Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thoughtful About . . . Who We Get to Be

I've had several ideas lately for Thoughtful posts. But it seems like every week, I run out of time, and blogging slips down my to-do list until it falls off the edge. =/ So when I pulled up a new post today, I'm not sure why I typed into that title line "Who We Get to Be." But I had no desire to delete it. So let's see where my fingers and my still-sleepy mind take me.

In part, I think my thoughts originated a month ago, with that horrific church shooting. When my husband said on the way home from Bible study, "When are people going to realize that it isn't the guns doing this--it isn't the people doing this. It's the hatred that has such a stranglehold on this country."

Or maybe it's from a post my sister, just a few months away from her last cancer treatment, said on Facebook yesterday:

"We live in a society that seems to focus on the negative... the news, your FB feed, the magazine covers in the check out line...I'm just about in tears as I scroll through FB and read the self hate and the harsh words towards others. So many people are fighting battles every day that we don't know about or see! We can't even imagine the thoughts going through the minds of others and one small kind word or act could make their day or even change their hearts. I'm here to tell you I have experienced more kindness from family, friends and complete strangers in the last few months than I could even imagine. I've had strangers stop me to pray with me on days I really needed it, I had a lady who I rented a condo from for a treatment to tell me if I ever needed to stay there again it would be free, I have a girl who walked the same path and was put into contact with me but doesn't know me send me messages; on days when I seemed to need them the most! Those are just a few examples folks! Can we please spread love and joy instead of negativity?"

Or maybe it's just the continued realization as I type up responses to emails or messages or smile at someone on the street: We get to choose how those people see us. We get to decide what kind of us we're going to be. We get to determine whether we're ruled by bitterness or love.

Hate does have a stranglehold on our nation. Hatred for the president (what happened to respecting the office even if you don't like the man? I didn't vote for Trump. But he's now my president. MY president. Just as Obama was--who I also didn't vote for. Why would I wish any of my presidents failure?? Isn't that then MY failure, as they represent me?). Hatred for whoever believes differently on moral issues (What, you're for/against homosexual marriage? Then you're EVIL! It doesn't matter where your belief comes from, it's different from mine, and therefore you deserve no respect). Hatred  for those who believe differently on political issues (You own guns? When are you going to wake up and realize you're part of the problem? You're for gun control? You might as well stomp on the Constitution!). Hatred for those who say "Happy Holidays." Or who say "Merry Christmas."

We live in a society that has forgotten how to listen. That can't fathom respect. And we, who claim to have the Light of the World living inside us, all too often add to that darkness.

But we get to decide, don't we? We get to decide whether it's words of love or hate that spill from our lips. We get to decide whether we meet bitterness with a smile and a prayer or with bitterness of our own. We get to decide whether we live by love or hatred.

I remember years and years ago, when I was working on the edits for Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland--my first book published with a company other than my own--I had an epiphany as I composed an email in response to some of my editors' suggestions.

I get to decide, right now, what kind of author I'm going to be. I can be the kind that argues and snarls and resents every suggestion--the kind that will make editors groan when they see my name pop up in their inbox. Or I can be the kind that greets suggestions with enthusiasm and goes out of my way to make my editors know I value their opinion. Readers will never know how I interact with my publishing team. But they know. They know, they sense, they talk among themselves. And the kind of author I choose to be with them could likely determine whether they want to work with me in the future.

This is the same in all other aspects of life. In how we deal with our families. With our neighbors. With our churches. With the stranger in the supermarket line. It's true of our online presence. It's true of our in-person presence.

We get to choose. We get to choose who we are. According to the Bible, we get to be new creatures because of what Jesus did for us. We get to leave behind all the darkness and sin. We get to be perfect. We get to be saints. We get to be His.

So why are we still acting like the world?

We get to be joyful. We get to boast in our tribulations and troubles. We get to glory in insufficiency. We get to show the world that God is so much, even when life offers us so little.

We get to be Jesus to those hurting people around us.

What an awe-inspiring title. Not Employee of the Year, Best-Selling Author, Attorney at Law...not Best Mother or Award Winner or Millionaire.

Christ follower.

Sometimes that just blows me away. That we get to be that Light for Him.

We don't just choose to believe. Choose to profess. We have to choose to live it. To be it. And then to watch the world around us change in response.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written and so true! I, too, am so sick of seeing hatred and arguments (well the disrespectful ones anyways). But, as you said, I choose not to partake. I choose to be different. If we all ban together and show more compassion, you just might see a change in the world ��