Present Tense

I’ll let you be you; now let me be me…..

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is kind of a netherworld between regret over the past year and the exciting potential to begin anew.  Time to mull over what worked and what didn’t, while you try and formulate the way forward into another year.

Maybe the past year was rough, maybe it didn’t live up to your expectations, maybe 2011 flew by and you didn’t lose the 20 pounds or get a better job or save as much money as you had hoped.  The beauty is that we all get a mulligan; a do-over in 2012.  Every year, every day for that matter, we can hit the re-set button and start again.

2011 was a better year for me than 2010; I made some personal progress in some areas that I felt that I needed to work on.  I developed some new skills and hobbies.  I let go of some stuff and I re-connected with some old friends.  As we all must plot the way forward into 2012, my goals for the coming year include developing more humility and grace.  I admire those traits so much in others and they don’t come easily to me.

You see, I have a tendency to evangelize.  I try to bend people to my way of seeing or doing things.  When I see the light, I want everyone to see that same light, to have that same epiphany that I’ve experienced.  It’s my ego, mixed with an equal part of wanting people to be happier, less frazzled, less scattered.  There are some philosophies and behaviors that I feel strongly about and I’m compelled to force them on others.  No more.

What I’ve realized is that I can only control me; I can only impose my will or my beliefs or my knowledge or my epiphanies on me.  Look, a lot of you have lived your lives this way for years.  I’m usually a little late to the party, when it comes to self-realization and self-control.  I got here through study,  introspection,  observation and finally, acceptance.  People are gonna do, what people are gonna do, regardless of how I think they should behave.

The basic message of Christmas is what crystallized this for me: “Peace on earth, goodwill toward men”.  Christians say they believe in Jesus as their personal savior;  his message fills their hearts and their lives, yet many Christians seem to ignore what I believe is Jesus’ main message: 1. We are all sinners and 2. Love thy neighbor. I don’t study the Bible (that’s a whole other post, my friends), but I’ve read it and those two statements seem to distill it all down into a very simple premise that I intend to follow, even though Jesus is not my personal savior.

My no-nonsense husband put it this way:  “God didn’t mean for it to be so complicated”.  YESSSSSS!  So, whether you are religious or a searcher, like me, it’s this:  Take care of your own business and stay out of everyone else’s.  We’re all flawed, messy humans and the only person that you can fix or control, is YOU.  That’s it.

We can guide, we can teach, we can influence and then, we must accept.  Simple.  We make life complicated and frustrating when we list all of the things that we ‘wish’ other people would do:  drive better, be more polite, go to church, don’t go to church, believe in God, don’t believe in God, vote differently, spend money, save money, raise your kids better, blah, blah, blah.  Look, we’re all ‘that person’; you know, the imperfect one.

So, in 2012, I will work on me; I vow to stop bitching about everyone else because that takes away valuable time from my true work.  I won’t worry about other people’s sexual orientation/diet/political views/spending habits/parenting skills/religion/work ethic.  To paraphrase the J-man, who so many of you follow, “it’s time to worry about the plank in our own eye, dudes”.  Simple?  Yesssssssss!

December 27, 2011 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , ,

16 Comments »

  1. WELL SAID!

    Comment by Philip | December 27, 2011 | Reply

  2. Awesome!!!!

    Comment by Marge Beem | December 27, 2011 | Reply

  3. Love it!

    Comment by Margie | December 27, 2011 | Reply

  4. I liked your post. I think that when you got to the main message of Jesus you were right but perhaps you will consider adding :Love God to that list.
    Jesus said the first and second commandments were the foundation for the law and the prophets. Everything can be boiled down to love: (that is, doing what is in the best interest of the one you love). The first commandment is To love God. the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. (the ‘as yourself’ is an important component)

    You can’t do the first one without doing the second one (which may seem like a paradox but it isn’t).

    Do, however, study the Bible. The Scriptures can make you wise unto salvation and that is the goal we should all have.

    Comment by Steven Sarff | December 27, 2011 | Reply

    • Steven:
      Thanks for the comment, however, I’m kind of chuckling about it. How about this: you be you and I’ll be me:)
      I’m not a Christian, but merely used Jesus’ teachings to make my point. I’ve read the Bible and read several books about the Bible’s teachings and historical origins. At best, I’m agnostic, but am more drawn to Buddhism.
      So, I’m glad you’ve found your path. I will continue to explore mine.
      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | December 27, 2011 | Reply

      • Jane: I hadn’t thought that you were a Christian since you said you were a searcher. What I liked so much about your post is that you are right about not being able to control others. it fit so well with what I think Christ’s basic teaching is that it was worth it to me to make my suggestion.
        However, I wouldn’t suggest that we should completely stop encouraging others to do what is right. “Evangelizing” as you said. Badgering is not good and doesn’t show love. (and I am sure many think that evangelizing is badgering)

        When I read your question to me “you be you and I’ll be me” I do not know how to understand that aside from “just leave everyone alone to do their own thing” No one does this nor did Jesus, If there is another way to understand that, let me know but the only way that will work is if there is no truth.
        Anyway, thanks for responding.

        Comment by Steven Sarff | December 27, 2011

    • One thing I would say to Steven,,,as a Christian…the Bible is not salvation. The goal I have is to love others as I love myself. The love I show to others shows my love for God. They go hand in hand. But I will tell you that I know more loving agnostics and atheists than I have found in many Christian churches. So I sometimes wonder who is REALLY right…those who have no command to love and do anyway..or those who are commanded to love and don’t?

      Comment by Kandis Glasgow | December 27, 2011 | Reply

      • @Kandis, the scriptures make you wise unto salvation, they won’t do anything if you don’t follow them. I too have known loving and caring athesists. As well as grouchy ones. The same can be said of those who say they follow Christ. It isn’t love to badger people but loving someone enough to do what is in their best interest is exactly what God did for us…and we are a pretty awful lot sometimes. The answer to your question is neither are right in themselves, all of us sin and that is what Christ died to take care of. (oh I know, not everyone believes that) If Christ takes care of your sins and then you don’t show love, what good is it? If you show love but Christ hasn’t taken care of your sins, what good is it? try James 2:14-26.

        Comment by Steven Sarff | December 27, 2011

      • I’m not going to have a biblical debate with you. I love that you love the bible, but the bible isn’t necessary to be a Christian (just ask the first century followers). Nor is it necessary to badger people to get them to see the good things about Christianity. When I became a Christian I had never read one word of the bible….not one. So while I appreciate your stance…..YOU might be the only example/bible of Christ that people ever see…and your example right now isn’t one of “Then neither do I condemn you” what I see is more like a threat. Where is the good in that? If you tell others how it changed YOUR life for the good and not so much about how they will be going to hell if they don’t believe, then maybe they will be more willing to listen. You don’t catch flies with vinegar. After you show them the love of Jesus you let them decide for themselves. If I recall Jesus healed the sick and forgave the sinner first and then taught about love after that. And yes, let them be them and let God do the sorting.

        Comment by Kandis Glasgow | December 27, 2011

      • Kandis: I am so sorry you saw a threat in my response to you. That was far from my intention. My first sentence was a reference to 2 Timothy 3:15 and surrounding verses. I figured you would agree with me that it is not the words of the Bible you hear but what you do with them that makes the difference. (NT as we have it today, OT as they had it in the first century). It seems you didn’t see my agreement. I am sorry I was not more explixit.

        Your question about those who are athiests and yet loving is an excellent one! It reminded me of Paul’s question in Romans 2:25-29. All I did was try to answer question. I didn’t see either of those two people as “really right”. I think the scriptures would agree that 1) an athiest will not please God and 2) a non loving Christian professer will not either. No quotes offered but gladly provided.

        I, also am not interested in a Biblical debate, though I am happy to discuss the Scriptures in a spirit of gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15) I am sorry you did not see that spirit in my response.

        Comment by Steven Sarff | December 27, 2011

  5. Yes yes…..I enjoy your evangelism on occasion…so feel free to help me along if you don’t mind. You have helped me along more than anyone to see things in a different light. Of course you can’t lead the unwilling:) I am a Christian….who sees things a bit differently I would bet:) We all have to find our own way… It’s not up to me to force anyone to see my way. I just hope to find people who will walk with me on my path for as long as they feel comfortable with where we are going. I’m checking my plank.

    Comment by Kandis Glasgow | December 27, 2011 | Reply

  6. Steven:
    My point is this: we can only control ourselves and our own behavior. So, yes, I tend to believe that people are going to ‘do their own thing’, regardless of how I think they should behave or react. I can only control MY behavior and MY reactions, as can you. You can certainly suggest that I read scripture and seek salvation through Christ, but you can’t make me and if I decline or disagree, you should respect that.
    Maybe if you read some of my previous posts on religion/spirituality, etc. you would get a clearer picture of my philosophy. The fact that I write a blog suggest that I want to share what I have learned walking the earth, but I realize that all I can do is put it out there and folks will do with it as they please.
    Thanks again…
    jane

    Comment by janelondon | December 27, 2011 | Reply

    • Jane: I agree with your point. Also, i will do some reading on your previous posts. I am sure it will prove enlightning. Sorry if I stirred up a big debate, it wasn’t my intention. I do draw a line betwee debates and discussions and don’t mind discussing these things but try not to debate in a malicious way.
      I look forward to future posts.

      Comment by Steven Sarff | December 27, 2011 | Reply

      • Steven:
        It’s all good! I welcome debate and discussion; that’s what a public blog is all about. I appreciate that you engaged with the ‘grace and humility’ that I hope to achieve one day. Feel free to pipe up anytime!

        Jane

        Comment by janelondon | December 28, 2011

  7. Perfectly to the point.
    Thanks!

    Comment by Francesca Amari, Cabaret singer | December 28, 2011 | Reply

  8. The religious faith I was raised in taught me that the loving atheist who helps his neighbor, lives peacefully, and promotes peace, harmony, an equality in his community lives in a far more favorable light in God’s presence than the religiously devout person who prays everyday and goes to church regularly, but then does nothing to help his fellow man. In short, it’s what you DO with the life that God has given you that counts, not how many Amens you give God. I just don’t think that whether or not you believe in God (or how you worship) really matters. Too much blood has been spilled throughout history over the matter. I’m not Christian either, and I just cannot see myself ever going in that direction. My religious philosophy is so much broader than the Christian plain can accommodate. There is more than one road to take to get to the Truth of what this life is all about. Let’s all be respectful of everyone’s different choice and road to take.

    Comment by Roxanne Rieske | December 29, 2011 | Reply


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