I got this little succulent at the start of all the chaos this year. Isn’t it just the cutest? I had no idea what it would become, what it was supposed to look like, or even how to take care of it.
When the weather started to change in the spring and it became warm enough to put the little guy outside I did. What happened next surprised me. That cute little plant took over. It grew and grew until I had to remove it from the pot it was in. Tiny new plants grew on it’s leaves and one good gust of wind sent them everywhere. I suddenly found myself pulling these tiny babies out of all my other plants.
I have since done some research. This succulent is nicknamed “The Mother of Many Daughters” & “The Mother of Thousands”. How cool is that? From a tiny adorable little plant to one that can’t be stopped and certainly one that makes an impression on anyone who gets close to it.
Every single time I bump the table it sits on, every time even a wisp of the wind blows, every time I look at that plant- it sends its tiny little ones on a journey to find new soil and new life grows. I have even found this plant growing in places it shouldn’t be able to.
I believe that’s what God sees in each of us.
He looks at us and he sees this minuscule person (my words not God’s) who has no idea what the right soil and a little “son” time will do. He sees how our lives can effect everything and everyone around us even when we are not consious of it. We may bump into people by chance, the wind may blow us to and fro and what we see as life’s crazy journey, God may be using to move us right where we are needed.
Today, trust that though you may feel tiny and insignificant, God can make you like this plant. Strong and mighty, powerful and effective, full of life that changes everything around you even when you aren’t aware of it.
Times have been crazy, the storms have been extreme and the soil may seem pretty rocky, but remember who is raising you up. Remember who loves you more than you can imagine. Remember Jesus today and what He did for you on that old rugged cross then remember that he didn’t stop there. He rose to raise you up too. He gave his life so you could thrive in yours. No matter what you are facing today, no matter what Covid has stolen, or what the political climate brings, remember who is walking you through it all. You can live today, you can grow, you can change, and you can make a difference.
Maybe, just maybe, you were created for such a time as this.
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” (Margaret Thatcher) Isn’t that the truth? How many times have I decided that I was going to conquer the mountain before me only to be beat down by the first peak?
This is my year for…
I’m going to take that big leap into…
To be honest I think my internal GPS is on a permanent script of “recalculating”.
As I was sitting here today thinking about it all I realized that I have never accomplished any goal the way I thought I would.
I have taken backroads, off ramps, and shortcuts that always seemed to lead me the long way around.
I have taken the successes and failures of others to heart and compared my own life to theirs.
Through it all I have learned a few things and they’ve stuck with me:
No battle worth fighting is easy and in my experience once it is won (whatever the battle may be- health and nutrition, weight loss, addiction…)
We have to continue the fight to keep it in the winners bracket.
The minute I let my guard down is the minute I begin to slip back into my old ways. Now I don’t mean that the battle is always difficult, but it is always before me. Things I have thought I conquered years ago suddenly rear their ugly heads and I find myself having to make a conscious effort to put them back in their place.
I used to think that I was a failure because of those times. Now I realize that it’s just part of the process.
Do you want to win for good?
Then quit beating yourself up when you have to fight a battle over and over. It’s the battle that makes us strong, it gives us the ability to persevere, and ultimately be changed.
I love gold, but until you heat it up it contains all kinds of impurities. It’s the heat that allows those impurities to be removed and the beauty of the gold can then shine through.
You and I- we are like gold being refined. The fire that we hate, the battle that is long and tiresome- all of it is bringing us to a place where we can look back and see the beauty in it all.
The beauty in ourselves.
The kind of beauty that is so much deeper than what the mirror portrays.
We may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.
We may have to fight for months or years, but in the end I’ve never regretted the fight. I’ve always been glad I took on the challenge. Win or lose each and every battle has brought something out of me that I didn’t know existed. I’ve learned, I’ve grown, I’ve lost and I’ve won, and looking back I’m glad for all of it.
I’m not excited for the battle today (are we ever really?) but I am ready to fight. There is so much more to be accomplished than just a single goal and I am surrendering the battle before me to God. With him all things are possible and I know that I don’t have to fight alone. It’s a win win. I make progress and he changes me. So, here I am welcoming so many battles I really don’t want to fight and I’m completely confident that it will be worth it.
How about joining me today? Pick your battle, lace up your gloves and let’s fight together. Gold takes time to be perfectly refined and so do you and I and ya know what? Both are beautifully worth it.
Last year I put a sign on my fridge at work that says- “Do something that scares you every day”. I needed the reminder to get out of the box I’d created for myself, to reach for new stars, and try new things.
The old saying that “if you want something new you have to stop doing something old” is such a solid truth. If we want something to change in our lives we have to change something in our lives.
It’s a simple concept that both my body and mind fight tooth and nail.
I love staying right inside the box. I like my warm house, my comfort food and my baggy jeans. I’m a fan of surrounding myself with people who build me up and tell me that I’m perfect just the way I am. I need those people in my life. They are like a soft blanket that makes me feel safe and secure.
But what if I surround myself with another layer of people too? What if I begin to surround myself with people who challenge me? Who don’t let me stay in the box or on the couch? My daughter -in -law is one of these people. She is all the kindness of the soft blanket but often manages to kick me in the fanny just when I need it. (She can remind me that this is a good thing someday) She will often ask- have you written “this” yet? Have you started that challenging project yet?
To be honest, I need the push. If given to my own devices I might choose the couch over the project. I might choose comfort over the uncertainty of a new goal.
My son and daughter -in -law are not afraid to take on a challenge. They are what I call “get out of the boat” kind of people. Where I often want to tiptoe in until the water feels nice, they jump straight out of the boat into the turbulence and they swim. Do they hit every goal the way they thought they would? Do they have to make changes and re-directions often? The answer to both is yes. BUT the point is they live their lives outside of their comfort zones and their lives tell a story that challenges me to rewrite mine.
I am a believer that we should never stop learning, never stop putting ourselves out there- even and especially if we are unsure of ourselves. I recently told my son Zach that when we go through hard times in our lives we should pray that God changes us the way he knows we need it. I told him that we never really change or grow when things are easy and good. I gave him the unsolicited advice that he should embrace the tough times and just trust the process.
I felt like mom of the year when I sent the message- until God pressed upon my own heart that I need to do this as well. Giving that advice was great, but am I living it?
So as this next decade begins my goal is to do just that. It’s time I turn up the heat, launch the boat, and dip my feet into the water. (notice that I did not say jump right in… I am still a work in progress here.)(I am thinking “outside the box” though so that’s good right?) I hope and pray that by the end of the decade I will have jumped right into that ocean of possibilities- but for now I’ve decided to just step out of my little box and look for new opportunities and challenges. I’m uncomfortable, I don’t like the uncertainty one bit, but there is something inside that is loving this.
I’m fully planning to surround myself with more people who will kick my fanny just when I need it and I can’t wait to write to you all in the next 10 years and see who God has made me to be at the end of it.Want to get out of the boat with me? Come on in the water is- freezing and scary and crazy and I don’t know exactly what it means… but this is going to be a ton of fun.
Isn’t this a great picture? Don’t we look like we are having a blast and just loving our time together? Well we are…sorta, BUT- there is a very different reality behind this picture. So right now I want to give you a behind the scenes tour of what was really going on here.
First of all, my husband woke up with a fever and felt horrible all day. Originally, our plans were to have a great dinner together and play games late into the evening. Our oldest son and his wife would spend the night and we’d have the whole family here with us. I looked so forward to this time together. It was our middle son’s last night with us and I was ready to cherish every last second.
Instead, my husband ended up sleeping all day, only got up for dinner, and we didn’t let him touch anything. While he slept I frantically cleaned and disinfected everything he has ever even looked at in this house. We debated on having dinner together but decided that since it was Zach’s last night we’d go ahead with that part. Ryan got up long enough to eat, take a quick happy family selfie while not breathing on or touching anyone and then head back to the recliner. No games were played, no overnight stays from our older kids and Ryan was in bed by 9.
We were all disappointed but this is life and we roll with it right?
The next morning I got up and decided that I’d have coffee ready, put some bacon on, and spend some time with Jesus. I was determined to have a good attitude regardless of the disappointments of the night before and the dread of our son leaving tonight.
I may have gotten a little distracted while reading and praying this morning. Doesn’t this bacon look delicious? I literally had to scrape it from the pan, who knew bacon could stick so well?
I want to tell you that I sat and had a great cup of coffee while my family slept but I made the coffee and around here that says it all.
I can tell you this though- I enjoyed that coffee and I laughed at that bacon. 2020 may not have started the way I planned, but it’s still just as sweet. Last night my younger 2 sons and I talked for a very long time. We talked about everything, good, bad, funny, you name it. Then I went to bed exhausted and sad for this time coming to an end but so very grateful for every minute.
I wonder if things had gone as planned would we have had the time to talk?
I need to remind myself that there is good in the regrouping. There is hope in the burned bacon and the change of plans. Sometimes the silver lining is hard to find, but if we look close enough it is still there.
Guys, I’m not sure what 2020 is going to bring, I’m praying hard for a little less crazy and a whole lot more peace. I’m praying that the pictures I post on social media will be a little more transparent and a lot less perfect in appearance.
Whatever comes our way, whatever this year has to bring I want you all to know that I love you, I’m so thankful to have you all with me on this journey through life and I will be praying for you too- every step of the way.
If you read my blog about my son leaving for boot camp then you know this mommas heart has held so many emotions this month that it is about to burst. Stress is a major enemy in any healthy lifestyle change and although I’m glad to say that we stuck with our healthy eating plan, I struggled big time.
Food has always been a huge comfort for me, it’s my go to
when I have something awesome to celebrate. It’s my companion when I’ve had a
rough day and my constant friend when I’m alone.
Watching my son prepare for this new season of his life was
amazing, he was ready for it, I was not. I wanted to use food in all the ways I
always had. Celebrate this new season, comfort my aching heart, remove the pain
of loneliness, ease the reality of letting go. Without my usual go to treats, I
was at a bit of a loss. Breaking old habits is hard, creating new ones in the
midst of raw emotions… even harder.
I know this new season will be incredible. I’m always amazed
at how God works it all out, but there is pain in the process and I was wanting
some sugar to ease it all. To top it off my husband was away at a conference
and had no choice but to eat out for most of a week and the way our schedule
worked we ended up eating out for 3 days after he got home. It’s a wonder we
didn’t gain all the weight back.
But we didn’t.
He ended up only gaining a pound and I didn’t get on the scale. Ignorance is not bliss but I have to be honest here. With all the emotions I was dealing with, I didn’t think I could handle the scale at this moment so I made the decision to take a breath and stay off of it. I decided that instead I would celebrate the fact that we had both stuck to our plan completely. Food cooked at restaurants may not have the same healthy standards that we have at home, so no matter how hard we try weeks like this will come and I knew that I needed to make a decision to be proud of our progress and move forward.
So how did I deal with the stress? I’ve compiled 5 things that helped me through.
1. I took a lot of hot baths.
I spent hours in that tub and when I say hot bath I mean
that if I step out of the bath and I can’t see a difference in the parts that
were in the water and the parts that were not- we have a problem. (Yes, I do
know that scalding hot baths may not be the health choice of the season, but I
like it that way and it was better than eating a whole cheesecake which was
I needed those baths. This was a time for me to turn all the lights off, light some candles, (I especially love those fake battery operated ones that look real) and turn on some great worship music. As I lay there, praying, worshiping, and sometimes crying, I found some peace. I laced my bath with Epson salts and essential oils, set a nice glass of wine on the side of the tub and soaked until I wrinkled. Those sweet peaceful aromas and that relaxing atmosphere did not take the stress away completely, but it did give me a much-needed reprieve.
2. A great book is a perfect getaway.
I love to read, but I don’t take the time for it anymore. So
this month I did. I had a couple books that were recommended to me by a ladies
book club at my church and I decided to dive in. These books were in the
Christian self-help genre and what I found was exactly what I needed. I found
encouragement, laughter, tears, and motivation. They were not diet books, they
were books for life that held so many nuggets of truth that I had to make more
mental notes that I can hold. Currently I’m re-reading one of those books. If I
can fill my mind with the good things, then there won’t be room for the bad
3. Prayer works.
I know that I already mentioned prayer in the bath part of
this blog, but this topic needs a section all its own. Prayer gives hope, help
and a way to let go of stress. I have always been a praying woman. Lately
though, I’ve been distracted in prayer and realized it was time to really
refocus. I started writing in my prayer journal again, and I began to truly get
alone with God. I need Him always but life gets in the way more than I want to
admit. The bible says to give God our cares because he cares for us. How can I
give anything to God if I’m not praying. Each time I’d pray- there would be
peace. Like most of you, once I was done praying, the peace would fade. Life
has a way of doing that to us, so I prayed often and held on tight.
4. Understanding that Good Stress is still stress.
My son leaving was what I would consider good stress. This
was his dream, something he fought for, something he had overcome many obstacles
to accomplish. I was and am very proud of him and extremely excited for him,
but I quickly realized that no matter how “good” this was, I couldn’t control
the anxiety it caused. What would my new life look like without him in the day
to day? What was my purpose now that
most of my kids were raised and gone?
Who am I without them? These are
not bad questions, but they are stressful ones. I needed to get to a place
where asking them didn’t cut like a knife and seem like an ending to a season I
adored. Instead I needed to ask them honestly and prayerfully and find a way to
see this new season as the beginning of an amazing new chapter.
5. I need something to look forward too.
I need something to be excited about. It doesn’t have to be expensive or outlandish, it just has to be on the calendar. Something I can shoot for, mark off the days for. My husband and I have “date nights” a couple times a month where we literally just go out to dinner and then get groceries. I know your jealous, (LOL) but hear me out. Just knowing that I have a night away, a night where we will have a quiet dinner, a time to talk, and a reset on our weeks- this gets me through the tough days. In a few weeks we have a whole night away planned and I’m super excited about that as well. It’s amazing how 1 night away can reset a weary soul. What about you? What works for you? What doesn’t? Throughout this journey I’m realizing more and more how unique we all are and how incredibly cool that is. My husband handles stress very differently than I do, instead of a hot bath he sinks deeply into his recliner and gets his mind on a computer game or watches a movie. If life gets overwhelming for him, that’s where you’ll find him. He has been there a lot lately. Letting go is hard. Adjusting to new seasons filled with uncertainty and change- even harder. So we learn to lean into God, we manage our emotions to the best of our ability and we keep moving forward. One step today equals two tomorrow and after a while we look back and we realize how far we’ve come.
Recently my husband and I decided to embark on a healthy weight loss journey. Honestly, neither of us was very excited to begin this journey, but we both agreed that it needed to be done. And not for vanity sake either, we both hadn’t felt well in a very long time and we knew that our diet was contributing to the problem. (Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure, this decision may have had an element of vanity attached.)
In the past I have often called my husband my own personal “diet killer”. We would start a diet in the morning, and he would bake brownies, buy cookies, and take me out for a special ice cream that night. He has a gift.
This time though we decided to change our eating habits a bit differently. We looked at what was making us feel bad physically and we eliminated those things. Here are some tips that made our first month successful.
Every week my husband and I sit down and we find meals that fit our new plan. We have decided that for us counting calories and worrying about proportions just won’t work. Since we are trying to make a permanent change, we needed something that we could do anywhere easily. We would plan healthy meals that consisted of mostly meat and veggies. In a nutshell, we decided to give up bread, pasta, and sugar. This plan isn’t for everyone, we prayed about what would be best for us and decided that this was something that we could maintain long term. My husband eliminated oatmeal from his diet as well. When he eats oatmeal his sugar spikes, I on the other hand have no trouble with it what so ever and so I eat it sparingly, usually when he isn’t around.
We set some short and long-term goals all while allowing us some rewards and fun in the process. For example- on Valentine’s day a friend invited us to come along for a date night at a local venue. For one fee, we could enjoy an appetizer of cheese fondue, a meal of steak, chicken and veggies, along with chocolate fondue for dessert. In between enjoying the food, the men would create flower arrangements for us, while we got to put together a nice bottle of massage oil for them. Oooo laa laa. Together my husband and I decided that since this special date night was about a month and a half into our new lifestyle we would plan for this to be a night of reward. IF, we stuck to our new plan we would allow ourselves to celebrate. We decided not to call it a cheat night. I hate that word and it isn’t cheating, it’s celebrating how well we had done. We also decided that IF we failed to stick to the plan, we would cancel the night. Listen, for us we needed both the incentive and the consequence.
What we didn’t do was put a weekly weight loss amount on our plan. If we were hungry, we chose foods like fruit, veggies, nuts, anything on the plan would work.
My husband does not view the scale like I do. To him the number on the scale is just that. A number. For me the number sometimes means that I have failed, that I have not made good choices and that I am ugly. Like I said earlier, full disclosure. This leads me to the next tip.
Change our (my) thoughts:
I needed success to be measured by each day doing something healthy for my body. I needed to change my thoughts, change my heart and start telling myself each day that I was who God said I was and not be defined by the scale. I needed to re-see those numbers and realize that they may be an indication that I need to make some healthier choices, but they are not any indication of my worth. To do this I knew that I needed to study God’s word in this area. I needed to see what He had to say about me so that I could unravel years of wrong thinking. It’s unbelievable how much we grow up learning to agree with the world instead of God. So, I found scriptures about my worth, my beauty, and how much I am loved. The world says I need to fit a standard to have value, God says I have more value than the world can count.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again- progress over perfection is where I’m at. I am making progress in this area, but there is so much more work to be done. I easily slip back into my old habits and thoughts. I recently did some research on how long it takes to break a habit and create a new one. What I found was very revealing. The facts showed that it takes anywhere from 21 days to a year to truly create a new habit. Not so shocking is that the number of days it took was very personal. Each of us is an individual and our bodies and minds are individual too.
Month 1 results: (Yes, I did say that I have issues with the scale- I didn’t say I wouldn’t be getting on it. Although I need to see the big picture in all this, I do need to visit this little piece from time to time.)
I’m very happy to report that the best result is this- We both feel so much better. We have more energy and have found that we are really enjoying our new meals. We look for recipes that appeal to us and have added some new favorites to our menu.
Moreover, yes, we have both lost weight. I have lost 8 pounds, my husband 9. Our jeans are already fitting better and to be completely honest I haven’t felt like it’s a diet. Instead, I find myself excited to see what’s next. We have had some days that were hard and we will talk about those in the upcoming weeks, but all in all this process has been a really, really, positive one.
I had goals, I had expectations for life, and I had a plan. A really good plan by the way, and as long as everything went as planned then life would be perfect. Right?
Oh how wrong I was.
Nobody told me that no matter how hard you try, how meticulous you are with the details, life can still snatch that perfectly laid plan and disrupt the whole thing.
Disruptions were not part of my plan.
When I graduated High School (just a few very short years ago…) I planned to go to college, after college I would get married, and after 2 years of marriage I would have a baby. Now, I wasn’t actually dating anyone at the time but that was not the point. This plan was good and if I followed it to the letter I would be a successful, happy adult.
Oh how good life is with a carefully laid plan. (Insert sigh of relief here)
Then partway through my freshman year of college I ran into a guy I knew from High School. This was not just any guy, this was “the guy”. The guy who had been one of my best friends, the guy who I had dated a bit and had the most fun with, the guy who I really liked, and most importantly the guy who could mess up any carefully laid plan.
Dang, there he was, there I was, and there was that kiss in the kitchen that sealed the deal. I was toast.
BUT, don’t get me wrong. I still had a plan and this would fit so perfectly into it. In just a few short years I would graduate college and this guy would be the perfect husband to that perfect plan. I just love it when a plan comes together, don’t you?
If you are wondering where the punch line is- I won’t make you wait for long.
Every single plan I made changed, and I was not very happy about it. “The guy” was in the U.S.Navy and in case you aren’t aware, people in the service can be moved to locations far away from you, which by the way was not part of the plan.
Ok, so maybe I’d compromise a bit here. I mean who said you had to actually graduate college before you get married? Lot’s of people get married and still graduate right?
So I tweaked my plan and dropped out of college right before my junior year. We moved 18 long hours from home (In my plan I had ALWAYS said I would NEVER move more than 2 hours from home). Please, if you learn nothing else from me, please never ever ever say those two words. Because the truth is- following those two words are these two: Challenge Accepted…. Lord help me, it’s true.
My husband knew of my goals and my determination was unmatched. Once settled, I began looking for colleges to transfer to. I found one close, but alas, it didn’t have the major that I loved and again my plans had to change.
Did I mention that I hate change.
I really hate change.
I really really hate changes that I am forced to make.
I really really really hate changes that are out of my control. (I think you get the point)
Okay, so let’s look on the bright side, at least I can finish college… at least there’s that.
Then, a few months before our second anniversary I found out that I was pregnant. We were so excited. Plans were back on track, college was going well and life was good.
Why is it that curve balls get thrown when they are least expected? Just when you think you have it all together, bam, curve ball. Ug.
(Insert curve ball here…)
Sadly, we lost that precious baby on our second anniversary. (another blog for another time perhaps) Being in the hospital on our anniversary was definitely, not part of the plan. My heart was broken. My life seemed like one disappointment after the other.
Not being the type to give up easily though, we began to try again. I was determined to be a mother. Months passed. No baby. I began to get depressed. Friends were becoming parents and here I was wondering what was wrong with me? Then, on the very month our first baby was due, I became pregnant with our oldest son.
A friend once told me that although she had also had a very painful miscarriage, she realized that if it hadn’t happened, she would not have her daughter. My story is the same. Had I not had that miscarriage I would not have my son and I cannot imagine my life without him in it. Don’t misunderstand me here, I would never want to lose a pregnancy, but I did realize that I could chose to focus on the blessing instead of the loss.
Life has certainly not gone as planned.
No matter how hard I tried or how stubborn I was, life just had a way of knocking me right off course.
Life is so hard.
As you have probably already guessed, I did not graduate college as planned either. It took me a lot longer than expected. I transferred universities a few times and got discouraged more than I want to admit. When I did finally graduate, I had a 3 year old son and was 8 months pregnant with his little brother. My husband often reminds me that for as long as I was in college I could be a doctor right now, and he could be retired. I often remind him that it is his fault we moved around so much. We are at a stalemate on this one.
The point is- I did end up graduating. My goals were not met the way I thought they should be. Not one thing I planned has turned out the way I expected or wanted it to, but to be honest, (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) I really think it has turned out better. My plans were good, but the challenges and changes that life has thrown at us, has made me appreciate the outcomes so much more than if I had just accomplished them in my own way.
Change makes us uncomfortable but it also makes us see and experience things that we wouldn’t otherwise. And although some change can be painful, I can see now how it has all made me who I am today.
Change is the salt in our lives, it spices things up and takes us places we never thought we’d go.
It makes us regroup, re-plan, and refocus.
I can’t believe I’m saying this either, and I may not admit it later, but I have grown to really welcome change. I still don’t like it most of the time, but the outcome is always better than my own plans ever could be.
Maybe God really does know what He’s doing, and maybe I really need to just trust Him more.
So, the question is, do I still make plans? The answer to this one is simple, I most certainly do. I dream big, plan big, and then I ride this old roller coaster of life. It twists and turns my plans right upside down. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, and sometimes I just get sick to my stomach. My plans may change, I may accomplish my goals far differently than expected- but oh I do accomplish them. And along the way, I learn, I grow, and yes- I too change.
Change is good.
Life is good.
Hang on dear friends, change is coming. My prayer for you is that you can look back on your life the way that I do and be glad for every single unexpected turn.
How sad it is when the world has lost it’s ability to love.
Looking at social media these days, I think we can all agree that people are far from loving. (Understatement of the century.) There are so many opinions out there these days that are less opinions and more targeted attacks on anyone that may see things differently. I find this incredibly sad. It used to be that we could have a point of view that differs from someone else and still treat each other with respect and love.
Today if my opinion differs from yours then there must be something wrong with me.
Listen, I fully realize that many of us have strong feelings about various topics and I personally think that’s awesome. The world would be an incredibly boring place if we all thought and felt the same things.
I love the diversity.
I hate the nastiness.
When my opinion or belief suddenly allows me permission to physically or emotionally abuse another person, then we have a problem that far surpasses the topic at hand. This week alone I have read numerous articles from some incredibly gifted and scholarly people who openly give allowances to uncalled-for behavior simply because others don’t agree with them.
Honestly, I don’t think it matters what side you are on. I think it matters more, who you are on the inside. Who are you when no one is looking? Who are you when everyone is looking? What matters more is the person that you are when you are faced with opposing views. Who are you then?
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying you have to bend to someone else’s opinion. I’m certainly not going to. I’m going to stand on my own beliefs and views even if you don’t agree with them. What I’m not going to do is call you names, start cruel and unkind dialogue on social media, and beat you down for being of a different mind than me.
Believe it or not, we can totally disagree about anything and everything, and I can still get the door for you, I can still have a cup of coffee with you, and I can still be kind to you. In fact, I may not get my way in certain situations, we can have a heated discussion that is open and honest and fueled by our own differing viewpoints and I can still show you respect and love. You see, your opinions, beliefs, and actions should never be an excuse for me to be cruel.
So many people are fighting for change in society but true change starts in the hearts of the individual. What kind of change do we really want? Acceptance? We will never have any kind of acceptance through browbeating and harsh judgement. We will never have a society that works well together if we are constantly passing blame on the other side.
Listen, I know that no one wants to back down, but my question is this; Who said you have to?
Forgive me for repeating myself here- but like I said before, I’m not going to. And that does not, in any situation, give you permission to be cruel to me or my family. It does however give you complete permission to disagree, discuss, and move forward.
I’m beyond exhausted with our ability to lie, cheat, and steal to get what we want and to openly try and persuade others that this is okay because I believe my side to be so completely right that I should get my way anyway that I can.
If I am so right, I don’t need to do those things.
Today, I’m asking that before you speak, you check your heart. You ask yourself the same questions we tell kids to ask themselves- Is it kind, Is it true, and is it necessary? Will it lift people up and change society for the better or are you speaking out of anger and aggression? Are you building up or tearing down?
Maybe this post will not change anyone but me, and maybe that’s ok. True change starts with each individual cleaning out their own hearts and lives. It’s when people start pointing inward instead of outward that we see real growth. Until we take an honest look inside ourselves and start truly loving others no real change will ever happen. I’ve never changed anyone by brute force, nor have I ever been personally changed by it either. I have however been changed drastically when someone has treated me with kindness I didn’t deserve. And when I am honest with myself, there is a lot inside of me to be changed.
Real change starts right here, right now, and in the right place- our own heart.
1st Corinthians 13
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails…