Friday, October 30, 2015


Today, I'm doing a lot of reflecting.  I just had a long and drawn out debate with my daughter on the book of faces.  She thinks that everything boils down to racism.  I do not agree.  But I am so glad to see her being passionate about changing the world.  It's refreshing, really.  We get our passionate sparks for social justice ignited.  Sometimes they catch fire and spread and we truly effect change.  More often though, our sparks fizzle and maybe even go out. 

This leads me to the subject of the day: overthinking.  I'm an overthinker.  There are many links on social media connecting overthinking and depression. Some of those links lead me to places that are not good places for me to dwell.  I have had a couple of battles with depression.  I really could not give words even now to what that was like.  I could not begin to describe it or define it or even tell you why it happened.  I don't begin to speculate about what someone else's depression looks like.  I wouldn't debate whether medication is a necessary thing for anyone else-that is ultimately a very personal thing best worked out by doctor and patient.  Close friends and family are often helpful to gain perspective when perspective is lost-but an outsider has no business supposing.

One topic I do want to cover is this:  People who think deeply are more likely to suffer from depression.  Those of us who over-think and over-analyze have trouble fitting in sometimes.  Things cause us pain that others don't even bother to consider.  Ever heard any of the following phrases: "You think too much.", "You analyze everything.", or "I like you better when you are funny."  If so, we are brain cousins.

For instance, there is a health kick sweeping the nation.  I KNOW with all of my heart that it is something that has to happen. However, most of the industries left in this country are not the 'good for us' variety.  If we return to our humble beginnings, what happens to all the jobs?  If everyone gives up soda, what happens to coke jobs?  That's a ripple everyone will feel.  There are thousands of industries that support the soda industry.  The same with Wal-mart.  There are companies that employ 20-30 people who are paid well and their main and sometimes only customer is Wal-mart.  So, I cannot embrace the fad of returning to our roots because we really can't go back.  We are smarter as a society-but we no longer know how to survive.  My grandpa had generations of farming knowledge and that is why he was good at it.  He was used to working hard in the heat.  Hubby and I put out a garden every year and we are mostly embarrassed by how obvious it is that we neither like it or possess garden mojo of any kind.  If our family relied upon that garden to eat, we would surely perish.

See what I did there?  My mind goes from thinking I need to give up sodas to my family perishing from our inability to garden.  I can ripple effect things to death, because I THINK.  What saves me from the doom of my mind?  Joy and hope; two of the most beautiful words in the English language.  Two words that for me are synonymous with one big word-GOD.  You see, my thinker knows that we didn't just all end up here from nothing for nothing.  I KNOW I am created by a creator because I also create.  And just like that, the anxious, knotted stomach eases a little.  I don't have to keep the world spinning, someone bigger that me is in charge.  I do what I can to make the world a better place.  I love, work, think, write, learn, teach, and enjoy life to the fullest because there is something better ahead.  I don't know what it is, but I know it is truth.

God helps me stay balanced.  He keeps me stable.  The times in my life when I lost hope and joy were times when I doubted Him.  I got stressed out about not knowing what my next step was and overthinking all the things that could happen.  In a world full of conflict, scandal, and unrest, I am so glad to be leaning on something everlasting.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Originally published at my new gig.

John 8:3-11 is one of my favorite references to the teachings of Christ in the Bible.  What basically happens is that a whole group of Pharisees come to Jesus with a woman who is actually caught in the act of adultery.  The penalty, for her at least, was to be stoned to death.  They asked, "What shall we do with her?" Jesus answered that one who had not sinned should cast the first stone.  All of her accusers vanished.

Why is this my favorite teaching?  It reminds me.  Reminds me that I deserve punishment, but I am forgiven.  It reminds me not to be quick to stone someone else for their sins.  The message of Christ is mercy.  God is love and God is mercy. It is HIS WILL that NONE should perish.

Okay, so there is the scripture.  What does it mean?  Sometimes, I think we learn scripture, can quote it even...but it never actually sinks into our hearts.  I'm asking you to let those things sink in your heart. 
  • Let he/she who is without sin cast the first stone.
  • His mercies are new every morning.
  • Jesus did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it.
  • God's will is that NONE should perish.
I consider these my Christian guidelines, along with the MAJOR command: Love your neighbor as yourself.  So, now, a real life application for me.  Our church has some turmoil right now.  There are a couple of marriages on the rocks.  In addition to that, there is at least some suspicion of sketchy behavior on the part of one or more of those folk.  Because I am human, I've been very speculative.  I've observed things I don't like.  I've inferred things here and there.  I've engaged in some venting from time to time.  I've tried actively to be an encourager to all parties...but I have my leanings.  I don't really know the truth and I know full well that any truth in this matter will come with a bias.  It is largely none of my business, and yet it is effecting change in my church that isn't good.  What am I supposed to do?  Even with the person/persons I feel is wrong?  What did Jesus do with the adulteress woman?  HE GENTLY RESTORED HER.  Restored her, gently.  I don't want that to be the answer.  When I am wronged, I want to shout it from the rooftops.  I want all the world to know of my injustice!  IT ISN'T FAIR.  Someone should publicly confess.  We need to find out what happened and fix it.  And then I read through my guidelines again.

Perhaps then, my role is not to be the investigator that solves the crime or finds the guilty party.  Perhaps, my role is more of a supporting one, allowing God to do the heart work.  To gently and lovingly remind myself and others that none of us is without sin.  To remind a person who has jumped into the deep end of sin that God has a calling for them.  That no matter how far they roam, the mercies of God will not run out.  Otherwise, I'm just another Pharisee calling for the stoning of a sinner that could just as easily be me.  I choose grace.  I choose mercy.  I choose God's will that none should perish.  Above all else, I really want to love people as much as I love myself and I want a gentle restoration...not a demand of repentance or banishment.  Love and mercy are powerful tools, let's use them to make a difference in the lives of those around us.