It's been awhile since I put fingers to keyboard and dashed out my thoughts, but some events recently have made me so agitated, I can only express myself (at least coherently!) in this way. So, if you've had a day where you've already heard one too many soapbox moments, I'll advise you now to tune out. Or at least tune out till the end, kinda like this is one big paid commercial announcement that you choose to ignore till the end of the show; I promise to wrap it up in a cheerful, "happily ever after" manner!
Ok, now that I've got my disclaimer out of the way, I'll ease you into the reason behind my emotional rant.
If you know me at all, you know I am a glass half full kinda gal. I think the best of folks. I give you the benefit of the doubt. I'd like to take credit for all this feel good, girl scout behavior, but I can't. I've said it before, and I'll continue to say it...the only thing that's good in me is Jesus. My disposition comes straight from His love, because I'd easily choose the "grumpy" dwarf over happy on any given day; it's just easier sometimes- and if you're honest, I'll bet you'll admit this, too! Choosing Grumpy can really seem appealing when you've been up all night with a colicky infant/sick child/snoring spouse/ insomnia episode.
Back to my point. So far, I've let you know I'd be a lot less nice if I didn't have Jesus. Now let's move onto the world we live in.
The world....Oh, the world. Now that's a tricky one. We live in America, where we have much to be thankful for, despite the economy we face right now. We have food readily available (check out the local grocery store and count how many types and varieties of fresh, frozen and canned veggies are at your disposal). We have luxury shelter (even Freddie and Fannie Mae can't argue that our housing is far more luxurious than a one room dirt floor hut). We have opportunity, not just to better ourselves, but to live freely (You wanna worship a cat? Yeah, you can do that here in our free country. I'll need to freely have a conversation with you, but you're free to do it if you choose.)
Yet, somehow, somewhere along the lines, we've become a people of fear. Of timidity. And I'm not the least bit pleased with the trend I see. Nor do I want to be a part of it. Yet I get sucked into it again and again. How you ask? (Or maybe you're not asking because you've tuned out already...that's ok, I plan to share anyway!)
I wanted to put my son's name on his backpack. But someone, a stranger, might see his name and call him by his name and he'll be (insert terrible thing here).
I posted some pictures of my niece with nakedness. Adorable innocence, but I ended up taking them down because of the (insert terrible thing here).
We encourage our kids to smile and make eye contact with people they meet, but that person might be (insert terrible thing here).
My husband offered a ride to a man who's bicycle literally fell apart, but that man might have (insert terrible thing here).
We needed a place to sit and rest one day while walking the super humid streets of downtown Saxonburg. We found a church but had to sit outside, because, of course, the doors were locked to prevent (insert terrible thing here).
In the "old days", before kids lit up my world, I was a nurse; a doggone good one too; I loved my patients and I loved being a caregiver. But now, because someone out there sued a nurse, and legal actions complicated matters, I hesitate to put my family at risk because some nurse once (insert terrible thing here).
I'm sure you get my long winded point. But what to do about it?
I will tell you I've been hurt by being too trusting (naive, some would say); I've thought the best of some and then seen their worst. I've been bit by the hug that held me. And I've seen myself repeat the same mistake over and over again when it comes to giving someone the benefit of the doubt, only to find out they actually DIDN'T deserve it.
But you know what? Despite all that, I will not change. I will not succumb to the mentality of "insert terrible thing here" into every part of life. Oh, but don't think that I'm doing that on my own soapbox. No way! I'm standing firm on solid ground, folks, listening to what God has told me (and told you, too).
A favorite verse in our house is from 2Timothy 1:7:
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind.
Did you hear that? That was the sound of fear flying out the window; it has no place in our world. When we invite Jesus in, we solidly escort fear out.
Our second born, Melanie, who overcame magnificent odds when she was just 8 weeks in the womb, tends to lean towards a spirit of fear. That makes me sad, considering how she triumphed over all fears when she was just a blip on a monitor screen. But I am hopeful that since this is a verse she hears often, in her own time, she will come to not just hear it but believe it; since she sees it lived out in our family, I pray she comes to understand it on her own.
As for me, I'm gonna continue to buck the system of fear the world encourages us to live under. And while I'll admit to occasionally kneeling to the world's ridiculous fears (I did take the seriously adorable naked little tushie photos of my niece off of my shared photo site), I will absolutely denounce living in spirit of timidity. I will not be dictated by fear. I will continue to smile at strangers, offer up our guest room to friends of friends', provide a helping hand to a stranded biker, and yes, even shout my kids' names (sometimes both first AND middle names!) at playgrounds....And I will continue to seek the light when I find myself wanting to hide in the darkness of fear the world offers.
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
Until next time, peace to you!