Humans First.

When I was  a little girl, I spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s house. My grandpa let me follow him outside quite a bit.  Now that I have my own children, I think I know why.  I was probably full of energy, got into everything, asked a lot of questions and drove my grandma nuts.  So outside we would go.  As I look back, those times with him are where I learned the most about the world.  Not that he and my grandma had a grand estate with twelve ecosystems, far from it.  They had a ten acre farm that was mostly a walnut orchard.  Nevertheless, the lessons were big and I carry them with me today.

He would tell me about animals, show me where they lived.  He pointed out danger.  He whistled.  He made up stories.  He answered all of my many, many questions.  If he planted a tree he would tell me all about it as he walked me to it.  He made me care about my surroundings.  He instilled an excitement about nature and new life. He was also willing to share with me the hard facts about loving animals as well.  Dear furry friends did in fact die, and it could be really tough on the heart.  My big tall grandpa hated to lose a pet.  He also made no bones about the difference between pets and livestock.  There were no tears shed over the little lambs who grew up to be sheep, then soon appeared on the dinner table.

I think about how lucky I am to have a grandpa like him.  He is still alive and well, but so very far away.  I wish my kids could walk with him, but they can’t, so I do my best to fill the void.  I find myself whistling and telling them tales, or getting excited about birds, trees, and bugs.  I have them help me dig in the dirt, or plant seeds for the garden.  Those are moments that I treasure.

I guess what I am getting at is this:  we need more effortless times of wonder with our kids.  We need to get excited about rainbows, and rain, finding a bird’s nest, steering clear of snakes.  There is a connection that is made with their surroundings.  THEIR world.  If you teach a child the proper order of things, they get it.  In turn, they won’t grow up and destroy what is precious to them.  I’m not talking about going crazy with worshiping the earth or joining a radical environmentalist group.  I’m talking about a natural love and tenderness that grows for people, plants and animals, from the heart of the child.  That is how you change the world.  Put humans first. Take time to teach a small human.  Then this beautiful garden we have been blessed with will only benefit.

You may say, “My neighbors are idiots and their children blow up their toys all day.”  Well, if you can, be a positive influence on those wild kids.  If you can’t, society will probably weed them out quickly and they will be housed in some sort of long-term facility.  At least then maybe they can recycle something.  Just skip the rhetoric, hate, and misguided legislation.  Raise up a generation of passionate people.  Better than any weapon, stronger than any army.  Human hearts are an untapped, renewable resource!  (But not suitable for fuel or food, let’s not go Soylent Green here people!)

Humans First.



Motivating People-The Right Way

“Fools have no interest in understanding, they only want to air their own opinions” Proverbs 18:2 NLT

Yikes.   This post gets right under my fingernails and lifts without a care.  Ouch.  Double ouch.

I am kind of jumping off from a sermon I heard in church this past Sunday.  I’m all about the application, so I am reeeeeaaaallly trying to apply this to my life and become a better human being.  That doesn’t mean it’s easy.  It’s hard.  I am going against a grain that was set in the wood many moons ago.  Fighting nature, folks.

I want to motivate people God’s way. The way I want things and the way I do things are not married together.  Heck, they aren’t even third cousins.  Through the years I have learned several ways to get loved ones and friends to see the light.

Bullying, manipulating, passive aggressive behavior modification through social media, crying, and tattling.  Those are just a few.  I am sure if I sat down and really thought about it, I could come up with hundreds.  The worst way I have ever tried to motivate someone is to shame them into changing.  Ever tried that?

Example:  Susie So and So is not living right.  If there were a list of things to do wrong in ones twenties, she is doing them all.  (We can use our imaginations, or let us just reflect on our own twenties.) Me, having lived through a Susie type mess, comes in with all kinds of advice, feelings and expectations.  Susie takes my advice, feelings and expectations and promptly throws them out the window.  I get offended and write Susie off as a hopeless case.  But, I am not so cruel that I would not open my arms wide to let her back in my life for an “I told you so.”  In the meantime, I have a good ole time discussing my “concerns” about Susie with family, friends, co-workers, the garbage man, the mail man, the lady at the check out counter, the telemarketer, and door to door salesmen. (Kidding, but it could have easily grown into that.)

“What a shame, what folly, to give advice before listening the the facts!” Proverbs 18:13 NLT

In my case, Susie’s naysayers were coming to me.  A lot.  I would hear out the complaints and then come up with a list of things we should do to show her that we loved her, but were not going to enable her.  Sounds great on the surface.  But I would often find myself examining my motivation.  Was the goal actually to lift up this person and get her on a path to self-sufficiency?  Or was there a drill instructor mentality that said we should tear this person down and build them back up in our own image?  I kept getting a nudge that it was the latter.   That left me scratching my head and wondering how do you challenge someone?  When someone is down in the dumps, how do you teach them to get themselves out without doing all the work for them?  What if the person acts like they want everyone to do it for them?

“Any story sounds true until someone sets the record straight.” Proverbs 18:17

Okay, so that’s a yield sign.  Do I know the whole story?  When a person is faltering, should my immediate assumption be that they are “up to no good”?  And, if they are up to no good, does that mean that I should close the door on them until they straighten out?  Or should I carefully, and lovingly encourage them without allowing them to walk all over me?  Well, I still think both options are  something to think about prayerfully, and cautiously.  But, and it’s a big one, Jesus chose to meet me just where I am.  Warts and all.  He met me with open arms.  He said to love one another.  So how can I not do the same for a loved one who is hurting?  I need to close my mouth and open my arms.

“But then God our Savior showed us His kindness and love.  He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy.” Titus 3:4

“But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help-how can God’s love be in that person?”  1 John 3:17

“Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions.  It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before the Lord,” 1 John 3:18-19

From that, I get that we are to show our love in our actions toward others.  What the person does with that help is their business.  If they want to smile and rub their hands about how they can manipulate people, so be it.  I must also be careful after helping to not picture them rubbing their hands and laughing an evil laugh.  I can’t see straight into their heart.  Only God can.

Faith: Intellectuals Welcome

Here I go on my first topic.  I’m gonna get all preachy, and snarky.  I’m gonna close my eyes and plug my ears to science.  I’m going to babble and froth at the mouth.  When you ask questions I am gonna shout scripture and end every statement with “Thank Ya Jeeezuss!”  Um. No.   I will say that a “Thank You, Jesus” is no problem for me.  Just using the broad brush of in-tell-ect-chew-alls, dahling,  to paint a self portrait.

I, Lizzie Love Ya, am a woman of faith.  You cannot separate me from it.  Well, not unless I am really mad at my husband.  Then it just kind of hides under my shirt telling me to shush my mouth.  I believe that the Bible is the 100% inerrant Word Of God.   I believe in the prophecies, commandments, and that Jesus Christ was only begotten Son and Savior of this world.  I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  I believe life is a grand test.  A marathon to be run daily, slow and steady, until I fall at the footsteps of my Heavenly Father and hear those wonderful words.  “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

My belief does not give me a superiority complex over people who choose the path of atheism or other religions.  I would not be an adequate Christian if it did.  There would definitely be a disconnect between God’s command to love one another, and my actions, if that kind of thinking was going on.  My belief does not suddenly cut off my desire to learn anything new.  I enjoy breaking out into spontaneous beat boxing and would love, one day, to learn to be quite good at it.  My faith in God does not dampen my infatuation with science, the universe, or achievements in areas of healthcare and technology. (Also home improvement.)  My faith does not dictate what books I read with regard to any of those subjects.  Anyone who knows me would let it be readily known that I am well read to the point of being annoying, and that I was once nicknamed “LizIReadABookAboutIt”.

I know that many out there have suffered at the hands (or lips) of someone who said they were a Christian.  Let me be the first to apologize for all of us.  We are a flawed bunch.  We mess up while trying to be well meaning.  We ruin things that we have no business touching.  We stumble when we are angry and say awful things.  We try to mentor people when we still need mentoring.  I know from personal dealings with some “Christians” that there are wolves in sheeps clothing.  I knew one down right maniacal woman who called herself a Christian.  Luckily God put a drive in me to keep seeking and keep asking, so she failed to turn me away from my faith.  Thank You, Jesus! 🙂

That said, when I go through a situation with a jerk who happens to be an atheist, buddhist, or Zoroastrian, I don’t walk away shaking my head at their religion.  I shake my head at the person.  I don’t mutter things like, “Well if that’s how an atheist behaves, I don’t want any part of that garbage.”  Nopety-nope.  I just chalk it up to them being a pompous, arrogant jerkface who doesn’t want my time or company.  Okay…no. big. thang.

I often run up against the argument that belief in God was a system created to oppress  people.  I don’t know about your religion, but that’s not how my faith works.  I don’t feel oppressed or suppressed.  In fact, I feel more free than I ever have in my life.  Free from guilt, free from my past, free from who I might have been without God in my life.  I could have been ugly.  I was well on my way to it.  I stepped on people, I had a foul mouth, a foul heart, a foul spirit.  I didn’t care.  Everything hinged on my happiness, my tra-la-la, my lust, my unicorn fairydust sparkles with crystal lite and creamy nougat.  AKA: The Deep Pit of Selfishness. Self Preservation was my religion.  I do admit, with great sadness, that Christianity has been hijacked and used control lives and gain wealth by certain peoples and “religions”  that I shall not name.  Jesus had no problem naming them and pointing out who their father was.  (Hint, it IS the devil.)

You don’t need to be enrolled in any particular religion to be practicing one.  As humans we are programmed to serve.  If we do not fill that hole with God, the world fills it with true oppression.  It all boils down to that one thing.  That thing that consumes our lives.  The thing that becomes so ingrained in us that we will put it before the well being of our fellow man, or our children, or ourselves.  It can be food, animals, the environment, sports, fitness, or substances.

I do place my faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ahead of my fellow man.  By filling my heart with Godly things, I emit His love, thereby helping my fellow man.  If I place food ahead of my fellow man, I grow large, I become unhealthy and I burden those I love.  If I place animals before my fellow man, I let my brother go cold and hungry.  If I place the environment before my fellow man, I tell my sister she is worth less than a tree.

I’m not talking about recycling.  I’m not talking about turning a blind eye to jerks tearing up the planet.  Nature is not renewable.  You can’t rip up a majestic mountain and expect it to grow back.  It won’t.  It will be different.  Forever.  What I am talking about is the slavery of  fundamentalist environmentalism imposed on people.  I will go into that on another post.

My faith in God tells me to love.  So I do it.  I don’t care what you are doing in the bedroom and who it’s with.  I still love you.  God loves you too.  Until the day comes that all people are without sin, I’m not going to throw stones.  Sometimes Christians like to point out that homosexuality is an abomination in the Old Testament.  Yeah, so was being a lazy child who disgraced their parents.  Both instances called for death.  With Christ’s sacrifice the law was fulfilled. His GRACE is sufficient.  That’s why I don’t go around with stones in my robe ready to chuck them at adulteresses.

If you are an atheist, God love ya.  I mean really.  This life is your reward.  Do it.  Do it big.  You believe you get one chance to make a splash?  Splash big.  Do cannonballs.  All I ask is that you extend that view to your neighbor.  He or she only gets one chance to impact the universe, too.  That outlook makes life crazy precious.  Hold tight to it and to other people, for in that view, you are just bits of flotsam carried along in the universal stream.  You are neither greater or lesser than your fellow man.  Both hillbilly and Harvard professor are both the same happy accidents.  Both forgotten mere minutes after death by the Universe’s Clock.  Rejoice in the easy path you’ve chosen.  No hell awaits you, no choir of angels, no loved ones to meet again.  Sounds a heck of a lot easier than my path.

One of the biggest ways that my faith is affirmed is the absolute worldly hatred of it.  Seething, passionate hatred.  It’s comical.  I would defy anyone to imitate the Dalai Lama  in this manner:  a buck toothed idiot with a thick Southern drawl saying “My religion is very simple.  My religion is kindness.” Yeah, I sooooo see that happening.  The only moron who would make fun of the Dalai Lama would be the one who was a racist boob that poorly mimicked Asians. ( Racism is a religion, too.)

In closing, I would just say, “Hey Jingle Bells, grow up.”  Faith does not equal stupidity.  Belief in evolution does not an intellectual make.  Intellect has nothing to do with faith or the sciences.  It has to do with what each human finds stimulating.  My reading materials are just different than yours.

And I still love ya.