Archive for August, 2008
This is one of my favorite videos on youtube.
Eight reasons why I don’t share my faith, by Crossreach.
Coming home to a teenager is definately full of the unexpected, and somehow the unexpected is something I’d never expect. Hmmm…I guess that’s why it’s referred to as unexpected. After attending my son’s open house at the middle school, I returned home to be instantly involved in an unexpected conversation.
My 14 year old was on her cell phone with one of her high school classmates. She put the call on speaker phone and asked me to talk to her friend about a kitten. A what? A kitten? Now I am beginning to see that at this point, this has to be a well devised plan. I could just hear the conversation before I got home. “You talk to my mom. She’ll tell me no, but she might say yes to you!”
Of course, I wanted to know more about the kitten before making a decision, so I took the phone to logically and methodically (yeah, right!) work through this as any responsible parent would do. So I inquired about the shots, age, gender, health, type of kitten, and before I know it, her friend says, “Well, don’t you think it would help if you could SEE the kitten? My sister will drive me over!” (click) Now, that’s like a car sales man who gets you to DRIVE the car. It’s like clothes shopping and finding the outfit that FITS so well, you actually leave with it. Only this kitten was being delivered. And in two minutes. I grabbed our dog, Cheyenne (an Austrailian Cattle Dog), stuck her in the basement, and started frantically looking for our grown cat.
We have a cat already. And she’s sweet. She’s also sinister. When we see the dialated pupils, claws extended, and her back hunched up, we know to take cover. It’s a cat-tastrophie about to happen. And the dog and cat are best buds. How would a new cat fit into our family much less a five week old kitten?Well, asking all those responsible questions (ha, ha), listening to my oldest daughter’s pleas of, “Please Mommy, I earn enough money to save for her shots!”, and using my sound and unswayable judgement (yes, I know I got suckered) …we have a new female kitten.
Since she was found abandoned, my daughter named her Hobo. She’s an adorable white calico. She’s also playful and quite silly. So much that simple entertainment is right up her alley. I think she’ll fit into our household quite well. She’s playing with a dropped grape on the floor. (Not that we play with dropped grapes on the floor…really…we don’t!) The part that I’m about to figure out is how to introduce Hobo to Vixen and Cheyenne.
It’s a good thing I used my sound judgement to purchase peroxide and brand new box of bandaids while grocery shopping last weekend. This could get bloody. I can envision this now. Dog wants to play with kitten, kitten is freaked at the slobbering tongue on the big eared canine lurching towards her, and big cat being overly protective of what was her personal and sacred litter box.
I think we’re going to enjoy living with Hobo. Welcome to the family!
We all have them. Have what? I’m talking about difficult people in our personal and professional lives. You know…the whiners, the complainers, the naggers, the ones who think they will fall over and die if they have nothing to crab about. Today I had a Monday that I am soooo glad is over. Within the first three hours of work, I’d been chewed up, spit out, stomped on, dumped on, and well, by lunch time I my eyes were glazing over. I’d received so much of O.P.J. (Other People’s Junk), that I was feeling like an overflowing dumpster.
With garbage up to my neck from a rather explosive and hateful individual who blames everyone else for everything bad that happens in life, the stinch associated with that junk was overpowering. I seriously needed a clothes pin for my nose. It stunk that bad! (I know…that’s a nice mental image, huh?)A few weeks ago, at the Leadership Bootcamp I attended in Missouri, we discussed how sheep are managed, while people are led. However, the events that occurred today have me thinking that there is merit in both. Sometimes people should be managed and led. At first, I felt extremely defensive when this individual detinated. I was really starting to look for a foxhole to dive into, but the explosion happened before I had time to dig one! I didn’t write this person’s life story.
I haven’t made the choices that led to the consequences. It was an explosion of blame, finger pointing, cursing, and many childish antics. Seriously, it was the equivalent of a two year old temper-tantrum in the candy isle, only from a much older individual who definately knows better. Yet, it continues to be an issue, because a few people enable this behavior out of pity.
The past life events of a person is not an excuse to behave poorly and mistreat others. How we act as adults is a choice. Unfortunately we see so many times how talk show hosts and authors design fancy names for all the “excuses” for behavior that stem from childhood, poverty, fatherlessness, and even wealth. We don’t need fancy names for any of these. One word describes them all. Sin. And it’s pretty much all inclusive. Either we are living in sin or someone else is living in sin and it just happens to affect us all. It all boils down to sin in the world. Sin affects all of us! See, there is no fancy or new way of making excuses for our behaviors necessary.
When we get down and go back to the basics, sin is the one word that describes many of the causes for what happens in our lives. As adults, it’s time for us to live in the present. We can do this by using our past as part of who we have grown to become, so long as we use it to glorify God. This is done by using our experiences as catalysts for learning, growing, sharing, and teaching to those around us. As adults we focus on the present-what do I want my life to be now? We need to stop looking in the rearview mirror-it’s an accident waiting to happen…crash!
When we manage a difficult individual, it refers to how much we let them dump on us. When it’s hurtful, malicious, or borderline abuse, it is up to us to manage how much dumping we will take at any given time. It is important to protect your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Why not just let someone treat you repeatedly as their punching bag or dumping ground? Because, when we do that we fail to discipline them out of love.
Truly loving someone is to hold them accountable for their actions and reactions to life. If we do not discipline and hold one another accountable in spriritual truths and biblical teachings, we are actually enabling an individual to continue the behavior. If we teach a person (or teach ourselves) to become accountable and work through and own our afflictions, we are showing the same kind of love that God shows us. This type of love leads people. Managing difficult people is a small step toward getting them ready to be led. We stop the unnecessary blame games, dumping, and instead lead them by teaching accountability, independence, and how to be disciplined out of love.
How many times have we witnessed someone in a restaurant placing an order that includes a diet soda? “I’ll have the fried chicken, mashed potatos smothered in extra gravy, a side of home fries, and for dessert I’d like the triple scoop chocolate suicide sundae with extra whipped topping. Oh, and I’d like a Diet Coke with that.”
How much sense does that make? A full meal full of starch, carbs, little fiber, and enough fat grams to last a week. What difference does the Diet Coke make? The truth is, it makes very little difference. The food being consumed is not going to help keep this person healthy, nor is it going to assist them in maintaining their proper weight.
Thinking about this same scenario, could it be that we actually do this in other areas of our lives? How about with our relationships, addictions, and all of the little white lies we tell ourselves? We compromise by not going all the way to give up something we know we should do without. We think that this will not make us as guilty as if we’d not tried at all to be good with at least part of it. Truthfully, I think we do this more than we’d like to admit. Remember, we have become a society of justification.
“Well, I will ONLY go 10 mph over the posted speed limit. That’s not so bad.”
“Well, I will ONLY drink one beer before I get in my car to drive. That should be okay.”
“Well, today I’ll only smoke 5 cigarettes. I will be a little healthier.”
“Well, I can look at semi-nude pictures online. It’s better than the full blown stuff.
“WELL? What’s with all the wells? If you are not a water well digger, you shouldn’t have that many. This includes me, too, so I will use we instead. We shouldn’t have that many. If we find ourselves using this self justification to meet our wants instead of God’s wants for us, we are doing nothing more than digging ourselves into a hole. The next time we start a sentence for justification with “Well…” we should ask ourselves what we are trying to justify and for whom.
Each evening I tuck my nine year old in bed. She is the only one of my kiddos who still likes to be tucked in by Mommy. My teenagers will hardly walk within 50 feet of me, much less allow me to tuck them in. (I’m kidding! Well, when they need money, they’ll walk a little closer!) I’m really enjoying the last few years of tucking in that I have left before my youngest decides that she too, would rather just holler out, “G’night, Mom!”
As I walked upstairs, I collected about a dozen items off the staircase. There seems to be a continual “trail” of books, shoes, school papers, and socks telling me the story of where each child was in the house after school. Amazingly, I can tell by the trail of items where each kid was, what they ate, and what they were doing just by following the paths of stuff left out. They think I’m psychic, but I just know they’re messy…shhh, let’s keep that between us!)
Once I reached her room and deposited the collected items on her bookshelves, I grabbed her blankets, fluffed her pillows, and stopped dead in my tracks. Her white headboard had writing all over it. It was graffiti that had been done with a black permanent marker, and at this point I knew that there was no hope of washing it off. What almost angered me quickly turned into a joy. No, I wasn’t happy that she wrote in black marker all over her white headboard creating this detailed display of graffiti. I was taken by surprise and found my heart melting as my eyes were drawn to several crosses mixed into the writing.
My daughter’s graffiti consisted of phrases such as, “I love Jesus”, “God RULES”, “Jesus got nailed to the cross for me”, “God is love”, “He is the only one to believe in”, “Jesus is my hero”, and many more. So many more that it completely covered her headboard. She also drew crosses that she mixed in among her thoughts. Now, if a parent is ever going to be speechless, it’s going to be at a time like this.
To go from the initial reaction of anger to joy in less than five seconds is hard to describe. I quietly sat down on her bed next to her and listened to her read each thought she wrote. We talked about God, Jesus, and having to paint her bed white again. And then I found myself wondering if it really mattered that her bed be repainted. When a nine year old writes her love for Jesus in black on white, that’s fairly black and white to me that her faith is just that with nothing less in between.