which sucks because I’m a super-ugly cryer…I’m talking red-faced, snotty, puffy, can’t breathe…ugly! (Nobody wants to see that!) Anyway, I’ve learned how to connect with people fairly well because I find myself feeling their feelings. On the positive side, I am a good friend and a strong support for those I love. On the negative side, it can completely wipe me out over time if I don’t have people who are content and healthy in my life.

Because of all of this, I have found that I gravitate toward people who are like Stan: laid-back, content, fun, intelligent, and hot! (Oh wait…that last one is just for Stan. ha!) I like to be an encouragement to people so I tend to spend time with others who are encouragers or investors. Now hear me: I am not saying that people in my life have to pretend to be happy when they are not. That is not at all what I am saying. But there are personality types that I would describe as “Chicken Little” because the “sky is always always falling.” And those people drain me quickly.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I think it is because we all have people in our lives who make us better versions of ourselves. People who enhance the beauty that God put in us when he hand-crafted us. I also think we have people in our lives who detract from the truth that is in us…people who muddy the waters a bit and confuse our story. See, I think that we are each here to tell a story…I think all of our stories are meant to glorify our God…and there are people who are not meant to remain in our story long-term because they confuse the tale…they change the mission…they dilute the potency of our message. This doesn’t make them bad people, this just means that they are not meant to be in this particular chapter of our lives. The problem that I find is that sometimes I feel guilt over acknowledging that not everyone is meant to be a permanent fixture in my life. It feels unaccepting and lacking compassion to me…sometimes, I have to sit down and reason through it like I am doing with this musing this morning.

My message? Well, I suppose that it’s that it is ok to not accept every single person in the world into your life at a bone-deep level. It is ok to keep unsafe people at a safe distance. It is not ok to be bitter and angry with them…but, I think we should allow people in as far as is healthy for us and for them. So, how are you doing with this? Are you allowing unhealthy relationships to change your story? Do you have toxic people in your life that need to be placed more at the periphery instead of in a central role? Are you a toxic person that needs to spend some time studying what your true story is so that you can be a giver of truth and life? How can you speak truth and life into others? Are you using your gifts to enhance the lives of others? Do you have people in your life whose gifts you can see clearly but they can’t? Are you helping them to see those gifts so that they can better tell their story?

I am praying today that we will all be on mission…that we will all be story-tellers…that we will help those around us become better versions of themselves…and that we will reflect a true version of our God instead of the muddied pictures that we sometimes become. Much love friends,

Beks

Image taken from: http://cyruspavel.tumblr.com/post/20587491811/the-emotional-chameleon

8/12/14 Morning Musing: We are Velcro

This morning, I woke up heart-broken as I remembered the tragic news about Robin Williams. This news hit so close to home for me on many levels. This post is not going to be a memorial to the genius we knew as Robin Williams…instead, I would like to just shine some light on a few things. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭5‬:‭13‬ NIV)

Depression is not what most people think it is and it doesn’t always look the same for different people…it does not mean that you walk around visibly sad all the time. During my most depressed moments, I have been the life of the party. I felt alone. I felt unloved. I believed that people only wanted me around to fulfill a function for them. But, I smiled and faked a confidence that could have won an academy award for the performance I put on. I thought that being fun and funny would make people love me more and I desperately wanted people to love me more. I wanted to matter. I even served more…it was not all self-focused sadness…I felt disconnected and mission-less. Depression, for me, was not a woe-is-me time as much as it was a desperation to matter and feel loved. I could not pray my way out of it and, if I had let anyone know, they couldn’t have reasoned me out of it. I was chemically imbalanced and could not control what was happening inside me. It was not weakness or a pity party. These were truths in my head…and while the rest of the world may not have perceived them to be true, they were true to me…and that is what carries the most weight to a person…what they believe to be true…not necessarily what is actually true.

Suicide is also not what many people think it is. During the poisoning aftermath, this was something I considered. I used to be ashamed to admit it but I did…I thought about it. I saw myself financially draining the family with no end in sight…I thought they’d be better off without me. Lots of people experience these kinds of thoughts…yes, even Christians. The thing that I can not stress enough is how important it is to share what you are feeling with someone safe. Once I verbalized it, I felt accountable to not follow through with it. I had someone checking in on me and helping me to get into a safer head-space. I had someone speak real truth to me…God’s honest truth…not perception…not feelings…not stuff that was hormonally subjective…but things that I held to be true that were in direct conflict with what I was experiencing. This helped me to slowly turn back to a safer path. I hear people talk about how selfish suicide is…I can agree to a point…but in many cases, people think that they are being selfless.

Lastly, I think that people are velcro. Now bear with me…have you ever looked at velcro up close? On one side you have the rough little hooks while on the other side you have the soft fuzzy stuff. One hook by itself is not strong enough to hold anything together…but when you combine the strength of many hooks together, it can hold your entire body weight up! So it is with people. We were not designed for the stresses and tragedy of this world…we were designed for Eden…a far cry from where we are now, I’d say. But, we are not left alone to deal with the stresses and tragedies on our own. People. People are a tremendous gift from God. Like one hook of velcro, I can not carry the burdens that I must carry…but when you put a bunch of hooks together…amazing things can happen and the weight of the burden can be dispersed until it doesn’t weigh nearly as much. Do you see how the impossible becomes possible when we band together and carry our burdens to the cross alongside each other and for each other? That is where hope gets renewed.

So how are you doing with all of this? Have you experienced depression? Do you love someone who is depressed? What is your approach? Are you trying to reason your way through something that is not reasonable? Are you sharing what you’re thinking and feeling with someone safe? How can you break the silence for yourself or someone else today?

Today I am praying for us all to hear truth loudly and clearly and lovingly. I am praying for hope and intercession on behalf of anyone who needs it. Much love friends,

Beks

P.S. PLEASE HEAR THIS: I love you. God loves you. You are valuable and you matter. Please, always consider giving it one more day. And talk to someone. Statistically, about 150-200 of my FB friends see themselves as not having a single close friend that they can talk to. If that is the case, please consider me your friend and let’s talk. There are better ways to handle whatever you are going through.

8/11/14 Morning Musing: The Walking Wounded (Warning…this one is a difficult one.)

He spoke to her with such harshness and coldness. This woman…this woman he promised to always love and cherish. I was sitting there in shocked silence…what the…but…huh? The way he spoke to her…he exhibited no respect for her and he was doing it in front us. I looked around the table and nobody had shock on their face…why didn’t they…I was on the verge of tears on her behalf. Then the most shocking thing of all: “Fine.” She said and walked out of the room calmly and did what she was planning to do anyway. She seemed completely unscathed by his approach to her. And that is when it hit me…she hears this so often that his meanness no longer devastates her…and my heart broke for her even more. If Stan spoke to me in the manner that this man spoke to his wife…well, after he got discharged from the hospital, we would be discussing at length how he arrived at the conclusion that he could treat another child of God with such disdain. (I joke…I would never physically assault someone I love and Stan…well…it’s not in his character to disrespect any person…much less me.) But this woman…this woman was so accustomed to receiving disrespect in her own home by the one who promised to honor her and love her…she no longer felt the sting of the verbal slap…she had become numb to it. I continued to watch her throughout the day and was affirmed in my conclusion of her numbness. It was tragic.

Why am I telling you about this? Well, I believe that we are extremely adaptive beings. We can become accustomed to many many different circumstances. The adaptation period can be rough but we all eventually get used to our circumstances by developing some numbness: People who live in war-torn areas become less sensitive to violence, people who watch pornography become desensitized to the appeal of actual relationships, children who are touched inappropriately become (over time) desensitized to touch…even good touch and frequently pursue inappropriate relationships, people who work in lines of work that encounter a lot of tragedy begin to be desensitized to humanity…they can become cynical, and women who are mistreated by their husbands become desensitized by the harshness. Granted, this is not a hard-and-fast rule…but it is a distinct trend that has shown itself time and time again.

I believe that numbness is a way that we protect ourselves. It keeps us from having to reconcile the horror that we are encountering with our beliefs…it allows us to maintain our faith in humanity a little bit…while simultaneously sacrificing a bit of our own humanity. It’s tragic really…a complex range of emotions is part of what makes us image-bearers of the Almighty…we have this range of emotions because our God also has this range of emotions. He wants us to feel. When we violate ourselves and each other and the victim of that violation develops some numbness, that person is sacrificing some of their own humanity for the illusion of humanity in others…and since people are image bearers of God, they begin to lose some of their understanding of God.

What is my point? Well, it wasn’t to make you depressed. (Sorry if I have done that.) I want you to think about how you are doing with this. The point is to take stock of our lives and evaluate if we have any numbness and where/when that numbness originated. Numbness seems good because it isn’t pain…but we learn through pain…pain is feeling and still interacting with your environment…numbness is shutting yourself off to your environment and pretending it doesn’t exist…but that doesn’t change the environment. The only way I have found to handle this is to acknowledge that what happened was wrong…that it grieves God…that he wanted something better for me…and that the other person is probably numb to something as well. Acknowledging this allows me to extend grace to the other person because they are wounded as well. (That does not mean sticking around for abuse…but it does mean acknowledging that God deeply loves them and he wants good for them too.) The truth is, we are all the walking wounded and our wounds and numbness, if not addressed, can quickly become sources of wounding others around us. So while numbness can seem preferable to pain…it really continues the cycle of mistreatment.

So, how are you doing with this? Do you have an area of your life where you experience numbness? Do you have something that you refuse to think about, talk about, pray about? Do the people around you have similar areas of numbness? Could you be causing each other pain and consequently numbness? Know that it grieves God deeply when we do this because it not only hurts his child, it also puts a rift between him and his child whom he loves. He wants us to know him deeply and truthfully.

I am praying today that we will all take an honest look at ourselves despite how scary and painful that might seem…that we will consider what God’s best is for us and how we might pursue that…that if we are in abusive situations, that we will say “no more” if we are at all able to do so…that we will love each other well and give each other a glimpse of the way God intended for things to be. I am praying that we will learn to accurately show God to each other. Much love friends,

Beks

Picture taken from: http://shentherapy.webs.com/traumaandrecovery

8/10/14 Morning Musing: This is Not a Hill on Which I Choose to Die

“This is not a hill on which I choose to die.” I have heard my mother utter these words so many times during my life. My mom is a rather quiet and tiny woman…yeah…I’m shocked that I came from her sometimes as I could not be more her opposite: she is brunette, short, quiet, introverted, and I’ve never seen her run. I’m blonde, tall-ish, loud, extremely extroverted, and I crave physical activity all the time. I mis-interpreted her quietness and introvertedness for weakness for a long time. In fact, as my role-model for marriage, I believed that I could not marry because I could not be like her…during that time, I missed out on what I could have been learning from her because I was blinded by my own pride of what a “strong woman” looked like…it looked like me of course…loud and ready to fight with my voice for sure and with my fists if necessary.

Before the poisoning, my personality was quite a bit different than it is now. I was extreme in almost everything I did. I thought that if you landed in the middle on something (like my mother) then you had no opinion…that if you were moderate in anything, that you were wasting your options. I was a rather polarizing individual and it made people have to choose between loving me or hating me…which suited me fine at the time because then, I at least knew where I stood with everyone. (Refer back to my entry about being a habanero pepper before.) Now, I find myself avoiding the extremes (for the most part) and gravitating toward the middle…pursuing unity and love instead of “my ideals.” To be honest, this has been an unsettling transition for me because it means that I am going back and removing my foot from my mouth on many of my former stances…things that I espoused adamantly before, I am finding that I cringe at the thought of now…but I am developing a taste for shoe-leather since I am finding my foot in my mouth so often.

What I have come to love about the phrase my mom uses (This is not a hill on which I choose to die) is this: First, she chooses. She is not ushered onto a side through emotion and she is not manipulated into a stance she doesn’t believe in. She makes her choices and uses logic to arrive at them. She is not a hot-head that flies off the handle half-cocked and ends up eating crow (or in my case shoe leather) later. Secondly, this phrase does not indicate neutrality in everything…it indicates that there are hills on which she will plant her flag and stand her ground. The fighter in me loves this…there are times where we must fight against injustice and oppression…to do otherwise is to side with the oppressor (paraphrase from Desmond Tutu.) Lastly, this phrase indicates that some things are not only worth standing up for, they are worth dying for. This hits especially close to my heart right now with the tragedies going on in Gana, Nigeria, Iraq, Isreal, and Syria. Doing what is right is worth dying for. Being right is not.

The point of my rant this morning is that I think many of us (myself included) are getting sucked into pointless side-taking and are blinded to the areas that count. Instead of fighting about democrat or republican, red or blue, conservative or liberal…we should be fighting on behalf of humanity and justice. We should be guided by our logic and morality instead of getting into choosing sides against people because of our preferences. Make no mistake…there is a difference. We should absolutely be outraged by injustice. We should not be outraged by difference. “Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need for one another.” –Desmond Tutu.

So, how are you doing with this? How often do you feel outraged about something? Is that something more often a difference in opinions or are you outraged over injustice? If you aren’t ever outraged, is there something that you are called to believe in but are shying away from? Are you choosing what your stance is or do you find yourself getting emotionally manipulated into your stance by culture? Is there a hill on which you would choose to die? If so, what are you doing to at least approach that hill? The hill will never be won if we don’t find our mission of taking it.

I am praying that we will all find our mission in life. That we will pursue life, love, and justice. That we will quit fighting amongst ourselves over unimportant things and quit allowing ourselves to be divided over the very differences that would make us stronger and better-equipped as a people. Much love friends.

Beks