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Tension is the space between where I am and where you are, but how will we fill it?

In life there is tension, and it's inescapable.

It's the pull between the has been and will be, the known and the unknown, the right and the wrong; my reality and your reality.

This tension although wound tightly by our stances, is really an open space. It's a space that surely can divide us, but if handled correctly, I would like to suggest that it can also grow us; maybe in some ways even united us.

You see, this open space between where I am and where you are, gets to be filled by our choices. Now, we can pull away and go on believing that we have every answer and that every thought which comes to our mind is pure perfection. Don't act all modest now. I know that happens because, well, "me too." I've done it and still at times revert to continuing it. In doing so, we choose to fill our space with more tension.

There is another option, we can step forward and fill that space with conversation. Not just any conversation, but an intentional conversation that takes the time to see the value in others. A conversation sparked by love and a selfless agenda. One that begins and ends with respect. One that seeks out individuals whose reality isn't your reality and takes the time to listen to their stories without casting judgement.

And when we step forward, we find that the tension which once kept us apart has been transformed into a tether binding us together. (cheesy rhyme that just sort happened)

Let's wrap up with these two thoughts ...

First, maybe you are reading this and cheering me on becasue you think it is about time that someone sees you beyond whatever external barrier they have in which they stand and pass judgement on you. I understand. I've been there. Also, I apologize because I too have stood at that those external barriers and passed judgement on others. I hope today, you have been refreshed by knowing that there are people out there who are loving and will sit down to hear your story. Don't lose heart! Sometimes it takes us time to realize our fault.

Second, maybe you are reading this and are hanging in the balance of what you see as a moral or even faith dilemma. On one hand you want to love others, but on the other hand, you feel as though perhaps your loving others or  sitting down with those in which you disagree with is like acceptance of their wrong doings. I understand. It is a constant struggle I seem to face, but it has recently been combated with these thoughts that are guided by my faith: Love is my greatest obligation in carrying out my faith. Conversation and different perspectives shouldn't cause me fear or offense, but rather be a place of refining and solidifying my own beliefs while possibly gaining the opportunity to share the hope I have with others. ( If you'd like to learn more about where I have drawn my conclusion on these thoughts, you can find it here.)

So there you have it. Life is filled with tension. It's the space between where I am and where you are, but we get to choose how we fill that space.

Go and fill your space with goodness, growth, and understanding!

When you realize you can't change the world, but you can better yourself.

In a world that widely varies on it's values, beliefs, and lifestyles, how can we ever expect to be heard or find peace? 

It's a crazy question, I know! The impossible of impossibilities I will admit, but I like challenges so I started thinking about how we could accomplish this. Thanks to my spaghetti brain, that thought led to a list of "what ifs"

     What if instead of trying to at peace with the entire world, we started with our neighborhoods and communities?

     And if that is too much, what if we just started within our homes? 

     What if instead of trying to be heard, we first started listening?  

     What if instead of wanting someone to peaceable to us, we started being peaceable to them? 

     What if instead of waiting on the world to change, we became the change that we wanted to see?

So what would it look like if we began to take on the challenges posed in the above questions? Well, I tried (that's a loose term for thought deeply on it and failed often) it, and here is what I found:

Practicing these things hasn't led me to perfection and never will, but it has made me better more often. It's helped me be more compassionate, less insecure, and has led to more fulfillment and contentment which in turn has allowed me to focus on my fulfilling my own purpose. (That's a nice way of saying that I mind my own business more often which really is a move towards world peace!)

And although I'll admit that I'm a little bummed to realize that you and I aren't going to change the world in one big sweep, we can still make incremental changes to better ourselves. This will help us positively impact the few around us. If done by enough people in enough places, it could eventually lead to world domination - umm ... I mean world change. 

Now go and brighten your little piece of the world! 

Opinions don't make us hateful. It's how we express them that do.

I am just learning to adult and with that came a hard lesson. (When I say hard, I may mean that is had me curled up in a fetal position, sucking my thumb, and rocking back and forth for a few days; however, that's not very adult like, and there is no evidence so let's move on)  

Here's the lesson: Because I have an opinion about something, doesn't make it a fact. Because someone disagrees with my opinion or I disagree with their's, doesn't make them or me a hateful person. What makes us hateful is the words and actions that we choose to use to express our opinions.

I know the world is full of places where we can exercise our freedom of speech, debate openly, live differently, and wildly disagree; however in doing so, let it be path of learning, becoming better individuals, and even in some cases healing not one of destruction and hate.

I guess what I am saying is let's offer the same respect to others as we would want for ourselves. (Ahh... the pesky ole' golden rule strikes again!) We just might be surprised at what happens when we move from name calling, obscene gestures, and physical violence to meaningful discussion. Maybe we would find that when we listen, we may also be heard.

And since I know that you are going to take on the challenge, here's to a week of respecting others, awkward conversations, and knowing that you only have part of the story!

Now get out there and make a difference!

Fragmented at Heart: Broken People Made Whole - Part 5

We have reached the final part of this series. I truly hope that along the way you have discovered that your brokenness doesn’t disqualify you from being made whole. In fact, I hope you have seen how a beautiful mosaic can be made with those stained broken pieces of your life.

Along the journey we have talked about healing, forgiveness, power, and even how our own actions play a part in a better story. In all of that, I have pointed to God and wisdom from both life experiences and scripture. Then in part 4 of this series, I pointed out the fact that we needed to be responsible for our part of the story and trust God to fulfill His promises.

How and why do we trust God? Knowing the complexity of the question I left some with, I signed off to leave it for another day, and today is that day.

Brace yourself because I am about to answer the seemingly unanswerable: I don't know. That's right you have read this painfully long series to hear me say “I don't know.”

I can't give you a one size fits all answer. I can't step into your life and sculpt a personal relationship with the person of Jesus Christ, the Savior that God sent for you. I can't tell you your how and why, but I can tell you mine.

I acknowledged that I needed a Savior who was Jesus.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20

Then I went on the journey of life with that acknowledgement. It has been ugly at times. I have gone my own way. I have been ignorant and arrogant, and I have been wise. I have been redirected and challenged. Through it all I can say I have never once been without anything I have truly needed. Yes, there has been temporary discomfort, but it's was to my benefit. It was in those times that I came out stronger and more equipped. So for me, trusting God has been more than a belief. It has been a life truth proven by experience.  

Trust is a process of personal experience. With what I’ve learned so far, I’d encourage you that wherever you are in the process to jump out and test the waters of God’s promises.