I have been silent both on Social Media and on our blog about the violence going on around us. It breaks my heart and I find myself asking, what is my role in all of this? I have been thinking quite a bit about the verse in the bible that teaches me to focus on the speak in my own eye. Reminding me to take care of what is in my own heart and life. I am reminded I need to take responsibility for my own actions.
Honestly, I have also found myself fearful to say anything. I have no desire to spark any more fires literal or figurative. There are certainly enough burning infernos without my help. Those who know me know I am not afraid to voice my opinion, since birth I have never been afraid to stand up and make my voice heard. I also want to make sure to the best of my ability my voice is used to encourage those around me. If and when I think God wants my voice to be louder, I will confidently and boldly do so.
In light of this I am left asking myself, what does taking responsibility for my own actions and using my voice to encourage others, look like in my life.
1. I believe it starts at home. I believe even more than what I am teaching my kids, it is how I live my life every day. It is the tone in which I speak my words, it is the words I chose to say, it is my body language and my outward actions on a daily basis. It is one thing to say something, it is another to live it out. There are those around me I have been watching and learning from for years. Some are aware of their mentoring me and others are not. People are watching me each and everyday, what do I want them to learn from me? More is caught than taught and people see through my crap and my words to the truth of what and how I live my life.
2. I believe it starts with a relationship with my kids. I need to evaluate the time I am spending or not spending with my kids. Do I patiently answer their questions? Have I set safe and healthy boundaries for them? Do I lovingly give them truthful answers about life around them. Do I love them AND like them? Do I love my kids according to how I want to love them or according to how they really feel loved? Am I verbally and through my actions, affirming the truth of who they are; loved, wanted, capable of trying and capable of succeeding?
3. I believe it begins with loving my community. Do I know my neighbors? Am I allowing my kids to play with the other kids in the neighborhood? In so doing, we are teaching them how to interact with the world around them. How to share, be kind and compassionate, and to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Am I using my gifts and talents to make our community a loving, encouraging and compassionate place to live. Do I welcome everyone and get to know those who are different from me or even sometimes intimidate me. Understanding another persons hopes, dreams and perspectives gives me a bigger understanding of how others are struggling, hurting and how I can be a better loving human being.
4. I believe it begins with taking responsibility for my emotions and to understand others emotions. When I look at anger, bitterness, hatred and resentment they usually always stem from hurt. Small hurts or large hurts, both hurt. I first need to take responsibility when I am hurt and own up to it. Allowing myself to feel the hurt, not react to the hurt. I need to give myself time to process (sometimes silently) to figure out the best course of action. When someone cuts in front of me in line, glares at me from across the room or any act that appears unkind. I want my first thought to be, how have they been hurt? This helps me to continue seeing them as an important human being, instead of a crummy, grumpy something. I never want a person to turn into a something in my heart, then they cease to become an important, beautiful creation of my heavenly father.
5. I believe there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. I will continually go before my heavenly father for his guidance in when to speak, but I will not be bullied into speaking. I do want to affirm to my family and friends around me how much they mean to me. I want to take part of the family, friends, community, and those God has surrounded me with. I want to hurt, cry and grieve with them. I want to celebrate, dance and sing with them. I want to live real life with them in the horrible times and the wonderful times.
6. Remember what God has asked me to do, may be different than what he has asked others to do. I want to rejoice in the small day to day loving and encouraging things I do everyday, things that go unnoticed by the world. I want to continue bringing food to our local food bank, listen to the postpartum mom, encourage the homeschool family ready to throw in the towel, promote local businesses and organizations and celebrate the small things people are doing everyday that are making a gigantic difference every day.
I want to remember the world is not about me. I want to remember to see humans as amazing, beautiful people, people who matter, people my heavenly father has created with love. The difference I can make everyday makes a huge difference in the lives those who live around me.
Your life matters in the lives of those who live around you everyday. You matter. You are beautiful and you have worth beyond measure! I want to be your friend and try to understand the life you lead. I want to know how your heart hurts and I want to hear how my words and actions affect you. I want to take responsibility for my life and allow my life to matter in the life of another. I am here, I am speaking and I care.