Tuesday, June 30, 2015

my eyes were drawn to a particular article about an evangelical pastor who, instead of holding a picket sign while telling people they were going to hell like others have, wore an apology sign on behalf of Christians during pride this past weekend. my heart couldn't help but smile. "finally! someone gets it", i thought.

but then i started scrolling through the comment section and saw what everyone else would have written on their picket signs, and honestly, i was quite irritated and down right angry that people who claim to love God could be so hateful and naïve, when hate goes against all that Christ stood for, and stands for, and all that we as believers should.

on one end, we're mourning with a church full of people in south carolina who are recent victims of a hate crime, while on another, we're creating our own.

1) the words you say have the power to heal.

i've hammered this point out in many of my blogs, but i'll let this excerpt from the huffpost article, "an evangelical pastor at his first pride parade" hammer this one out for me this time:

"i was overwhelmed by the response. people began to cheer. many asked me to slow down so they could take a picture. some wiped away tears and simply mouthed 'thank you', or 'i accept your apology'. for the next few miles, cheers and cameras and tears greeted us everywhere we went. i was grateful i was wearing sunglasses, because there were a few moments when i simply welled up with tears and couldn't handle it anymore.

i couldn't handle the acceptance. i couldn't handle the forgiveness. i couldn't handle the small glimpses i witnessed of healing unfathomably deep hurts.

there was only one feeling i had: pride"

the words you speak have the power to heal, yes, but they also have the power to create deep wounds. choose yours wisely.

2) we have no right to judge something that we ourselves aren't modeling.

i had just tied my garbage bag and found myself placing it on my bed. my bed, people. when realizing what i had done, i quickly took it off in disgust. moments later, however, i found myself less and less disgusted. "at least it's my garbage", i thought. "not somebody else's".

isn't that how we view sin? the very things that we struggle with [our own garbage] isn't as gross/bad as anyone else's, yet at the end of the day, garbage is garbage.

it's time we stop looking at others' 'stuff' [in this case, homosexuality] and start focussing on our own [i.e. the amount of divorce, adultery, and the abuse of authority that just so happens to exist in most churches today]. i wonder how much further we would get in life if we were to spend all of our energy looking in the mirror and working on our own 'garbage' instead of spending all of our time going through other people's 'trash'.

3) an aPAULAgy.

to my male friends who love men, my female friends who love women, [and anyone else who doesn't fit in either category] i echo that pastor's sign that day. forgive us, those who claim to love God, for the ways in which we have judged you, made you feel inferior, and/or left you out, because in doing so, we have misrepresented Christ.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

1) having a hard time loving a co-worker or your in-laws? try a different approach. things not going according to plan? do the same. find yourself working on a character flaw day in and day out with seemingly zero progress? tackle it from a new angle. sometimes trying 'harder' doesn't work, but trying 'different' may.

2) i used to get so bent out of shape when a co-worker wasn't pulling their weight or when someone, anyone, was doing something that ticked me off, but i realized something as of late: you are responsible for you, and i am responsible for me. [life seems less stressful when we spend less time pointing fingers and more time looking in the mirror].

3) complaining is unattractive and life-sucking, but an 'attitude of gratitude' is life-giving.

i find myself thanking God throughout the day more and more these days. sometimes, it's for the 'small' things, like having toilet paper and toothpaste, or for having enough change to buy myself a coffee. other times, i thank Him for being present, for never leaving me, and for mending my friends' broken hearts when i can't seem to take their pain away like i so desperately want to.

4) and lastly, if you haven't listened to the song '10,000 reasons' by matt redman, you should.

"you're rich in love, and you're slow to anger, your name is great, and your heart is kind. for all your goodness i will keep on singing, ten thousand reasons for my heart to find. bless the Lord, O my soul'. amen.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

death has a weird way of making one think about life.

i sat in the sixth row for rick robson's funeral yesterday, but felt as though i had front row seats to his life. anyone who has ever walked into his home, office, or life did, really. he was just that kind of man.

the kind of man who let you in. the kind of man who you felt comfortable enough to let in.

he was kind, and generous. wise, and honest. integral, and full of joy.

a faithful husband. a loving father. a mentor. a friend.

i miss him. i missed him the day i found out he passed away, and i miss him today. i always will. all of us will.

but he lives on in our hearts, and in our lives. because although he passed away, his impact continues, and his legacy lives on.

what kind of legacy will i leave, i wonder? what will people say about me when i die? what will people say about you?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

1) you are more resilient than you think you are. those very things that set out to destroy you in life only make you stronger, or, at the very least, more understanding and compassionate towards those who are enduring the same thing, or will be at a later date.

2) there are over seven billion people in this world; don't let one person ruin your day. [easier said that done, i know, but we spend way too much time and energy thinking about 'people who don't matter'].

3) by the same token, everyone matters. this doesn't excuse certain behaviour or mean that you should put up with abuse of any kind, but i've come to learn that 'hurt people hurt people'; there's always a reason behind somebody's actions, habits, and responses. everyone has a story.

4) we spend so much time dreaming about what life will look like when 'we're done' high school, and then college, and after that we start thinking about what life will look like when we're married, and have kids, and/or find a career, and then when we have these things [if we do], we spend time counting down the days until retirement instead of embracing where we are now, when in actuality we should be treasuring the 'now' because we won't get our 'now' back later.

5) embrace the fact that sometimes, you just have to throw grammar out the window and write really long sentences like the one above.

6) put your phones down once in a while. the world will go on if you can't reply to a text right away or refresh your facebook feed every ten seconds.

7) laugh more. get around funny people. turn on a funny show. pick up a comic, whatever. just laugh more, and laugh loudly.

8) travel. the world is full of beauty, culture, people, and different perspective than what you will find in your comfortable bubble.

9) give. find a cause that's dear to your heart and donate some money. look for a friend in need of help and give them some of your time.

10) forgive. bitterness does nothing to the person who's hurt you, but it'll eat you alive.

11) if you still have breath in your lungs, you still have purpose, and it's never too late to chase your dreams.

12) let the people in your life know that you love and appreciate them, and how they enrich your life.

13) music is more powerful than you think. sing more, and dance more.

14) nothing is ever as bad as it seems or as bad as we let ourselves think it is.

15) don't be afraid to be alone; a healthy dose of loneliness can be good for you.

16) try new things. challenge is good, and adventure, better.

17) make-up is meant to enhance, not define. spend some time on your outward appearance, sure, but spend even more time on building your character, because, well, who you are lasts, and what you look like now will not.

18) naps are a beautiful thing. [plus, they give you a chance to an extra 'sit-up' a day].

19) never let success get to your head. never let failure get to your heart.

20) people will fail you, and although we may not understand why certain things happen to us or our loved ones, God will not. live accordingly.