Monday, September 05, 2011

My Answer is Not Your Answer

I just wanted to say thanks to all of you that emailed me, posted comments or gave me a phone call with words of encouragement. Sometimes that's all you need is just a bit of encouragement, and not a list of questions, concerns or arguments.  So thank you.  

It was interesting though as I was talking with Beau and sharing those thoughts I had the first time, what other things I learned. I felt like people were thinking I was making a rash decision without having any thought about it. I started to realize that I respond the same way sometimes. I recognized that I also do it when others tell me about some decision they have made. It might not be the same decision I would have chosen. And even though I might not say it out loud, how often do I question why they made that decision. I question what they were thinking.  I too forget that they didn't make this decision just quickly either.  Instead I need to trust them that they are also doing things for their family or themselves that they feel is right and the best thing. Too often I think it's just our carnal nature to make judgments and come to conclusions too quickly. That never helps anyone.  How much better we need to be at supporting each other in these decisions we make as mothers and wives, and help and build each other. 

We are all so different. Our families are so different. Our children are oh so very different. That is what makes this world such a beautiful place.  We will all need to find out what the Lord needs us to do with our unique circumstances and family.  That is what I love so much about personal revelation. As long as we are doing the best we can to seek out the Lord's guidance and to have his spirit with us, we know that we can make decisions that will be best for our families and that all will be well. It doesn't matter if it doesn't fit someone else's circumstances.  Too often we ask Why? Why are you doing that? Why did you think that? Why are you pursuing that direction?  And often as women we feel  like we need to justify and rationalize all of our decisions, that we need to defend them when we are questioned - why? When ultimately it comes down to. Did we pray about it?  Did the Lord give us a direction to follow? Did we follow it? Are we at peace?  Then that's all that matters.   It should be the end of the conversation.  When someone asks why, sometimes instead of defending it till we are blue,  I wonder if we should just be saying... "That's the direction the Lord told us to go, so that's where we're headed. We feel peace and know that it will ultimately be the best thing for us."  And when we get an answer like that we should respond, that's AWESOME, and then give them support.  We should be supporting each other as women in the personal revelation we receive in our lives and the direction we are going. 

My sister also made the comment that she thinks many times we respond out of insecurities.  Do we hear what someone else is doing, and then start comparing ourselves against them and their choice. Well should I be homeschooling my children then? Am I a bad mom if I'm not teaching them? Is it bad if I want them to go to public school?  etc. We start making ourselves feel less, or comparing ourselves with others.  It's the terrible plague of women. Comparison. It's hard. I do it all the time myself. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves. We need to ask ourselves the same question when we feel that we are starting to compare ourselves to others.  Did I pray about it? Did the Lord give me a direction to follow? Did I follow it? Am I at peace? Then that's all that matters. We can encourage and support that woman going in a different path, and be at peace and content in our own path knowing that we are following the Lord's personal guidance for us. I've loved this quote from the book Contentment by Maria Covey Cole.

"However at times in my adulthood, the "five metastasizing cancers," as my father calls them - comparing, competing, criticizing, complaining and complacency - have reared their ugly heads in an effort to divert me from my divine mission and discourage me from accepting the Lord's guidance. I've found that engaging in any of these behaviors can lead to feelings of discontentment.  Unless we are particularly vigilant, it is easy to, as the saying goes, get caught up in the "thick of very thin things," ultimately distracting us from the true purpose of life."

Isn't it wonderful that if we really seek out the Lord's council, we know that he will give us the direction we need to go for everything in our lives for our own personal unique circumstances. Isn't it awesome that if we seek that guidance and council, and follow it, we can be content and happy knowing we are doing the best thing for our family and not have to worry about comparing our way to someone else's. We will feel content, we will prosper and grow, and we can be supportive of others in their directions knowing that we too are going in our own individual direction with the Lord as our guide.  

Too bad it's not always that easy to follow. :) Too bad it's so easy to quickly start making those judgments, start comparing ourselves and then starting to feel less than we are and start doubting our own direction.  I need to do better. I need to learn to recognize what I'm doing sooner. I need to stop worrying what everyone will think when my kids are outside playing for the 15 minute break, and if the neighbors are wondering why they aren't in school.  I need to stop worrying about the opinions of others. 

Maybe I really am too often holding that precious white fruit of personal revelation in my hand, and even eating it, yet the whole time looking at the great and spacious building of people mocking, questioning, and telling me I'm crazy eating that fruit, when they have things so much better and easier. Maybe I'm listening too much to them and while eating that fruit questioning if they are right.  How much better it would be if I turned and focused my eyes on the giver of that fruit.  I also need to turn and focus on the others there eating the fruit too, who might need my encouragement to not listen to those in the building, and encourage them that they made the right choice too. Instead of questioning and comparing, let us support, encourage and build.  Each in their own direction, choice and way, because my answer is not your answer.

A Word of Caution: I do not believe though that we should be supportive to those things that are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ and his teachings.  We do not need to be so supportive to all things that we find ourselves also building up the kingdom of the devil and his teachings.  Let us be supportive and loving of the person, but we cannot and should not support wickedness.  This is something else I've been pondering about lately.  How do we help, support and love individuals, but stand strongly against those things that part of the devils kingdom and are out to destroy the Lord's plan. How do we stand up against false teachings, ideas, behaviors and practices, when society accepts them, creates laws to protect wickedness, and we are seen as intolerant if we choose to do so. I'd love to hear any insights from you. 

1 comment:

Christy said...

Well said Shalae. What a different place we would live in if we could all just support one another. I am so thankful that we live in a country where we all have the freedom to make different choices, about school, church - etc., and it is a shame when we criticize each other when we don't all choose the same thing. I am so happy for you and hope you guys have an amazing year (and beyond)!