3 Better Ways To Discuss Politics

Whether our next president was going to be the first woman or the first billionaire, we all knew history would be made.

Even before this campaign, I’ve been reevaluating my politics and social media for some time. To establish some equilibrium, I’ve given myself some ground rules when discussing politics that include these three things…

1. Beware the blade that cuts both ways.

Authentic tolerance is a two-way street.

In politics it is important to clarify what is being discussed – personal opinion, a definition of morality or government’s right to enforce. These are not the same things. I can immediately think of topics I would have different conversations about, based on which one was being discussed.

Government interference is sometimes necessary, which is why it exists. However, when debating policy, I try to consider how it would feel if the shoe were on the other foot. Since administrations change at least every 4-8 eight years, eventually it is.

Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery,
I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
-Abraham Lincoln
 

2. Don’t let anyone speak for everyone.

One main reason peace is so difficult is individuals will always try to speak for groups.
 
I cannot speak for my entire gender, race, belief system or political party – and neither can anyone else. Many claim to, but voting results reflect otherwise because these are broad demographics, representing many different people and ideas.
 
Sadly, someone will always pit one group against another for some kind of profit or power, while camera lenses focus us on whatever percentage is causing a stir. If we’re not careful, we’ll start assuming about people as groups instead of learning about them as individuals.

If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed.
If you do read it, you’re misinformed.
 -Denzel Washington

3. Bad methods ruin a good message. 

It’s easy to make someone look bad, but it’s difficult to help them see well.

Social media has certainly provided us with ample sources of scathing things to re-post without actually having to say them ourselves. But If we want to make a difference in the world and respect our relationships, how we say what needs to be said is really important.

Insulting people does not work if your objective is to persuade…

You know what happens when you’re insulted?
You become even more dogmatic in holding your 
incorrect belief than you were before you were insulted.
– Trey Gowdy

I know we don’t always have the choices we want. I had lost so much confidence in politics, I was almost to the point of not voting anymore. Someone shared something they heard in a sermon for those who felt the way I did. The point was that if we stop participating, leaders will stop factoring us in altogether, assuming we just won’t participate. I hadn’t really thought of that before.

There’s a time to speak and a time to be silent (Ecc. 3:7), but politics shouldn’t be something we never talk about. Elections are important. Somebody is certainly paying attention to them and creating the rules we all have to live by, with or without our participation.

I want to be realistic and reasonable. I want to remember the truth often lies between two extremes. I don’t want to be manipulated into fighting, so when it’s time to talk politics, I will be respectful.

Darkness can’t drive out darkness; 
only light can do that.
Hate can’t drive out hate; 
only love can do that.
-Martin Luther King Jr.
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God, I’m Sorry For Praying This

Blog

Have you ever felt the need to apologize to God for something you were praying?
I have.
 
One of the greatest privileges of prayer is to bring all the things we care about to God, knowing He cares about us (1 Pet. 5:7). 

But sometimes I can trace so clearly the path of bad choices (mine or another’s) forming the disaster I’m bringing for healing that I have to tell Him: “I’m sorry. I know we always do this – we make a mess and then bring it to You to fix.” Over and over.
 
And yet, here I am.  Again.
 
Another mess needs fixing.
 
So, as I try to wrap my people and situations in prayer, I find myself telling God: “I’m sorry. I know this is what we do…”
 
If you feel discouragement or shame over the help you need from your Heavenly Father, be encouraged He already knows.
 
If we need to make changes, we work on those.  If others created the situation that’s hurting us, we forgive them and pray for them too. And we try to remember to always be thankful (Ps. 100:4, 1 Thess. 5:18).  But we can still ask for all the help we need (Heb. 13:6). 
 
How clever of our enemy (Eph. 6:12, 1 Pet. 5:8) to whisper in our ear that God doesn’t want to hear about another mess we’ve made, cutting us off from a path of repentance and healing and better things to come. 
 
So, even if I have to start those prayers with something like “God, I’m sorry, I know this is what we do”, I’m going to pray them anyway.  Because even when I feel helpless, I have the hope that even “things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Lk. 18:p27).  
 
“God can do more in a moment than you can ever do in a lifetime.”
-Dr. Ronnie Floyd
 
 

Humilty & Something More Toxic

You always do this. You always fail. You’re a horrible person.   

Statics show people who are verbally abused or bullied can share some similar effects like anxiety, depression, substance abuse, mental health problems, and suicide.

As a society we’ve become better educated about relationships that are unhealthy. But toxic relationships can be harder to recognize when you’re the one in them.

Especially if the toxic relationship is with yourself.

No one is perfect.  Everyone makes mistakes. When that happens, humility is healthy. It’s right to recognize I’m wrong, seek forgiveness, and make changes.

But in those areas where I repeatedly fail, I begin to say things to myself that aren’t humility.  They’re something more…toxic.

And it doesn’t even work.  Instead of living as a conqueror (Rom. 8:37), I’m feeling defeated and still struggling with the same things.

There’s probably a reason that happens.

In an article on pureintamacy.org, Steven Earll wrote: “All addictions have a strong component of self-destruction…When an addict feels self-hate they will often indulge in the same addictive actions to quiet the shame. This results in more self-destructive behavior and increased shame…After a period of time indulging in self-hate, the addicted person will want to feel good. The need to escape the hate will lead to fantasy, which begins anew the addictive cycle.”                                         (My emphasis added.)

Not all struggles are as obvious or severe as something like substance abuse.  But even if we’re successful in other areas, we can still feel like failures in bad cycles of thoughts or behavior.  And the longer we’re unable to break those cycles, the more we lose respect for ourselves.

So, I’m trying something new. When tempted to do something that I’ll hate and bully myself for later, I’m learning to pause and remind myself something first.

Stop loathing yourself.  

“Be careful how you are talking to yourself

because you are listening.”

– Lisa M. Hayes

Stopping that negative dialogue doesn’t fill me with pride. Self-hatred and pride are just 2 sides of the same coin – both centered around me without God.

Is there something you say to yourself in moments of failure that you wouldn’t say to others because, even if it’s true, it would harm more than help?  Sometimes we harm ourselves more than we help, and then we can’t understand why we don’t have the strength to change.

“You must learn a new way to think

before you can master a new way to be.”

-Marianne Williamson

True humility produces confidence from the right places.  It can face past failures and still hope for a better future.  It says “I can do all things through Christ” (Phil. 4:13) because “with God all things are possible” (Mk. 10:27).

And when we really start believing those things, we can take those first fragile steps toward real change.

“in all these things we are more than conquerors

through him that loved us.”

(Rom. 8:37)

Connecting

Hey, everyone,

I wanted to write a little about connecting since I’m still trying to get the hang of this blogging thing.

 

 

Social Media

I finally got my sidebar figured out. If you’d like to find me on Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest, my links are to the right.

 

Blog

I try to blog every other week (usually a Tuesday).

If you’re not already following, there is an option on my sidebar now to do so. If you are already following, thank you.

 

Thanks everyone.

 

-Aubri

 

 

Introducing Myself

I’m new to blogging, so it’s been brought to my attention I should introduce myself.

 

Who Am I?

My name is Aubri.

I’m currently in my 30’s. Family is my life.  I’m a wife and mom of one son.

I’m from Florida, so it’s no surprise I love the beach, seafood, and sunshine.  I also enjoy cooking.

 

What Do I Write About?

Jesus.

Like many others, I have been burned by bad versions of Christianity. So my life has become a journey to study the true life, love, and teachings of Jesus. I write a lot about that.

However, I believe most of our struggles have universal themes. So, I usually approach things we all deal with as human beings on planet Earth.  Even if you don’t believe in Jesus, I think we can still relate to each other.

 

Who Do I Want to Connect With?

Other women will be the most likely to relate to my writing. However, my goal is to write in a way that helps anyone, male or female.

Not everyone agrees with all I write about, but I appreciate the time they give to visit my blog and social media accounts.

Whenever possible, I treat feedback with appreciation and respect.

Mostly I love connecting with people who are struggling in the same ways I do, so I try to write to them.

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I hope you’ll come back again.

 

Love,

Aubri

 

Why I Need to Stop Being Honest

I’m going to give them a piece of my mind.

Most of us have heard or even used this saying. The wording is certainly accurate.

When we speak, we give away pieces of ourselves.

By turning our thoughts into words, we share some of who we really are. We open a window to our soul and let someone see inside. But it’s even more than that. Because with that kind of honesty, we usually form some kind of connection to another soul.

And when that happens, it’s powerful.

Like most kinds of power, honest soul connections can be used in good or bad ways (Prov. 18:21). But recently I was flooded with feelings so powerful, I felt almost forced to say things I knew would do more harm than good.

So, honesty started to feel like a trap.

A little light finally peaked into my closed mind, and I had to ask if honesty is enough.  And it just isn’t.

I realized it’s time to stop telling myself

what I am really thinking and feeling

and start asking myself

what I should be thinking and feeling. 

I’m not saying life won’t ever put us in situations that require painful conversations.

Sometimes the truth hurts.

But it should never harm. 

So, my honesty should have to pass some tests before my thoughts become words.

“Am I trying to prove that I’m right,

or improve the relationship?”

-Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued

Philippians says to think on things that are “true” and “honest” (4:8).  Not only are those words separated, but “true” is put first. I can understand why.

I know it’s important to put Gods truths in front of my honesty.

They teach me wisdom and patience and kindness and love that my honesty might lack. And I need those things to be my honest truths. Because everything and everyone in my life desperately needs His thoughts and ways more than mine.

So I don’t want to just be honest. I want to speak and act on truth.

“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”

-Jesus   

(John 8:32)

When the House Is On Fire

The house was on fire.

 

When I was 12 years old, our new home was in flames the day before Christmas.

 

It probably could have been contained, but neither fire extinguisher worked, and the water hose was frozen. The volunteer fire department finally arrived on the scene, but their first park was too far away for their hose to reach.

 

My dad was the only one home that day besides my grandmother. Since they were both safe, Dad managed to grab our Christmas presents and a few other things. But after trying everything in his power, he couldn’t save the house.  When the fire got out of control, all he could do was just stand there and watch it burn.

 

I think most of us can go back and remember a time when we tried everything in our power, and nothing worked.  A broken relationship. A death. A disaster. Depression. Whatever the circumstances, life went up in flames. And despite our most desperate efforts, all we could do was stand there and just watch it burn.

 

When there’s a fire, there are questions. Once we know if everyone’s okay, we want to know how it happened. We want to know why. Questions are natural, and there’s nothing wrong with asking why. It’s human…even for God.

 

When Jesus was hanging between heaven and earth, literally making a bridge between them with His butchered body, He asked His Father why – why was He being forsaken.

 

We don’t have to tell ourselves we’re terrible Christians for wondering why when Christ Himself asked the question.  But there’s no record He was answered right then. And sometimes we don’t get an answer either.

 

The universe can feel like a very random place to live. The truth is good and bad things happen to good and bad people. Some things are so confusing or terrible I would never sit across from someone and say everything in life happens for reason (especially when I can’t tell them what it is).

 

The funny thing about answers is they’re not always enough. We knew how that fire started. Sparks from our wood furnace got up into some exposed insulation, and they quickly spread.

 

But knowing that didn’t bring anything back.

 

Recently I asked friends what they wish they had known in the most difficult time of their life. Honestly, when I asked that, I didn’t have an answer myself. But I’ve been thinking about trouble for a long time, and it can be a lot like a fire.

 

I usually think of fire as something terrible because of how it consumes and destroys. But actually fire is used all the time to serve different purposes, many of them very useful.

 

The bright diamonds and shiny white gold in my wedding rings weren’t always so perfect. Before they could be molded, they were under a lot of pressure and heat.

 

Peter wrote that the trial of our faith is “much more precious than of gold…though it be tried with fire” (1 Pet. 1:7).

 

I don’t think God fuels all the fires that try my faith,

but I do believe He forges it in the furnace.

 

So now, I think if I could go back to the most difficult times in my life, I would tell myself something like this:

 

“If you can’t have peace that comes from understanding, seek the peace that passes understanding. Even if there’s no good reason why this is happening, it doesn’t mean your pain is pointless.  If there’s no escape when there’s a fire, build a furnace. Fire won’t consume you if it refines you.”

 

“…I will be with thee…when thou walkest through the fire ,

thou shalt not be burned;

neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

(Isaiah 43:2)