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I attended church yesterday with a heavy heart, the events of Saturday in Charlottesvile, VA at the forefront of my mind. I was not however surprised. Racism is something that will always exist in this broken world. My pastor spoke that love and hate are intertwined. I cannot disagree, love is powerful and can be good. It means caring and wanting the best for the thing I love.
What do I love so much that I would hate? It’s a valid question. If my family or friends are hurt, I hate what hurts them.
As I look at my newsfeed on various social media outlets, and I look at the chilling photos of well dressed white men holding torches and seig heiling ( not sure of the proper verbage for it). I wonder how much do they love the idealogy of whiteness to hate the rest of God’s creations?
For we are all image bearers. My saviour was not white. He was on earth a middle eastern Jewish man who brought salvation to all.
One cannot be of two minds. You either love God and therefore love all. Or hate God and love the few. What you love is what you are most passionate about, what you expend time and energy on. If you are more passionate arguing on social media about things that attack your comfort than in working to love God and others than perhaps its time to reevaulate what you are truly loving. The heart is a decitful thing, and idol maker and can lead people away from God.
This weekend’s past events in addition to other events have made it evident that there are many who love the idealogy of whiteness over all. The death of Heather Heyer happened because a man so full of hate drove into a crowd on purpose. Because what he loves overrides the diginity of others. Because what he worships was being attacked in his mind.
I pray for him to repent and have a Paul moment ( Act 9:1-19). Paul was a man called Saul who persecuted Christians until Christ intervened, causing him to be blinded for a period of time. When he was able to see again, he saw the truth of who he had been and became someone new. I truly believe that people can change, to learn to love something beyond their own comforts.
My first inclination is to hate these people right back. I am angered and saddend but not surprised. I must fight against this because how can I claim to love Christ if I hate who he created? How can people meet Jesus if I am not willing to see them as people in need of Him?
I love God and therefore I fight against hate. I will do so by how I know best, my words. I will continue to work in my community loving people because they need love. I will engage in hard conversations and not back down. I will listen and read as I have been. I have much to learn and much to love. Most of all much to be in prayer for my own heart, my community and this nation.
I pray for there to be more love of God then of self preservation.
Books I have been reading
Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler
When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Bryan Fikkert
The New Jim Crow – Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
White Trash The 400 year untold story of class in America by Nancy Isenberg
Change is part of life. It is not always welcome and sometimes it’s wanted. At other times it is the opposite. Change means letting go of what I know. The routine, what is known and familar. I have clung to the things that have hindered my growth in Jesus because if fearing change. Other times I have tried to force change into my life with varying results.
Welcoming change is different from wanting change. For myself, welcoming it means submitting to what God has planned for my life. Some of the best things in my life have come from the unexpected and unplanned changes. Forcing me to move forward or even away from situations that were not healthy or had hindered my growth. I had no choice but to adjust and move forward. In welcoming change, I allow for growth in my trust of Jesus and what He has in store for my life.
Wanting change, in my experience has been an exercise of running away. Believing that in having this change that something else in my life would be cured. Each time I have been wrong. Often making things in my life more frustrating. I was not willing to see that in forcing change in my life, I was only exasperating other things. Sins I was unwilling to confess. That I falsely believed could be remieded by changing jobs or moving, what I was trying to leave behind ended up staying right with me.
Change is inevitable, often coming into my life swiftly and unexpectedly. As in anything else in life, how I react to it is what defines me. It reveals where I do place my trust and it is not always in Christ. Instead I look to people in my life for validation or inclusion for my hope. By leaning into the lessons of change in my life I have grown in my trust of Christ. Perhaps that the best reason of all to welcome change in my life. To understand that though much will change in my life, God will always be constant and unchanging. That is a great comfort for me.
As this blog posts I am now on day sixty-six of posting my happiness in life. Since April 1st of this year I have posted something that brings me joy. I participated in this about two years ago and decided to try it again this year. To be honest I don’t quite know why it began but I enjoyed loooking at my life and saying that in each day there is something good.
Some may find it fake ( which it can easily become if the poster is more concerned about gaining likes and comments than being honest) and others banal. I found in doing this exercise is I learned to be more grateful for what and who are in my life. I can take so much for granted. Not everything in my life is exciting or easy to define as happiness. But I try my best to define this as best I can.
There are some days I have to think about what to post, and at least once I refrained from doing so and posting twice the next day. I also two things to post the next day that showed something that brought me joy.
Happiness does not always look like happiness. At least for me, it can take me down the contemplative road. Some days it has been a breakthrough or a hard day that taught me something needed. Those days can be harder to post as they are harder to encompass properly in a photo per se. But the happiness is there, joy exists even in the hardest of days. Joy can also look different, it could mean a brief moment of levity or laughter. Or a quiet moment that gives perspective to what is going on in my life.
Happiness and joy aren’t perfect. They come at the most inopportune times as it with things in life. It doesn’t look like the perfect instagram photo and that is ok. Perhaps the pressure some people have felt in participating in this sort of thing is to be perfect, have something to post each day. And to make sure the post is perfect and exudes EVERYTHING happiness is supposed to be.
My advice, if you find it too much then stop. If this adds stress and anxiety then stop. If you prefer to not make it public on social media, then don’t, keep it to yourself. If you want to try it but a whole 100 days seems too much, then do ten or five. If it starts to feel forced and not at all what your reality is, then please stop. If you allow this project to be more organic and real, it won’t be forced or stressful.
I know that for me, in my life it has helped me to regain perspective. I may or may not do the full 100 days.