The Breathing Room.

I was listening to a sermon in the car with my mom the other day. I have no idea who the preacher was, she listens to a wide variety.  He basically called out the “speak the truth in love” people. He said we have been called to speak the Truth, with a capital T, not say something that’s true.

Tonight, I’m not going to be speaking any Truth in love, but I have a few things to say that I hope can get an amen, or at least get the ol’ cogs moving in that head of yours. It may seem random, but since this will probably be my only post of this nature, I want to be sure I get it all in. So, here goes:

1.) In my “sociology” class in high school (quotation marks because the teacher was an ex-parole officer, so it was really more criminal justice class), we learned about how societies function (only in the first week, after that it was all mock-trials). I understand when people say in America we shouldn’t ban things like drugs, prostitution (I want to talk about this more later), or gay marriage.I consider myself to be fairly libertarian, so the old adage of “If it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg, what business of it is mine?” holds true in most cases. Like, I don’t think the government should have their dirty hands in marriage at all, as it is a covenant between two people and God. However, isn’t it up to the society to decide what is and is not acceptable? You could live on an island where it was perfectly acceptable to wear spaghetti as clothing. However, if you come to America wearing spaghetti, be ready to be looked upon strangely.  There are nudist colonies where being naked is accepted, but if you walk into Albertsons naked, be ready for a indecent exposure charge coming your way. I can hear some of you thinking, Ok, where are you going with this… so here it is: Even if legislation dictates it, it’s up to the society to accept and execute it. Right now we have a government who doesn’t like some laws, so they choose to not enforce them (i.e. immigration) so why can’t We The People choose to not obey some of the laws we don’t like? It’s a fair question, isn’t it?

2.)I said earlier that I wanted to talk about prostitution. Lately I have heard MANY people saying that it should be legalized or at least decriminalized. To these people I would like to say this: No woman who knows her true value WANTS to be a prostitute. You could say, yeah, maybe it’s not her dream job, but no one grows up wanting to work at McDonalds either. Touché. Here is something I would like to pose to anyone who says it should be legalized: Why do men need to pay for a woman to help them masturbate? I say masturbate because there is no emotional connection between the two parties, it’s purely physical. Why can’t these men find other ways to quench their desires? As a Christian, I don’t believe it’s ok to have sex outside of marriage, but if these are two consenting adults, why does money have to exchange hands? People joke that marriage is basically the same thing, but I think if that describes your marriage, that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. Also, on another front, maybe instead of paying for sex, these men should be asking themselves “What is so wrong with me that I’m not getting it for free?” Maybe there are deeper issues that need to be addressed, and by legalizing it, they will never have to examine themselves…

3.) Ladies, we’re doing it wrong. I think all girls need to listen to the sermon “Dominion” by John Gray. One of the things he says that stuck with me was, “If you want a husband, then you need to carry yourself like a wife, otherwise you’ll have the spirit of girlfriend and little boys will play with you.” I was standing in the kitchen and I made my friend rewind it so I could hear it again, so feel free to reread it now. We’ve all heard the saying about free milk and a cow, and frankly I don’t like being referred to as a cow, but it’s a good analogy. If your boyfriend asks you to move in together because it makes more financial sense, tell him to hit the road. That’s guy speak for getting more of what he wants without having to make a commitment. When we as women hear that we hear “undertones”. We hear, “move in now to save some money for the big wedding we’re going to have someday.” We hear undertones because that’s how we speak to each other. “You’re wearing that?” “Your shoes are super cute!” “Maybe you should grow out your bangs…” If you’re a woman, you heard my undertones.

4.) College really isn’t a big deal, and no one cares about your alma mater except you. There. I said it. Also, your Prius isn’t saving the world.

5.) My mom and dad were never my best friend, which is why I love and respect them. If you have kids, never lower yourself to their level, it will damage the relationship. I know I’m not a parent, but I do have 2, and I’ve had friends whose parents wanted to be their friend instead of their parent. When I was a teenager, I wished my parents could be cool. I couldn’t understand why my friends with cool parents liked my parents so much. Now I understand that I got to be a kid when I was supposed to be a kid, while my friends are trying to navigate the blurred lines between the two, even now that we’re in our mid-twenties.

6.) I’m from the suburbs, with basically a crime rate of 0, so when I go into the city, I assume everyone is a murderer, rapist, or purse snatcher. I don’t give deference to skin color. If I’m in an unfamiliar place, I treat everyone equally as suspects in my could-be murder, so I really resent President Obama’s remarks that people who lock their car doors or hold their purses tighter to them when a STRANGER is around are racists. There have been a lot of things President Obama has said that are alarming, to say the least. I used to pray for him, that God would give him wisdom to lead this country into prosperity… now I’m praying that he will be impeached. If you think that makes me a racist, I’ll pray for you, too.

7.) I really try to not critique brothers and sisters in Christ. I know we’re all doing the best we can, and we can only walk in the light that we have… but I absolutely hate when Christians say “The world is just getting darker…” I mean, did you forget that YOU are the light? Satan is not winning this war, Christians are just losing it. We accept the lies that are being told about us, to us. We think, who am I to do this or that… but have you forgotten so readily who you are? Whose you are?

I’m getting tired of ranting, and you’re probably tired of reading, or you didn’t even make it this far. This world is not perfect, I’m not perfect, and I didn’t set out to offend or attack anyone tonight. I merely needed a space where I could breathe. If my breathing room has enlightened or challenged you in anyway, I’m glad. I think sometimes we all just need to say what’s under our breath. Air it out. Let it go so we can start over.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

— Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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Sides.

I heard someone say “The Christian side of me is leaning this way, but another side is going the other.” This really got me thinking today, because we all have sides, don’t we? We are completely double-minded in our thinking. To me, it is just a lack of faith, or having an “out” in case things with God don’t work out. That little bit of protection in saying, “Well, I never REALLY thought that was going to happen.”

But what if having “sides” is what is keeping you from experiencing all that God has in store for you? What if that doubt is stealing the things that faith has promised?

I have told my friends many times that for me, there are no “gray areas.” Things are either black or white. It’s only been recently that I’ve discovered why this has always been a solid truth in my life. It’s the simple fact that to make gray, black and white have to mix, and if God is represented by white, then He can never, ever mix with black. He is perfect. It’s like He is coated in NeverWet. Darkness cannot touch Him or mix with Him.

Gray is a cop-out color. It’s the “well, let’s just agree to disagree” color, that puts important issues on the shelf. What good has that ever done? At dinner on Friday, I mentioned something political, and a girl disagreed with me. She said, “Well, let’s just not talk politics at the table.” I wanted to ask why people never seem to want to talk about things that matter because it might be uncomfortable, but I was cut-off. Nothing got resolved, no one came out of that conversation changed. It’s really sad.

I don’t want to be someone who has “sides.” I want to be fully committed in everything I do. I want to not be consumed by emotions, but driven by the Holy Spirit. I want “me” to be taken out of the equation, until it’s just God using this vessel to further His Kingdom, for His Glory, for His purpose.

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” — 1 John 1:5

Fallen.

Life is hard. It’s a truth we all think we’ve accepted, but sometimes we forget that life is hard for other people, too. Over the last school year, I had the privilege to serve as caregroup leader. It is probably the most eye-opening experience I could ever have at the age of 23. I’ve had the opportunity to see people’s potential through the eyes of God. I’ve had to see people struggle. I’ve had to learn grace and forgiveness, even when I was right and should have been on the receiving end of an apology. I also had to learn how to answer tough questions.

A few years ago, I picked up a copy of “Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Toughest Hour.” by Gayle Haggard, the wife of Ps. Ted Haggard. Before I read the book, I had actually never heard of him or the scandal. I don’t know why I picked up a copy, the title just kind of spoke to somewhere down in my heart. After reading the book, something changed in me. I always thought that if my (future) husband were to ever cheat on me, I would walk away. I would hope that would never happen in the first place, but having read this book, I found a new level of grace.

I am more willing to accept that people are just people. We all fall down, some of us just do it more publically. We all would hope that the leaders of our church were immune to the temptations of this world, but the simple fact is that they are not. I had someone ask me if they should still listen to Benny Hinn’s sermons even though he and his wife had marital trouble. Instead of answering, I asked them this question: Does this trial in his life negate the truth of the words he has spoken? After all, isn’t that what they wanted to know? If a person does one bad thing, does everything they have ever done go into the garbage?

As humans, we love to hold grudges and keep the upper hand. To tell you the truth, I really had a hard time listening to people sing the praises of Joel Osteen after I heard some remarks he made on Larry King Live. I thought, as a pillar of the Christian community, the fact that he could say that he doesn’t know if Jesus is the only way to Heaven is just crazy. But then God reminded me about Peter denying Christ in a moment of fear, and I realized that I could forgive Joel Osteen.

In the same way, we treat our political champions like they are God. We love when they say things we like, but if they go off of our agenda in even one way, we drop them like we’ve been burned. But I have to tell you, Americans, that people are just people, and there is no one out there who will agree with you 100% of the time. No one is going to always make you happy. I have done it. I loved Chris Christie when he was yelling at the teachers union thugs. I loved Marco Rubio until he joined a gang. I loved Rand Paul while he was filibustering against drones. But they all have their faults, and I was ready to leave them in the dust. Maybe I don’t want them to be president anymore, but I definitely want them on my team. I don’t want to put them down just so that I can feel like my opinion is better and more “right.”

I don’t want this to seem like a “you have to settle” post. I really don’t like being told that conservatives need to change their core values to get more people into their camp. I agree that there are more outreach opportunities, but to change who you are to get what you want will never end with satisfaction. I just want people to realize that we don’t have to be 100% in agreement with everyone in order to stand beside them. We are all going to say things that sting a little, or rub us the wrong way. We need to learn how to react better, then maybe things will start to change.

“The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.” Psalm 34:19