Friday, February 3, 2017

Preaching to the Choir

It is natural to like to be surrounded by those who have the same views as you, look the same as you, and reinforce your beliefs. Heck, no one wants to be constantly antagonized for a differing opinion. When other's opinions differ from our own, we have a choices: to ignore the opinion and move on, to fight back with our own opinion or to try to engage in active listening.

I know for a fact I am awful at the latter.
I like to preach to the choir. I like to get likes on my  wise and relevant FB posts. I like to hear back from my other 30 something year old Christian Caucasian women friends that I am speaking truth. It makes me feel safe. Like I am not alone. 

When I hear a voice of dissent from what I believe I sometimes tune them out by hiding them from my news feed, maybe even defriending or blocking them. 
Think about that for a second....
What a strange little world we live in now were we actually have words like "defriend".

But what if I started to ask and actually wanted to HEAR the words from others different from ourselves, rather than just preparing my super wise response back that is sure to get them to humble themselves and follow me...Oh wait! I am supposed to humble MYSELF and FOLLOW HIM, not get others to humble themselves and follow me on FB, instagram, pinterest, twitter??!  

Dan Rather said something that I think is so powerful. I am summarizing but essentially a YUGE (in the words of our president) crowd gathered to see Trump win. A HUGE crowd also gathered to protest Trump. Instead of comparing whose crowd was bigger, realize that there are millions of us who CARE and are all trying to be heard. 

In other words: LISTEN!

Let's build off this passion to achieve our goals. As far as I can tell most times when I actually LISTEN to others I hear them say essentially the same things I am saying. 
Of course there is always those who are driven by fear and hate and nothing is going to change that except the grace of God but our job is to be the best version of ourselves and cleaning out my FB friend list until I only see statuses that another white, 30 something year old, Christian woman would write does nothing to make me a better version of myself it is just further preaching to the choir and I need to hear some different voices to be the best version of me. 

So, I get it sometimes you need a break.
You need to hide someone from your feed.
You need to leave social media for a time or forever but PLEASE stop shutting out those voices completely out of your life that make you uncomfortable or uneasy.  
The voices that make our stomachs turn are often the same voices that help our minds open and our hearts widen. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Eye of the Storm

I recently took a job as a school nurse at my kid's elementary school. One of my job duties is to ensure everyone is safe in a tornado. We had a drill recently and I couldn't help be left with the huge responsibility I have to ensure the safety of not only my own child but 100s of other little beings.
Since that drill I continue to have a nightmare wherein I can see a tornado coming from a mile or so away from the front door of the school.
I go running back inside and scream, "tornado, tornado!! Everyone run downstairs!" Then I wake up with guilt of thinking that is exactly what not to do when trying to keep kids safe in the eye of a storm. If you live in the Midwest you know it's not a matter of IF but WHEN you or those close to you will be affected by a tornado.

When I have this nightmare the following emotions happen:
Lack of control.

I realized something today. These emotions are not going away when I wake up.
The political climate has brewed a perfect storm for a tornado and I feel like I watching it in the near distance. Right now it is affecting my neighbors. I see them wrapped unwilling in its damaging winds. I see debris being spit out toward others and I see it headed straight for me. For my child. For the children I vow to protect. For all of us.

In my dream I keep choosing to scream and run for sure that the tornado will hit us all and there is nothing we can do. But in reality there is time. I have a choice. No matter what happens with this tornado I have choices:
A. I can act like the tornado isn't there and continue to go on my life as normal.
B. I can run back inside screaming and create further chaos in hopes that it will make everyone so fearful they will run and hide quickly too.
C. I can do what has been proven to be the safest in tornados: plan ahead, have a plan that works the best for the situation and calmly guide others to safety and then use yourself as a blanket over the last few coming to safety so the least impact of the storm can hit them.

I know this seems melodramatic folks, but we are in a tornado America and it's affecting the world. We all should feel the not so settle breeze and hear the train in the distance by now. If you choose to ignore this then you are letter A and well maybe you be the miraculous person who survives but the rest of your world will be crushed around you so there simply isn't a way you will not be affected.
From what I can tell most of us letter B. It's a natural reaction but it doesn't work and has been found to cause further damage.
What I am striving to be is letter C. I want to be armed with facts and knowledge which will help subside fear and the bitterness that is sure to follow that fear. I want to be a soldier of Christ ready to fight in His army.  I want my anxiety to turn into action. When I feel my stomach turning for the things I can't control, I want Christ's love to shine through me so much that it can't help but pour out onto those who I may not know or understand because I know and understand this: we are ALL made in the image of God.

So I didn't tell you the end of my dream. The tornado doesn't hit our school. It ends up hitting a school up the street. I end losing my job because I used my energy creating more chaos than solutions. If I would have taken two minutes to read the weather reports I would have realized the tornado was headed east and we could have taken those students, our neighbors, that were in its direct path into our school and saved all their lives. Yes, I know this makes no sense in real life, but it's a dream people and perhaps dreams are the Holy Spirit's ways of speaking to our soul.