Finding the courage to let go

I confess that I feel a bit guilty about unfriending people on social media, even if the relationships are superficial. But I think that when you get older, you realize that you don’t have the time for drama. You don’t see the point of wasting your emotional energy on battles you cannot win.

At the beginning of the year, after reading a book on spiritual maturity, I resolved to be more authentic. That meant being free to be me without worrying about what people think of me. Something interesting happened when I decided to be the real me. In letting go of my need to be accepted by others, I found the courage to let go of people whose worldviews are diametrically opposed to mine.

While I can still accept the people I can not change, I accept that sometimes there are irreconcilable differences, as in views on gun control, or the freedom to protest peacefully, or on immigration or the separation of church and state. The religious and political environment we live in highlights the great divide between us.

Facebook made it easy to establish a social connection with classmates or relatives. But if I am honest with myself, I don’t have much in common with many of them. I am no longer willing to pretend that we have anything meaningful in common. We don’t even share the same zip code.

Guilt, with the click of a button, I’m letting you go too. And I won’t even say goodbye.

via Daily Prompt: Guilty

Broken Assumptions

When I make an assumption, I accept that something is true without proof. When I make an educated guess, I have some knowledge about what to expect so my assumption is likely to be correct. Unfortunately, my assumptions are often broken. Sometimes my trust is misplaced. Sometimes, I expect a certain outcome because I wrongly assume that other people share my values or expectations.

I learned this lesson several years ago at my job. I have a strong work ethic. I go to work to work. I assumed that my boss also had a work ethic and that all employees would be held accountable to the same standards. I was wrong. I learned that he cared more about being seen as a nice guy by my slacker coworker than about making sure the work got done.

I used to assume that our democracy was strong. I believed that our elections were legitimate. I believed that my vote matters. I believed that the separation of powers would prevent one branch of government from overreaching. I was wrong.

I used to assume that facts and truth matter to everyone. I was wrong. Conspiracy theories abound. Untruthful people peddle “alternative facts” and people continue to listen to them. The president lies several times a day and his supporters don’t care. Individuals adapt not only to their own dishonesty but also to that of others.

I used to assume that Christians cared about immorality – the aforementioned lack of honesty, for example. As a Matthew 25 Christian, I assumed that Christians cared about the “least of these.” I accepted as true that followers of Jesus would care about refugees, immigrants, the uninsured, etc. I am sad to say that millions of Christians proved me wrong.

People let me down when I make assumptions about their values and character without proof. Broken assumptions have made me much less trusting of my fellowman. It’s made me cynical.

via Daily Prompt: Assumption

Please ask questions

Yesterday my young coworker asked me if I had heard the news of another school shooting. She said eight people were dead. It’s not the first time that she has told me about a school shooting while we are at work. In a few years, she’s going to send her baby off to school. How does it feel to be a parent and know that your kids are not safe at school?

I got my phone and looked for news on Facebook. One of my classmates wrote “I. Am. Pissed.” It makes her sick to hear about another school shooting. She said that we as a nation need to get a grip on this…

I am numb. Why am I numb? Why am I not shocked? Because this keeps happening. Because I have been carrying around the grief and sadness and feeling of hopelessness about school shootings for 19 years and one month. Why am I marking the anniversary of Columbine? Because it turned my world upside down. Because people are still hurting. Because we as a nation did not learn from this.

Why am I writing at 2 am instead of sleeping? Because I am not numb. Because I woke up asking myself questions.

How can a man sit there in the White House and listen to the stories of children who survived the Parkland, Florida shooting and not be moved to do something about assault style weapons? That day, with notes in hand, I saw him reach out a hand of comfort as if he felt some empathy. What do jotted talking points say about his empathy? “What would you most want me to know about your experience?” “What can we do to help you feel safe?”

How could he then go speak at an NRA convention and tell the gun lovers that their “second amendment rights are under siege”? Why do people care more about their man-made right to own tools designed to kill people than about people?

How can people keep saying that this wouldn’t happen if we let God back in our schools? I went to school in the 60’s and 70’s and I sure don’t remember learning about God in school. I learned my love and fear of God at home and at church.

Why do young men keep doing this? What was going through this 17-year old’s mind when he saw news coverage of the last school shooting?

How can I keep watching news coverage of this when I know that nothing is going to change? When is this nation going to stop living in denial? When are we going to get a grip on this problem?

When Patience Wears Thin

Patience is one of my greatest strengths. Impatience is one of my most frustrating weaknesses. How can this be?

In normal circumstances, I am patient. I have enough self-control to wait. I believe my patience will be rewarded. I don’t feel the need to control other people. I can accept that things won’t always go my way. I can suffer through situations that others would find insufferable. I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

At other times, my patience wears thin, which implies that it was thick to begin with.

If I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, patience is the first virtue to go. Things that would otherwise not even phase me annoy the heck out of me. People get on my last nerve. Maybe it is because when I am stressed, I need all of my emotional energy to deal with it. I have nothing left to give.

My patience also wears thin if I am faced with the same trying situation over and over again. I don’t like to be distracted when I am trying to concentrate. I don’t like to be interrupted or to have my plans thrown into disarray. I can put up with these little annoyances a few times but eventually my patience wears thin.

The first patience-thinning situation is a sign that something in my life needs to change. The second situation is really a matter of personality; my introverted mind needs peace and quiet.

via Daily Prompt: Thin

Clip art credit: https://clipartxtras.com/

 

The Core of the Gospel

Today the sermon at my church was based on 1 John 2:18-29. In this passage, John warned believers against antichrists, anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ. In the new church, there were many false teachers trying to lead Jesus’s followers astray. John said, I’m not writing to you because you don’t know the truth. You do know the truth. See to it that the gospel message you heard from the beginning remains in you.

As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.

What is the core message of the gospel that remains in me?

  • We all sin
  • God still loves us
  • Jesus intercedes for us
  • We are to love one another, as he loved us

Of course, there is much more to the message I have heard than this. But at its core, the message of Jesus Christ is the redeeming power of God’s love.

via Daily Prompt: Core