I Got Such a Dirty Look…

I Got Such a Dirty Look…

Remember the 50s and 60s when classrooms of kids sat in perfect rows, pencils at the ready, eyes glued on the teacher who sagely lectured the captive audience? I do. I was the kid that was never quite in her seat, never quite learning enough, always getting report card comments, “She needs to pay more attention in class,” and, “Not working to her potential”.

I haven’t changed.

I attend a weekly lecture series, and as in childhood days, I was getting little out of it. Last week I quit trying to fit the mold, and chose to listen in a way I knew would work for me. I opened the Wood Puzzle game on my tablet, and, as I knew would happen, I was able to fully concentrate on the lecture. Why? Because a part of my brain was occupied elsewhere. At least that’s how I see it.

If I listen to radio talk shows when I drive and I take in what I hear. If I play my Wood Puzzle game while watching documentaries, the information registers. For me, I need that added semi-mindless distraction to fully engage with what I’m listening to.

We’ve come to accept this with people who doodle during a meeting or in a lecture. We’re okay with that. Now, please, lets take this acceptance to the next level.

When I left that lecture last week my head was happily filled with interesting new concepts to cogitate on, but my pleasure was dampened by the withering look of an acquaintance who had been sitting behind me, and saw, I presume, what I was doing.

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May I present this to those of you who lecture, those of you who preach, those of you who sit beside others who don’t appear to be listening attentively?

Kids who learn in a variety of ways become adults who learn in a variety of ways. Such as:

  • Reading out loud, to both hear and see the information
  • Closing their eyes (not sleeping) to reduce visual distraction
  • Head down on the table to still the body
  • Doodling, or playing games on a mobile device
  • Pacing at the back of the room
  • Laying flat on the stomach (some say this accesses the reptilian brain. Go figure)

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For those of us who learn outside the norm, we have to make a choice. Distract the lecturer or preacher, behave the way those around us expect us to behave, or listen in a way that works for us.

Are there others out there like me? What do you need to do when you listen so you can fully hear?

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Photo Credits:  href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/29998366@N02/3916313892″;  Neil. Moralee <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/62586117@N05/17040346110″>Edna;  Alan Light <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/42274165@N00/30143496453″>Iowa City;  oggin <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/85755792@N00/11945521824″

 

If I have to be convicted…

If I have to be convicted…

Probably most in today’s western society have heard this description for love.

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 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

I read it again this morning, and my heart swelled.

This is how God loves us! Loves me! 

I felt safe, significant, covered. It gave me strength.

And then I read it again, but with myself in mind.

Is this how I love others? 

I felt …    I felt …  convicted.

Uh oh.

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Knee-jerk reaction: I shifted my focus.

This isn’t how so-and-so was showing love this week!

STOP!

God reigned me in.

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“Not your monkey, not your circus. Go back to your first two thoughts.”

I didn’t want to. It’s way easier to focus on someone else’s failings than on my own. Know what I mean? But I did. With effort.

If God loving me this way makes me feel safe, significant, covered, and strong enough to be convicted in the changes I need to address, am I loving others so they can feel safe, significant, covered, and strong enough to face the things they need to address?

There. Better. Now I had a proper focus. Even with so-and-so. I shoved the knee-jerk thought aside and built a conscious focus:

How can I love those folk who have frustrated me, annoyed me, and let me down so they’re supported the way my Lord supports me?

That, then shall become my prayer.

If I have to be convicted, Lord, may it be in a way that both grows me and allows me to strengthen others. Amen.

179:365 Alt – Little Sister by Charamelody via Attribution Engine. Licensed under CC NC.

 

 

When being a Grown Up Sucks

When being a Grown Up Sucks

I do the grown-up thing pretty well, most of the time. But some days this whole mature, responsible, doing-the-right-thing-the-right-way adult role is too much.

Like this week. Things are okay, but at times intense. I needed a break. What to do? What to do?

And then it came to me. Take a vacation! Not away from this place, but away from this time.

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First – clothing. I dug out my scruffy jeans, reminiscent of my hippy days, faded and frayed, and ever so comfy, and added a tie-dyed t-shirt. Considered Birks or mocassins. No. It’s winter. I wore sensible shoes so my feet would be happy.

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Then I dug out my old CDs – James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkle, and drove the city running errands, with the heater on and the window open, tunes and voice blaring, bopping to the blues at every stop light.

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And do you know, it worked? I felt like I’d left my adult world behind, if only for a few hours, and enjoyed a time out (in a good way). While the 60s wasn’t the best decade of my life, it was the least responsible, and I had a degree of independence.

Yeah, it was nice.

Now I’m thinking I just might have to pop back to the 70s next weekend. Wanna come with?

Or maybe there’s something you like to do when you’re tired of being a grown up.

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photo credit: IamNotUnique   photo credit: Giuseppe Milo (www.pixael.com)    photo credit: Hindrik S   photo credit: Sarah Elizabeth Altendorf   photo credit: Pragmagraphr

 

The Folly of Fixing People – 1 Goal and 3 Outcomes

The Folly of Fixing People – 1 Goal and 3 Outcomes

I used to be seriously broken. For years I was broken. As much as I tried to shield them, my family and friends had to bear the consequences of my brokenness.

Then I got better. I got strong. I returned to my previous functionality – in fact I was better than before because through that brokenness, through hitting bottom, I’d grown and was now much more able to be who God had made me to be.

Having seen the world through broken, damaged eyes for so many years, and now being on the other side, wanting to help, to fix people, I’ve come to understand a few things.

THE GOAL: We want this person to come to a place of peace and stability.

THE OBSTACLES: As human beings, we’re limited. Because of that, three things can happen when we try to fix someone.

1. We become tired – tired of hurting for them, tired of offering help and being turned down, tired of giving them what they say they need, and having them crash again and again and again. Yes, tired.

Three on bench

2. We become discouraged. It feels like a constant exercise in failure – seeking supports, advocating for the person, giving of our time, money, love, energy, putting our own lives on hold, hearing the advice of others, trying to implement it, or knowing it won’t work, but the others still insist that if you followed these steps the broken person would be fixed, and taking on that burden of responsibility. Yes, discouraged.

Tired man

3. We want our own life back. Sounds selfish, so we try not to dwell on it, but it’s true. When we’ve tried and tried to help someone, often for years with no lasting results, we want to give up, tell them they’re on their own, we’ve had it. We simply don’t have the energy to care anymore.

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That last one, I think, is the hardest of all. Do we have to turn off the love and hope we have for someone so we can get on with our own life? Is that something we should even attempt? It goes against everything most people stand for.

If you were hoping for answers, I don’t have them. I’m asking you.

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What’s your take on this? How do you handle it when you can’t fix a broken person who’s front and centre in your life?

Do you know the difference?

ForgiveForgiveness takes one person.

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Reconciliation

Reconciliation takes two.

 

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