Saturday, July 9, 2016

The world is going crazy.

If I hear one more sad story, I think my head might explode.  

I cannot deal with the endless stream of bad news, heartbreaking photos, and upset people.  I have read countless articles with opinions and not a lot of facts.  I have seen comments that make my head spin.  I have wondered what in the world is this nation coming to--and I'm worried for the sake of my children having to grow up at such a time as this.

The news isn't really that new--these events and issues have been going on for centuries.  Unfortunately, with all of our connectedness these days thanks to the 24-hour news channels and tickers across the bottom of our screens and social media, we can't filter through what is actually news and what is just sensationalism.  We have seen the biased media blame this person and that group and ignorance abounds.

I find myself doubting the goodness of mankind and the intentions of people I've never met.  I make assumptions about situations, and I don't like the way my heart wants to believe the worst about each and every story.  We have been inundated with terrible news, so why shouldn't we believe that people are despicable?

Because that's what we're told each and every minute of every hour of every day. 

My friends of color are hurting.  My friends in uniform are hurting.  My LGBTQ friends are hurting.  My conservative friends are hurting.  My liberal friends are hurting.  My church is hurting.  My country is hurting.  We're all hurting and instead of deciding to stand together and announcing enough is enough, we take it to the social media streets and destroy one another in the name of goodness and love.  We sit there in the safety of our homes and take shots at each other because we disagree, and everyone who refuses to get on board is ignorant, racist, and/or stupid while there are people literally bleeding on the streets.

I'm DONE with it all.  

I'm not trying to bury my head in the sand and hope it all goes away--because I know that it's not going to be right again until He returns.  I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I'm above it all, because I consume the information like the rest of the nation.  My life is just as messy as the next person, but I've been fortunate enough to avoid the national spotlight.  There are enormous and difficult issues that we're facing in our country, and there are a lot of ways to look at and consider these issues.

But I can control what I decide to let into my home and heart.  I can decide how much of my day I spend on social media and reading the news.  I can filter through and remove the hateful words on my sites, and I can refuse to be a part of the problem by participating in conversations that cannot be won.  I can remind myself that a lot of the news on the internet is not true, and that just because someone made a cute meme on Facebook does not make it factual.  I can refuse to post passive-aggressive status updates.  I can love my community by acting like a decent human being and I can decide to believe the best of a person in a situation until I'm proven wrong.  I can try to put myself in someone else's shoes and imagine how I would feel if it were my family, my children, my friends, and/or myself.  I can use common sense and good manners and sometimes choose to remain silent because if I wouldn't say it with a bullhorn in the middle of a crowded arena, then I don't need to post it on my public site.  I can choose to respect.  I can choose to have hard conversations with people in my immediate circles from all walks of life.  I can open my eyes and heart and try to understand different points of view.

And, most importantly, I can choose to love. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Knowing your place.

Sometimes you have to protect yourself from the incoming traffic. 

Temptation
Anger
Hurt feelings
Anxiety
Shame  

There are days when life is swell, and there are days you're left standing in the swelter. 

I don't want to spend my life in an eternal internal battle. 

It's always best when I offer it up to Him instead.  I beg Him to guard my heart and mind and mouth.  I do my best to see myself the way He sees me--like I see my own children.  

They are not perfect--but I love them fiercely. 


I want to be big and important and right and validated, but I repeatedly discover that I feel more like myself when I choose to be small.  Being small doesn't have to mean that I'm wrong--but perhaps it means that I'm choosing to acknowledge my role in the grand scheme of things.

And in the moments when I just want to handle things swiftly, I'm learning that sometimes you just have to leave things alone for a season.  I can fret about all the things that I have no control over, or I can choose to move forward in my immediate circumstances and deal with what's been directly handed to me in this moment.

And trust that some things will work themselves out in their own time. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Shaky planes.

The plane shook so hard that I bit the inside of my mouth as it dropped in a pocket of air.

I tasted the blood and knew that I was going to have to swallow it down because the stewardess had made it clear that passengers should remain buckled and that the weather might prevent beverage service (translation:  bumpy ride ahead).  I tried to read and found it to be impossible because the tiny letters were jumping all over the page making my eyes and head hurt.  I made the mistake of looking out the window and saw hazy and tall clouds--not the happy clouds that normally dot the sky.  I had seen the weather reports and knew that our state was going to be under a series of storm warnings today and I had switched my flight to avoid the bulk of these storms (but mostly to avoid an 8-hour wait at the airport for my flight).   

I also noticed that I was sitting directly next to the plane's spinning propellor and that I'd never know if it came off because I'd be immediately put out of my misery.  

That didn't bring me comfort, either. 

I finally put my book down and just closed my eyes and informally began asking for Peace and calm in my spirit.  I realized that my entire body was clenched from the stress of the takeoff and transition to the sky, and I felt slightly close to spontaneous tears for a few moments.  I sang songs in my head and tried with everything in my being to take deep breaths and relax.  

Normally I find flying to be exciting and fun, but this flight was not exactly normal.     

I had to let go of control, and ask Him to take capture of my anxious thoughts.

I worry more than the average person.  It's not pretty and it's caused its fair share of wrinkles and sleepless nights.  I worry about things that matter, and I worry about things that don't.  I worry about the future.  I worry about the past.  I worry about the present.  I stress and review and relive and work through things more than I'd like to admit.  I like things to be neat and orderly, and I like my life to be expected and routine.  I do not care for curve balls and I like to stay ahead of problems and issues.  I enjoy planning and considering situations before they occur, and I do not do well with making decisions under pressure.  

And on that plane, I was completely at the mercy of the pilot, the sky, and Jesus.  

I could not make decisions for the trip.  I could not ask air traffic control if anyone had looked at the radar map and agreed it looked safe to fly.  I could not check my phone to see the radar map for myself to determine the best route.  I could not tell them to put the plane down in Raleigh and that I'd figure out a way for someone to come pick me up.  I was going to have to sit down and ride it out.  

I didn't like it, but I also didn't have a choice. 

It occurred to me that the flight crew most likely did not have a death wish yesterday.  They probably had family and friends they wanted to return to, and they made these flights all the time.  While I was completely unnerved by the state of affairs, they had enough prior knowledge and experience to determine that it was a safe time to fly.  I was going to have to trust them and let them do their jobs. 


And when I'm anxious, I need to trust the Lord to do His job.  

If I know Him and I know that He loves me personally, then I can trust His decisions for my life.  I can trust He is good, and I can trust that He has a view that is bigger than any radar or history book.  I don't have to spend my time spinning wheels and wringing my hands and considering things over and over and over again--I can sit still and recognize life is often out of my control, and that my itinerary was set for me before I took my first breath.  

And if that knowledge doesn't calm the churning in my spirit, then I don't know what will. 
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