Be-kind-to-yourself

Because it’s true, my friends… always true!

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Sunday afternoon is errand time for me.  This past Sunday I headed out ALONE (praise God!) to get groceries, and realized I was living on the edge.  We barely had any gas in the tank left, but I took my chances and made it to the gas station on the way home.  Score.

So I’m pumping my gas, I look up and see a sight I literally have never seen before.  This may be a lot more amusing to me than it is to you, so pardon my tangent for a second.  There was a line for the carwash.  But not just some ordinary line.  It was freaking packed, car-to-car, two lanes, all the back to the entrance of the gas station!  Almost every vacuum hose was also occupied, everyone getting their clean on.  And I just burst out laughing!

I mean… what?!  Did I miss the memo?

It was a nicer day outside, so us Midwesterners usually start sporting shorts and t-shirts when it hits 45 degrees in March.  But this was fascinating to me.  Why did everyone feel the need, at the same exact time, to go to the car wash.  I kept placing my bet on which cars were going to smash into each other as those in parking spots carefully backed out and navigated their way through the obstacle course of vehicles.  There were a few close-call disasters, but all was fine in the end.  And the lines never died down.  Seriously.  More cars kept piling in, willing to wait 15-20 minutes for their turn to shine and shimmer.

And suddenly I became very aware of how dirty my car was.  I looked at my phone.  Nope.  I was out of time.  The littles were beginning to turn on Daddy, so I needed to head back, but I wonder…  If I had the extra minutes, would I have jumped on the carwash train as well?  Maybe.  Probably.

I called my husband to share my hilarity with him.  “Babe, humans are hilarious!  They just fall in line, like lemmings.  Just follow the leader…  ‘Hey, I want that too.. Me too!…  Yeah me three!'”  And then all of the sudden junk got a little more real.

If people do this (myself included here please!) with tiny little things like deciding to clean your car simultaneously with everyone else in the community, what about them doing this with the BIGGER things?  The deeper things?  The things that matter the most and define our culture.  Because even though it may seem like a huge jump I am making right here, I believe I can safely say that playing to the crowd and following the norm are true realities in our day in age.  Heck, it’s always been man’s deal.

It takes a real go-getter to be a change-maker.  To go against the grain.  To stand out and challenge society’s standards.  Let’s face it, people like safe.  They like comfort.  Nobody wakes up and says, “Wow, I hope I can feel uncomfortable today and feel like a social outcast!  That would rock.”  And with all the divisiveness in our country right now, I’m pretty sure almost everyone has felt like an outsider in one way or another.  It’s a sad, but most likely true, statement.

You know, God didn’t make clones and that was a purposed decision.  Brain washed carbon copies were never His thing.  Each person is different.  Each person is made beautifully diverse in order to bring his or her own unique, but important, spice to life.  And that means everyone’s thoughts, views and beliefs will logically vary from here to kingdom come.  Be honest now… have you ever met somebody who has completely agreed with you on every single subject matter and heart issue out there?  No.  The answer is most likely no, unless you are best friends with yourself!

So of course disputes will happen.  Opinions will certainly fly.  And that’s okay!  You can disagree.  You can have constructive conflict and the sharing of your personal views.  These are all good in and of themselves, but listen closely now hurting world…  You shouldn’t hate.  You shouldn’t slander and purposefully attack with destruction in mind.  And you should never make a person feel “less than” just because they are different from you.  Everyone is worthy of love and respect.  Being made in God’s image makes that a given.  He finds worth in all of us and that makes us all wonderfully worthy.  NO exceptions.

It’s not bad to be distinctive from your family, friends, neighbor, co-worker.  It may not be easy, but it’s not bad either.  Learning from one another and extending compassion and understanding does not mean we all believe the same exact things.  But we have to be careful.  We have to be careful with people’s hearts.  When we disagree with someone we have to remember that this person is the total package, with thoughts and feelings and a precious story of their own.  We can handle disagreements with grace and still be in a relationship with the other.  It’s actually possible, I promise! 🙂  We live in the United States of America.  So much glorious diversity in one country.  But have we forgotten who we really are?  If this is truly one nation under God, then we ought to start treating each other the way He treats us… as deeply valued human beings.  He wants a country of unified individuals loving on one another.  Unity does not mean replication.  It means harmony.  It means living together in peace and kindness, regardless of where you land on the spectrum of beliefs.

Dear friend, you are unique.  You are special.  And all of you matters.  All your thoughts and opinions and feelings… it all matters.  These truths are global, applying to every individual throughout history.  So let’s jump on that beautiful bandwagon together.

Because that right there…

That’s a trend I will always follow.