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Our Worst Enemy.

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Fat.  Ugly.  Worthless.  Stupid.  Short.  Useless.  Unable.  Lazy.  Invisible.  Weird.  Quirky.  Broken.  Alone.  Indecisive.  Anxious.  Gullible.  Weak.  Insecure.  Detached. 

When you have an overachiever at the office, you may feel a bit frustrated.  Maybe you will call them names to your peers, accuse them of sucking up to the boss.   You mutter on the phone to others finding anything negative to say about them that you can.  It’s ok to vent.  We are human.  But, what you don’t know is this.  They work hard to hide pain.  They work hard to block it out.  They don’t have what you may have at home, like family.  Work fills the void.  For 8 hours, they are somebody.  Somebody they don’t hate.  Somebody they wish they could be all the time.  Somebody who matters.  She goes to sleep at night, excited to go back to feeling this way in the morning again.  Weekends are long and vacations aren’t necessary.  She doesn’t help everyone for attention, she helps because to her, this is her family.  Work is her life.

Your cousin didn’t show up to your grandfather’s funeral.  Terrible, right?  You instantly talk about how it’s not right and how selfish they are.  They must be living it up or found something better to do.  Everybody goes to pay their final respects.  Anyone who doesn’t is inconsiderate and you will not associate yourself with them again!  What you don’t know is this.  Your cousin sat in the car, shaking and crying for an hour.  Hyperventilating because of anxiety.  Uncontrollable anxiety which can hit at any given moment.  She wants to be there, she’s trying to be.  Her brain just won’t let her.  She prays to God to get her through, just for today.  It’s too much.  She doesn’t want this to happen at the funeral.  The attention shouldn’t be on her, the focus should be on the beautiful memory of her grandfather.  She decides to stay home to make sure she doesn’t ruin anything once again.

You notice somebody wearing an outfit a little snug.  Instinctively, you make a comment to a friend about how she should not be wearing that.  “I’d kill myself if I looked like that.”  The girl overheard you, closed her eyes and could feel the sting of the tears prickling.  You don’t know that she heard you.  You also don’t know that it took her years to get to this point.  To get to the point of working hard to lose weight.  To feel a little bit more comfortable in her skin, she took the plunge and wore something a bit out of her comfort zone.  She convinced herself 7 times this morning, changing in and out of other outfits, to finally leave the house in this.  She felt good, yet could still hear his voice in the back of her mind.  You see for years she heard from someone she thought loved her about how disgusting she was.  How she should never wear anything aside from oversized clothing.  How she must wish she looked like other women, so she could actually put on a bathing suit.  Today took a lot for her.  But, listening to somebody confirm what he always said made her realize that maybe he was right after all.  She didn’t report to work that night.  She couldn’t handle feeling worthless anymore.  Today, you helped her reach her final breaking point and you probably didn’t think about her feelings for a minute.  She didn’t even look bad at all, you just knew you probably couldn’t pull it off yourself. All because in your own mind, you aren’t physically where you wish you were. Ten seconds of your own insecurity is all it took to break someone down.  Someone who finally gave up.

If we all took a moment to understand each other’s stories, we would know that there’s so much more under the surface.  We see people passing by and we think we know everything about them.  The truth is you probably don’t know even a 1/4 about why they are the way that they are.  Maybe instead of spewing hatred, maybe we can try to spread more love.  God only knows how much we all need it.  It’s a cruel world, but for a lot of us, the darkest words come from inside our own heads.  Our own worst enemy tends to be ourselves.  If we are critiquing ourselves throughout the days, do we really need strangers or friends pointing out our insecurities verbally?  We need more love.  If you took a split second to stop and think before making the rude remark, maybe even changing it to a positive comment, maybe you would be saving a life.

We all have stories.  We all have felt broken.  The last thing we need is for the pieces to continue to fall.  I challenge you to be the glue.  Mend people back together.  Understand who they are without doubting them.  Rather than turning to vocalizing the faults of others in an attempt to you feel stronger, try using your own broken heart to put people back together.  We are all capable of doing this.  Imagine being the person whose compliment saved another human!    You may not even realize it happened, but I guarantee the person you saved will always remember your words.  Make them good!

Our mind is our own worst enemy, don’t contribute to the chaos.  Help the words in the minds of others become positive.  You have the power to be the good.  You have the power to be a light for others.  Don’t leave them in the dark.  Shine all your light on them and I guarantee He will do the same for you!

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Religious, Churchy, Jesus Freak.

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Religious, Churchy, Jesus Freak.  Just a few of the names I have heard describe me since becoming a new Christian over one year ago.  I am amazed how my faith could push some people away.  I’m not scary, although I try to be when it comes to reprimanding my children (doesn’t work well).  I’m a pretty nice person, although I have a terrible tendency to laugh when people fall.  It’s a terrible habit, most likely some type of coping mechanism that I haven’t been able to shake for at least 25 of my 30-something years (this did not work out well in my summer camp counselor days).  But, still I wonder why my new-found faith pushes people away?

One thing that comes to mind is what many Christians are portrayed as in the media. Most of the time we hear the bad things that happen, over the good.  I have heard people describe Christians as having holier than thou, judgmental personalities.  Same with other religions.  As unfair as it is, there are still folks in the world who associate Muslims with terrorism.  That’s not an accurate comparison.  You do not damn an entire religion due to a few very evil seeds.  Same for Democrats, Republicans, different races, males, females, etc!  It is not truth, nor fact.  Yet it still happens.

It’s not my job to fight to make people believe in the same faith as I do.  It’s not my job to judge or look down on someone who does not believe in God (I married a man who did not believe).  It’s also not my job to preach my beliefs for the sole purpose of proving your belief wrong.   That’s not who I am and in my heart I do not believe that is who Jesus would have wanted me to be.

It is my job to be a light to the world, to accept everyone as they are.  I tend to observe and internalize my opinions, rather than putting it out on social media for the world to see.  You’ll find numerous amounts of family photos and silly kiddo quotes on my page, but you are not going to see me attacking other religions, political parties, or anyone. That is not Christianity to me.

I support gay rights.  I have several friends who are in the LGBT community and I love them all.  The thought of judging them all because I love Jesus and read the Bible does not even cross my mind.  While I know people who are incredibly vocal about their hatred for those that are gay, that is not me.  That is not the Christianity I practice.  Again, that is not what loving Jesus and believing in God means to me.

To me, loving Jesus means come as you are.  We all sin.  Every single one of us.  Myself, my husband, my kids, every single one of you, even those who hate.  Just because you hate strongly does not make you free of sin.  I feel that you can be gay and love Jesus.  I also think you can be gay and not believe in Jesus, but guess what?  I’ll still love you just the same.  This is the Christian that I am.  The funny thing is that while I like to call myself an Independent when it comes to politics, I always tend to lean more to the right. Again, not all Republicans (or Democrats) are the same.

I will testify all day long about the impact that loving God has had on my life in the last year and half.  I will tell you stories of God providing for us in a time where I didn’t think it was possible.   I’ll talk to you about what it means to tithe in our church and what that has done for our family.  But, I will not talk to you about why you should believe in all the same things that I do.   I also don’t want you to talk to me about why my beliefs are ridiculous.  It’s called being respectful, a characteristic  that I truly wish more would practice.  Differing opinions should not give you or I the right to be disrespectful to another human beings.  It’s not ok, even if you justify it with your own hatred.

I’ll continue shining my light into the world.  I’ll also promise to be a safe place and a voice for anyone feeling like they are shamed, scared, alone, or persecuted, Christian or non-Christian!  I am here for you and you are loved by me as a brother or sister.   Please do not let the darkness that some pour into the world impact your own light and spirit.  Keep pushing and keep fighting and know that I have your back!

It’s ok if you contact me regarding my opinions.  I’d love to have a conversation, as long as there’s a mutual respect involved.  It’s ok for you to disagree with me!  It’s also ok if you continue calling me a Religious, Churchy, Jesus Freak.  I’ll take it, I will own it and I will continue practicing being the loving, accepting, caring, non-judgmental, Jesus-loving Christian that I am.  Because that is what being a Christian means to me.

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16