Accused of Thinking…

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I have been processing through so many comments I have heard or read on social media over the last couple months spanning almost every topic you could imagine.

People assuming the thoughts and intentions of myself (or others) and making grandiose statements of what the reasoning is behind it, and substituted truth for what they have decided must be facts.

“You think ____.”

“Obama/Trump/Hillary thinks ______.”

“Refugee’s think _____.”

“Women/Blacks/Whites/Rich/Poor blah blah blah, all think ____.”

Stop. It.

You have no idea what anyone is thinking, you are not in their head, you do not have to make the choices they do, and you do not have all of the information. Not to mention, it is poor form and terrible logic to try to create a false process for someone else’s actions.

Stop telling me what I think and what my motivation was for something.

Because at best, your thought process is what you would have done in my shoes, with your background and with the limited information you have. And, at worst, it is the classic case, “when you assume, you make an @$$ out of U and Me…..” mantra.

But, just so we are clear, the opposite side of this coin is that, if you are making assumptions and judging me or others based on what you have decided we/they/someone is thinking, then you are likely also judging yourself based off intentions alone. Oranges and Apples.

What’s the solution to this flawed way of operating?

Ask. Questions.

“Why did you do ___? What was your thought process behind ____?”

Learn. Gain perspective, play devils advocate to your own views, set aside your desire to be right. Just because you disagree with your limited knowledge, does not automatically make them wrong.

Be humble.

You do not have it all figured out, and there are likely hundreds of reasons behind someone’s decision. Making an assumption of what anyone must have been thinking is going to create a wider gap between you and everyone… Not to mention lower the respect others have for you.

It is possible to disagree and be kind about it.
It is possible to hate the decision, but understand the process.
It is possible to learn from those we don’t like.

We do not have to be a people or culture of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

We absolutely can be a humble people, with the intention to learn, gain wisdom, and perspective and still disagree.

Sometimes all that matters is that we understand the why behind something, and it changes our whole view of the situation.

Step aside from your arrogance, take a humble posture of learning, ask questions, listen, seek wisdom and understanding before elevating your own voice and opinion.

Stop seeking for others to see and hear you first, and instead choose words and language that invite others into a safe place of learning and discussion.

Iron sharpens iron… But, only when both are equally willing to be sharpened. It falls apart when only one takes the perspective of learning and humbling themselves enough to be willing to be wrong.

There are differently blessings in life for those who humble themselves, and sometimes blessings for others because of our own humility.

Just to share a small portion of the scriptural basis for my perspective:

“Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the Lord.” – 2 Chronicles 34:27

“He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.” – Psalm 25:9

“When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.” – Proverbs 11:2

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29

“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:4

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” – Matthew 23:12

“He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.” – Luke 1:52

Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us’? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” – James 4:5-7

To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” – 1 Peter 3:8-9

Read more here.

There are two things I pray for almost every single day, and have for as long as I can remember:

Wisdom:

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” – James 1:5

and Understanding:

“So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours? It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing.” – 1 King 3:9-10

So, stop assuming the thoughts and intentions of others. Ask them, learn from them, be respectful, and learn to use your words better.

What is it you ask God to bless you with every day?

What could you do to make your communication better?

 

Frustrations About Race Talks…

I have a love hate relationship with the current dialogues about race, discrimination, and racism going on right now in the media and among friends.

What you read below is a random splattering of thoughts on the issue. They are not all connected to each other, and are thoughts based off of discussions I have been a part of, heard, read, watched, and my thoughts in response to them. These thoughts below are in response to every side of the discussion because I have friends from every perspective.

To give some understanding of myself first.. I am from Michigan (grew up in the Metro Flint area), I have lived in Ohio (briefly), the south, the Metro DC area, I have traveled to many areas around the country and several countries in Africa, East Asia, a couple Central American countries, and European countries.

Please note before you get into this post, I am most certainly not intending absolutes in what I say, these are my experiences and perspective alone. I have (a few or a lot of) exceptions to virtually every thought and frustration below. My thoughts are in reflection to the entire discussion as well, not to one or two things said by people.. Please read below with a thoughtful and compassionate voice, not anger or argumentative one.

Good luck reading my rambling!

I find myself so incredibly frustrated at every side of the “discussion” on race, discrimination, and racism.

I am frustrated because (all) people do and say terrible things for a slew of stupid reasons.

Maybe I’m frustrated me because I am a white woman from the north.

Maybe I am frustrated because I have traveled around the world and have seen and experienced what this topic looks like through the eyes of so many people from all walks of life that I find the discussion often frustrating, ignorant, and shallow.

Maybe it frustrates me because I (personally) have seen and experienced more women (of any color) discriminated against than blacks in America. (I am not saying it does not happen, just that this is my personal experience)

Maybe it frustrates me because I have seen Africans (in various countries in Africa) hated and treated horribly, and it’s awful.

Maybe I’m frustrated because people are people, no matter how they look. Individuals all have good and bad and beauty and personality and preferences and understanding and experiences and many times that is all boiled down to what “group” you are supposed to fit with.

Maybe it frustrates me because when I try to engage in a conversation to gain perspective, my thoughts on race are dismissed because I’m on the “white side” of “privilege” and therefore my understanding boils down to my skin color too instead of my experience and knowledge.

Maybe it frustrates me because my parents are in an interracial marriage, but because both their skins are white everyone dismisses it.

Maybe I am frustrated ’cause I find darker skin tones more attractive and that instantly puts me in a group to be hated upon.

Maybe I am frustrated because American culture tries so hard to make mixed people choose sides… (ps. They are the prettiest people!)

Maybe it frustrates me because I see so much hate and absurd things said on every side of this issue and I just want to facepalm people who refuse to listen and gain perspective.

Maybe it frustrates me because I have watched more of my “white” friends try to seek out diversity and understanding while some of my “black” friends say “that’s right, you should” instead of also seeking out diversity and understanding.

Maybe I am frustrated because some of my white friends are clueless.

Maybe I am frustrated because I don’t understand the issue at all because some of the people I look up to the most and have learned the most from are not white Americans. They are some of the most well-rounded people I have ever met and I want to be like them.

Maybe it frustrates me because I want true authentic dialogue, not just to be accused of having privilege or being racist or ignorant or for having been born white… I can’t do anything with those accusations, but I can change what I am educated with and so can you.

Maybe I am frustrated because personal experience is belittled and trustworthy news sources are held up as the reliable sources when it comes to the topic of race, discrimination, and racism.

Maybe I am frustrated because in America, the vast majority of people (everyone) are melting pots… even the African-American community is a melting pot… Don’t believe me? Go to any country in Africa or the Islands, they look entirely different, and in some places even kill each other for being from a different tribe.

Maybe I am frustrated because there has been a clear confusion between dislike and hate.

Maybe I am frustrated because I watch “race” being pulled in as a factor more often than it should (from all sides), instead of identifying the hate or actions of people as being just that: Hateful.

Maybe I am frustrated because I get judged for my opinion on race simply due to my skin color too.

Maybe I am frustrated because people on every side love to claim discrimination or a lack there of while they take the media to be accurate and reporting the whole story.

Maybe I am frustrated because racism still exists, but now it is tricky because every side expresses racism.

Maybe I am frustrated because avoidance, dislike, or ignorance is not actually racism at all… doesn’t make those things right or wrong, good or bad (depending on context), but it does not make them racism either.

Maybe I am frustrated because I just don’t understand, why does this need to be an issue? People are people, God made you, beautiful and perfect, and sin ruined us… I wish we could just move on everyone.

Maybe I am frustrated because racism and discrimination won’t entirely go away ever, until after Jesus returns.

And, I’m frustrated cause I am fairly certain there will be freaking out and anger in response to this post… Although, I really hope not, I would love for this to be a time of seeking to understanding and dialogue instead.

It’s Not About Me…

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Lately I have been doing a lot of praying, reading, watching videos, thinking, and talking with various people about what God is doing in my life… But, specifically related to who I am because of Him, and just how big He is to me.

I truly want to gain a greater understanding of just how big He is, and how capable He is

of solving my problems… And then, I want to take it a step further and comprehend just how much He cares about my problems.

But, that actually isn’t enough for me either.

You see, the “older I get” (makes me sound 65), the more I am settling on the solid belief that my life just isn’t about me. And, while I obviously have selfishness, and I struggle with pride, and a slew of other sins, I want desperately to hear the words “Well done good and faithful servant” when I die and go to heaven.

I heard a quote by Curry Blake this week that sums up my basic feelings: “Christianity was about you until you got saved, then it quit being about you and became about those that aren’t saved.”

This thought process began invading a lot of areas of my thinking and I sort of began mulling over what that looks like in my life currently, and what it would look like in the future.Simply put, Christ loved you unconditionally, now you have to go love others unconditionally.

One of the things I settled on is that if I even get married, I really do not want the day to be “all about me” … because let’s all be honest here, at this point if I get married, it will CLEARLY be all because of what God did, is doing, and plans on doing in my life and the life of my husband. I want the wedding, and obviously the marriage to reflect those things.

The next thing I realized is that while I have these wonderful reminders of prayer cards that are full of people and situations to pray for, I tend to pray much closer to the “ask and

beg” side of prayers many times.. instead of praying scripture and standing on scripture. God made us promises for a reason, He literally cannot break those promises.

I also have had the wonderful opportunity over the last few weeks to spend time on the phone, Skyping, FaceTiming, and Google Hangout-ing with so many friends that are literally all over. I have stayed up late, woken up crazy early, and re-arranged schedules in order to get the chance to re-connect with these friends. Or in once instance, it was a random call that ended up allowing us to restore what was lost due to missteps and sin on both of our parts. And, it has been exactly perfect each time. I sometimes forget how much I miss people until I see their face or hear their voice, and then I am reminded why they have such special places in my heart, or I am reminded of how much they taught me in the time that I was able to connect with them in the first place.

These conversations have reminded me with utter clarity, just how much God uses people to speak life and love into us.

The last month has found a lot of things stretching me… Such as singing… in front of people… with a mic in front of my face. I love singing, I enjoy so very much getting to spend the time with the group of people leading one of our services.. And, it has turned into a really fun time with my sister-in-law as well. But, I am worse than not at all confident in my ability to sing well. The most profound thing that has been said to me from the leader was, he wasn’t looking for me to be the best singer, he was looking for me to be the best worshipper. Which, actually changes things quite a bit, especially when it comes to singing worship music. Whether I am up front singing worship songs to my sweet Savior or whether I am singing worship songs standing in my kitchen… It is not about me, it is about rightfully adoring who He is without expecting anything in return for my worship.

When I read the Bible and soak in the Truths that are permeating throughout the entire thing, the only thing I am left with is that I simply cannot look at the history and the way God has moved people and done things and assume it is because of me. Yet, through some crazy, only God could actually pull it off, He’s asking me to step in and be a part of His plan because He loves me more than I understand. But, in order for that to work, I have to constantly work at handing over my selfishness and pride so that Jesus can then use me however He sees fit to express His love of Truth to others.

It just simply isn’t about me, it is about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.