fake news??

Scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning, I was struck with how many posts and opinions are rooted in untruths. The turmoil that is happening in our country goes far beyond differing political views, but is more of a grudge match fueled by never-ending memes, commentary and misleading to outright slandering, posts.

Literally everywhere.

This morning someone had posted an image of a leader serving, supposedly in Texas, while criticizing the current president for not being there.  Oddly enough (or perhaps not-so-much), the event in question was a fundraising event from over two years ago, and yet even when the person who posted it was confronted with the truth, they laughed it off and chose to leave it up.

Knowing it was a lie.

Years ago I had a situation with someone who took information from a mutual friend,  and misunderstood what was said by the third person, to mistakenly believing it was a quote from me. By the time the mess was cleared, I was still accused of “lying,” even though those words were never mine.

???

As people, it is so important to remember that there is more than one side to any story, and that to project motive or to assume intent without all the information is not only unfair, but it perpetuates mistrust, creates divide and in the end is merely

fake news.

At the end of each day, when you reflect upon your decisions, what can you honestly say about what you did in and for your family? Your community? Your world? Were your words beneficial? Edifying? Honest? You see, even confrontation, when done in an authentic and integral manner, can be to the betterment of those around us. To ourselves. But, even the smallest of praises attributed to one, done with a twist of accusation towards another, can bring with it negativity and can foster greater divide.

In any community.

So today, what is your intent? Your purpose and vision for your own contribution? It is super easy to watch the world go by from the safety of our screens, and have a great many opinions about events and situations of which we truly have no actual awareness, but true change comes when we make an active decision to be a PART of the solution, in our daily lives.

Now THAT is something worth sharing.

 

 

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and be.

Relationships are a tricky thing.

Years ago a dear friend shared some wisdom with me. She said that when we express a thought, opinion, or feelings, we do not get to have an expectation of how it will be received. Our job is to share, and be authentic in delivery, but that the hearer may or may not respond in the manner that we hope, so therefore, to be free of expectation.

Hm.

Walking in my own shoes, it is super important to me that there is peace.  All the time. Harmony… Understanding… I long for tender embraces and laughter after the tears. In my world, relationship is more important than being right, and I would rather own my part and prefer the other person, than to dig my heels in and wait for the chasm to be bridged.

Unfortunately for me, I am discovering that most people do not share my heart for such a utopia. And that has to be ok, too.

In life with others, we tend to hold to a lot of “should’s,” but these are based largely upon our own personal perspective, filter systems, and familial expectations. Being that we are often in relationship with people who were raised differently and do not share our own personality types AND filters, we can expect that at some point our own desired response or outcome will sometimes elude.

More. Often. Than. Not.

When we release others from having to perform in a certain way, we give them permission to be real, and ourselves to be as well. True relationship requires an ebb and flow, freedom to fail, and a soft place to land.

It is not always easy, and the process of learning to love others with a completely open hand seems scary at times, but it is the closest to how God loves us.

Who can you release today? Whose freedom will bring you clarity as well? Forgiveness? Try opening your hand today.

And be.

 

 

 

 

to agree or not to agree

Today a friend of mine shared a post about a curriculum being introduced in public schools that she doesn’t agree with. Raising up small people is a big responsibility. Certainly one of the challenges I have always had as a parent is in discerning what I want my children to know, and the who, when and where such enlightenment would and should happen. Consequently, we have spent several years weaving through the benefits and pitfalls of home school, private, and the public school systems.

I remember being a young child and being terrified of a nuclear war. And of earthquakes. And of strangers… Information shared with me often radically shifted my perspective on life as I knew it, and challenged my ability to identify my position in that life. As parents, we are our children’s primary educators, and it is our responsibility to take what our kids learn from tv, school, friends and life as an opportunity to communicate our own value systems, our own truths, and to help them to understand that information is merely that – information.

Even in college I was confronted by professors who shared information and opinions that were directly in contradiction to my own value system. What initially felt like an assault on my beliefs, however, actually caused me to look honestly at why I believe what I do, and it strengthened not only my resolve, but also my capacity to communicate effectively with people with a different perspective than my own.

I don’t think that just because a idea or opinion may challenge us as parents, we should shrink or hide our kids (or ourselves!) from it. Today’s society does enough of that, and it is not a message that I want to communicate to my kids.

What I DO want them to grow in is the knowledge that the world they live in is a big one, with lots of different people, ideas, ideologies, opinions, beliefs, and even “facts” that are sometimes later disproven. All of these things together equals the beauty and tragedy that is this life we walk in.

Whether we agree with it or not.

repost take 2. sowing and reaping.

By the time my oldest two children were in 4th and 5th grade, I had experienced, or my children had rather, more than enough of the public school system. They learned that even though they were taught to use their voice, others were not. They experienced physical aggression from other students without the freedom to defend themselves. And I learned that no matter how well you try to go through the proper channels, sometimes such environments will not be moved to change.

So I did.

After picking my kids up one afternoon and hearing how the school decided to manage a situation in which my child was being victimized, I made the decision to homeschool. Being traditionally opposed to such measures, it was a giant leap of faith, but one I felt absolutely necessary to the emotional well-being of my children. So, into the next phase of our lives we went.

The short version is there was success, failure, and a lot of love and growth along the way. I absolutely loved having my tribe around me every day, while sometimes loathing the process of trying to parent and educate simultaneously. Having given them the choice to attend public high school, I admit I was truly grateful when both decided to go back to the public education system at that point. It seemed wise to allow them the opportunity to take the strength of character, and faith, they had had the opportunity to develop, into an environment where they could actively live out their values, while still being close enough to mama’s heart in the event that they fell now and again.

As parents, it can sometimes be a challenge to know what to do and when in any given situation. When I made the decision to homeschool, it was not necessarily cheered on and in some cases highly criticized. It was most possibly one of the most difficult seasons of my life with my kids, as well as personally, and looking back, I have absolutely no idea how I survived at all. But, we made it, and as I witness the amazing humans they are growing into, I feel so blessed God would lead me in such a way, and that I had the freedom to pursue what I felt led to provide for my babies.

Just a few weeks ago, in a conversation with my 17-year-old, I was blessed beyond measure when she made the statement that she was so glad she hadn’t attended public middle school. She reflected that as a 9th grader, it was more challenging to play catch up with some of the social circles and friends from elementary school, but that as she quietly observed over the next 2 years, she realized it had really been the best thing for her. Heading into her senior year, she is well-adjusted, making school a priority, and a very grounded young woman.

I couldn’t be more proud.

We may not always be able to experience the fruit of our labor in such an immediate way. Or ever. May never hear a thank you for sacrifice and labored over decisions. But do please know that even if our children, spouses, friends or family remain silent, our God will not. He sees every tear, feels every tug on the heart, and hears every doubt that nags in the midnight hour. Rest assured; every seed we sow, we will reap.

Be encouraged today that you are not unseen, and the choices you are making will influence the future. The bible says not to grow weary in doing good. Easier said than done, but a valuable lesson all the same. Press on, my friend! Never doubt that your carefully chosen footprints will leave their indelible mark on tomorrow…and today.

Shalom.

repost. community.

I spent some time in Romans 14 and 15 this morning, and was really struck by how it read to me today. Many of the scriptures are underlined, so I am confident I’ve read them before, but today the Spirit tugged at my heart in a new way.

This past week I had the opportunity to fly to Vegas with my husband, who was on a business trip, and enjoyed a couple of days by the pool. One of those leisurely afternoons, I was blessed to meet a lovely couple from Ohio. Our conversation meandered through a broad range of topics, but quite possibly my favorite element was that woven into the entire encounter were references to spirituality, Jesus, religion, and the like. The husband, having been raised Jewish, his bride, and myself, while most certainly holding onto different opinions about such things, were all graciously aware of, and sensitive to, finding common ground instead of pushing personal agenda.

Delightful.

In Romans, Paul writes about the freedom we have as believers to adhere to those boundaries and standards we feel convicted to, while not holding others to the same expectations. He also, however, admonishes us not to cause another believer to stumble, and to not bicker over the non-salvation issues. Who Jesus is trumps any belief about what meat we can eat, how to prepare food, what to wear, tattoos, etc. Who Jesus is should also compel us to be sensitive and gentle to those who may perhaps struggle with, or could be offended by, those things which we are free in Christ to do.

Ah, community.

I honestly feel given the time and season we are in, that so very many of our societal struggles are rooted in our strong desire to push personal beliefs above a passion for living in peace. Liberals rail at Christians for holding to a certain set of values while screaming they are “open minded” (only to their own beliefs, however), while Christians disregard love and plow people over in their self-righteous need to convert the “sinners,” all the while missing the very essence of why we are all here in the first place.

Relationship.

re·la·tion·ship
noun
  1. the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.
    “the study will assess the relationship between unemployment and political attitudes”
    synonyms: connection, relation, association, link, correlation, correspondence, parallel, alliance, bond, interrelation, interconnection.

We are all in need of relationship; it’s what we are designed for. Ironically, in strongly disagreeing with the how to create relationship, we endlessly silence what it means in the first place.

There is no way to ever find peace if we do not first know ourselves enough to honor others in the manner in which they, view themselves. With only a self-focused view of life, we find ourselves circling endlessly through argument, anger, disillusionment and a damaged perspective of our own intrinsic value. If we continue to set our sights only on that which we personally find valuable, disregarding the perspective of others, there can never be authentic connection.  In turn, our capacity to feel fulfilled in our pursuit of purpose is surpressed. Essentially, when we live from a position of self-first, we never achieve fulfillment because such self-actualization actually requires relationship, which can only be fully manifested when we consider others first.

God’s design is brilliant.

So I ask you today, what beliefs are you holding onto that are preventing you from walking in your greatest capacity and fulfillment? Is it unrealistic expectations from your kids? Unmet needs from your spouse? Disillusionment in your church or politics? Wherever you experience personal brokenness, you will often find it rooted in how you have connected with that area relationally.

What can you let go of today? In what way have you been seeking to be heard instead of choosing to listen? I believe that when we begin to allow ourselves to truly pursue understanding, we will find within ourselves all we were looking for in the first place. Or, at least begin down the right path…

Shalom.