Feel however you want about me, but feel it for yourself.

So, if you’re sitting at someone’s house and you’ve got that pit in your stomach because you just don’t feel accepted, or welcome…trust me girl, grab your cute little striped hey dudes you left by the door, and get the heck out off there now. Yes, I know they just poured you a margarita, with salt on the rim, but hear me when I say, that vulnerable moment you’ll have which prompts you to share “anything” on drink two… it’s already shared with someone who isn’t even there. That’s why there is a pit in your stomach to begin with. Good friends, and kind people; pits don’t accompany them. Growth, sunlight, warmth and happiness surround them, those are your people.

Your opinion of me should come from your interaction with me, not someone else’s opinion of me, stories of me, or even their interaction with me. Just yours.

Have you heard the saying, “Jealousy is the fun they think you’re having?” well I think we should add a saying onto that for assumptions. Maybe something like, “Assumptions are what other people make for you when you’re too lazy to think for yourself” no, that is a little too harsh. Here’s the thing, I have no inclination to think I will be liked by everyone and even more so, I have zero desire to be. We can be perfectly likable, good people and still be disliked by someone.

This past week I was talking to a friend who was hurt and I told her, “you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there will always be someone who hates peaches” a quote I have always loved by Dita Von Teese, and then I added, “and don’t be surprised when it’s a peach itself.” She of course looked at me like I was crazy because what do peaches have to do with anything, but I explained sometimes the very reason we are canceled out has nothing at all to do with ourselves, it is simply the reflection someone else sees of themselves in us.

I wish I could tell you why people want to know about someone and go to every other person but that person. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out actually, it is because some people wish you well, but not that well. Moreover, they have no real interest in getting to know you, the actual person, they just want to know about you and any dirt that can be dug up – because they are bored, broken and hurting.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve had someone smile to my face at the local wal-mart and then they’re trash-talking me on the way home. I hope you read that with a southern drawl, because it plays out in my head as such. There is comedian, what is her name? Leanne something, deep southern drawl, Leanne Morgan. If you know who she is, re-read the first two sentences again in her voice. That’s just how I meant it. (If you don’t know of her, you’ll want to google her, because she is hilarious! A bless-your-heart southern twang full of sass and gettin’ on.)

While it should be mentioned that you’re better off without these people, it is quite possible you’ll learn they same way I usually do. All heart, all in, and an unanswered text message later that says nothing, but ends a friendship. Why is it that people do that anyhow? Just respond to the text people, just say it, “I don’t like you”, ” I think you’re a jerk”, “you hurt my feelings” whatever the heck it is, just say it and then stop responding. Passive agressive texting is not it chief. Nothing irritates me more than no response or a lie. Ohhh the lies…

Someone lied to me this week actually, and it was one of those obvious lies, and by text even. On my phone, when I text, it shows if the person I am texting begins typing. I asked a question. She begins to type. Then it stops, and no response. It does that again for about five or so minutes until a response comes through with some cockamamey bullpucky that just made me want to call her out. But, did I? Nope! Why not? Because what is the point when I already know the answer. She lied. End of story. Maybe forty has made me less amicable with phony anything. I mean, I am running out of day light, years and life – I don’t have time for people who aren’t adding to my life, encouraging me and my dreams, supporting my family and building me up, not breaking me down.

So, if you’re sitting at someone’s house and you’ve got that pit in your stomach because you just don’t feel accepted, or welcome…trust me girl, grab your cute little striped hey dudes you left by the door, and get the heck out off there now. Yes, I know they just poured you a margarita, with salt on the rim, but hear me when I say, that vulnerable moment you’ll have which prompts you to share “anything” on drink two… it’s already shared with someone who isn’t even there. That’s why there is a pit in your stomach to begin with. Good friends, and kind people; pits don’t accompany them. Growth, sunlight, warmth and happiness surround them, those are your people.

Look, I’m proud to be a Christian woman, I liken myself to being unpolished and unrefined – but still a dang good Christian. (I have a post coming up about this, so you’ll want to check back on that one!) To me, that does not mean we have to be fake. I can love you with the love of Jesus and not want to spend time with you. The difference is that when I don’t spend time with you that includes time speaking about you, at all. My face can’t even hide being fake anyhow, the thoughts I think, are written in bold face print all my face for all to see. I kind-of love that about myself to be honest, it holds me accountable.

I will smile, wave, say hello and pray for you even if I do not care to interact with you. Even better, if I happen to not like you it will only be because of something that involves you and I personally. Either you did something to me, or I see something in you that reflects something that needs healing in me. Either way it doesn’t involve anyone else and that should be a two-way street.

Our small valley, oh my goodness gracious and all that is holy, it can be rough at times. The things I learn about myself are shocking even to me, I have a much more fascinating life according to my adoring haters. Do you know that another child isn’t allowed to like my child, because of their mom’s friend has an issue. Yes, this person, myself and my child have never had a falling out, we visit in public, but because her friend doesn’t like us – neither can her child. True story. Some people allow others to decide for them.

I also have a friend or aquaintance really who ran one of those free internet background checks on myself and handful of other friends, and then soon after, the invites stopped. There is nothing of interest in my background, aside from divorces or maybe our financial business but everything online is factual, right?

My favorite though happened recently when I was explaining where I lived to someone, and was cut off only to be told, “I know where you live actually”, and then whispered, “you rent, right?” I’m still kind of buzzing on this one, because one hand, so trivial and obnoxious. Yet, on the other hand, the whispering…that got me. I don’t care how this person “found out” where we live, or that we rent even… but the whispering. That said a lot.

Renting to me is not shameful, and given that it was “whispered” this person already assumed it shouldn’t be shared – but if they had known me at all – they would know I am an open book. In fact almost every detail of my life is online, in one blog or another on this site. You don’t even have to run a background check, research my address or ask someone else – you can read it all here or just for grins and giggles, prepare yourself for this, you could just ask me. Crazy, right?!

I’m different than most, if you want to know anything about me I will tell you. Every shameful detail of my past, every dark moment, every mistake – I am an open book and I will sit with you face to face and lay it all bare. I’m not concerned about you judging me, your opinions of me or why it is that you even want to know about these things. I will even be okay with you feeling some type of way about me after and us going our separate ways. That would actually make me respect you. What concerns me though, since I am being totally blunt and forthright is why you need to know?

What is it about highlighting, digging up or sharing peoples past hurts, failures and mistakes that makes you feel better about your life? Because, that. That is where the issue lays. Not with me or anyone else, not whether you like me or them, it’s and issue inside yourself that stops you from liking yourself and anyone else. Someone somewhere at some point lied to you and told you that you were unworthy, unlovable, unimportant and unwanted. Someone hurt you, let you down and now to feel above it all, you do so by standing on top of the people you kick while they’re down. People just like you.

I don’t have to know you to know that you are loved, valued and important to atleast one person, God, and most likely more than him. I don’t ever have to speak to you to know that you were given a voice to speak life over people not cut them down with your words. I don’t even have to see you, to know that you have beauty and kindess and love inside you – it is just hidden behind the mud and the muck of whatever hell you keep shoving deeper inside yourself.

Hate doesn’t feel good, spite doesn’t taste good and ill will weakens your soul. It is not what you were made to feel, to distribute or to know. It was not what you were made of even, because you were made from love, to love others. So, whatever it is, maybe it’s time to start digging up your own “stuff” and shaking off your own skeletons in the closet and doing some healing, some forgiving and some loving. The key is you have to start with yourself first, or else it won’t stick and you’ll be right back to the person I’ll pray for, but would never sit and have a margarita with.

And, I really like margaritas and kind people who just want to love me for me, and ask questions about who I am because they genuinely want to get to know me and ask for the same in return.

Gossip

We need to remember that church is a hospital, everyone there is needing healing in some manner or another. We all have wounds, scrapes and scars – those are reminders of our mistakes, our imperfections and what leads to humility and acceptance. They are pieces of our testimony which are meant to draw people in, to encourage them in having a closer relationship with God, and understanding his mercy and forgiveness.

What would you think if I told you that the majority of people who don’t go to church not only know but love God? Being unfamiliar with Jesus isn’t what is preventing a closer relationship with him; it’s us and our tongues. You’ve heard the saying ‘bite your tongue’ and I think we should be doing more of that.

The other day a feeling came over me that the reason most people don’t get connected with a church is that they fear judgment. The most obvious assumption would be God’s judgment, but it is not his judgment that is keeping people away, it is ours. For me, that was true for many years, especially living in a small town. The things I had worked on and began healing from, others were quick to rip the bandage off the wound – exposing my scrapes and scars to whoever would look.

We need to remember that church is a hospital, everyone there is needing healing in some manner or another. We all have wounds, scrapes and scars – those are reminders of our mistakes, our imperfections and what leads to humility and acceptance. They are pieces of our testimony which are meant to draw people in, to encourage them in having a closer relationship with God, and understanding his mercy and forgiveness.

This excerpt below explains gossip ingeniously and how detrimental it truly is:

“Who am I? I have no respect for justice. I maim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cruel and malicious and gather strength with age. The more I am quoted, the more I am believed. I flourish at every level of society. My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become. I’m nobody’s friend. Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I topple governments and ruin marriages. I destroy careers and cause heartache and sleepless nights. I wreck churches and separate Christians. I spawn suspicion and generate grief, make innocent people cry on their pillows. Even my name hisses. I am gossip.”

Charles Kimball

WOW! If that is not enough to make you take a step back and think for a minute, I don’t know what is. Take Kanye for example, the moment he shared he was saved, a moment that most people are overjoyed and even encouraged to share – was ruined by hypocrisy. Many people took to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and blogs even to say – it was a crock. He was being interviewed not for the incredible transformation, or the power in our Lord and Saviors blood but the validity of it. Now, I understand the importance of discernment and knowing when someone is a false teacher or not – but that was not the basis behind any reports, interviews, posts, etc., the basis was a disqualification. The last time I checked, we aren’t who disqualifies.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5

Jesus tells us in the book of Matthew to focus on our issues, pasts, shortcomings, faults, and sins. Once those are remedied only then should you help your brother. Help him, not condemn him, there is a big difference. It is a sleight of hand trick in a sense that deflects a flaw normally worse than the individuals flaw you’re so eager to reveal. Why do we do this?

Gossip is likened to a tasty morsel and without gods help in taming our tongues, it is near impossible to break the habit. Judgment goes hand in hand with this also because one feeds off of the other. So, how can we limit this nasty package duo? Here are five ways I think could help:

  1. Sometimes the gossip comes to you. When this happens you should be able to identify it rather quickly, change the subject or defend the person.
  2. If what you are whispering involves tragedy, a plot of evil, discouragement, disgrace or someone else’s secret – let it die and not leave your lips.
  3. Disengage. You can do this by identifying why you feel the need to share something negative. There is most likely something underlying within you that is feeding that unhealthy desire.
  4. Pretend that either the person you are speaking about or Jesus is standing beside you. If you can still share it, go right ahead.
  5. Last but not least, we were created in Gods image and with that comes his reputation. Each time we judge, criticize or condemn another person, we make our father look bad. We were taught love, mercy, and grace – that is what he uses with us, why would we treat others any differently?

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 NIV