October 11, 2016

When you're tired of political memes

Have you ever felt like you were different than everyone else?  Like you couldn't be lumped into one specific group or category that society wants to put us in?  Like the songs that sings, "I'm a little bit country, a little bit rock n' roll," I often feel that way.  I find myself standing in the middle of opposing sides, landing somewhere in the middle of so many places.  I feel like I'm an and-both kind of person.  With many issues, I reside in gray areas because I don't think everything is so black and white.

Being a deep feeler, I experience the world around me with a heightened sense of awareness, which is both a blessing and a curse it seems.  I hear stories about refugees washing up dead on the seashore and I literally cry out to God in despair.  I long to open up my home to just one family, one child, one person and give them peace and safety, shelter and food, because isn't that what we're supposed to do?  There are other days I can't handle more catastrophic news and look away and want to hide under a rock because the mess of my own tiny world is enough for me to deal with.  And then I'm grieved because this world is a hurting mess and I do so little to show and share the love of Jesus to it. 

When I was younger, my differences made it hard to fit in anywhere.  I longed to belong to one specific group and be known as a big someone within that group.  I tried to "find myself" or whatever it is you call that in your teens and early twenties when you're figuring out who you are.  But, nothing ever seemed to fit and I've continued to discover that I'm not easily categorized as one thing or another. I like ruffles and tattoos.  I'm compliant and a rule-breaker.  I make friends easily and talk to everyone, but I can also be awkward and shy.

Like so many around me, I am grieved by our times.  It feels hard not to fear about the fate of our country, about who will be next to lead our nation, and what that will look like as their presidency unfolds.  I think more so, the venomous words, the ridiculous political memes and people I know who are followers of Jesus joining in on whatever side they've chosen and are using their voices to be loud and sometimes ugly.  We now live in a culture where everyone wants their opinions to be known.  Everyone wants to be right.  Everyone wants to be heard.

Also, can we just take a moment to remember the good 'ol days before there was such a thing as political memes?  ***happy sigh***  Those were truly glorious days.

Social media especially has reminded me of how different I am than so many I know, even within my own family.  When it comes to politics, I'm a little bit conservative, a little bit liberal.  I keep my opinions and thoughts to myself, especially in regards to political issues.  I don't want to be another voice that contributes to the loudness, especially when that loudness feels chaotic and slimy.  Other than my husband, I have two real-life friends that I will talk politics with that feel safe and uncondemning.  One republican and one democrat, I have come to appreciate their understanding of government and worldview even if we differ in certain places.  Perhaps the saddest thing of all is that no one, not even our elected officials, can seem to work together in the same way and both sides are to blame. 

If I have any ongoing, long-term goal, it's that my heart would look like the heart of Jesus.  I would care about the things He cares about.  I would speak the things He would speak.  I would be grieved for the things that grieve Him.  I would love the people He would love.  I don't always do a good job of that, but it is at the root of how I hope to live my life and how I love on and minister to others.

I keep going back to what I know about Jesus - who He was, how He lived, and the things He taught when He was here on earth.  Jesus disrupted the religious leaders of His time and stepped on so many spiritual toes as He did scandalous things like heal on the Sabbath and share meals with the low-life scoundrels of His day.  His teachings were radical and they still are:  If someone slaps your cheek, turn the other for them to hit also.  If someone needs your coat, give them the shirt off of your back too.  If you have hatred in your heart towards another, you've already committed murder.  He cared more about the welfare of the widow and the orphan than about our comfort or happiness. When you look at all of the things He taught and spoke and how we ought to conduct ourselves as His disciples, so much of it was about humility, grace, selflessness, love and kindness.  I have yet to see any of those things in a single political meme.

I have to wonder what Jesus' voice might sound like today.  What political party would He side with?  If He were in America right now and had His own Instagram and Facebook and Twitter - what would He be posting?  What would He say?  What would His voice sound like amidst all of the loudness of our world right now?  Would He be yelling at us to wake up?  Or would He be whispering something that He doesn't want us to miss in all of this political turmoil?  I'm curious, does my voice sound like His?  Does yours?

Whatever box you fit in, party you camp out with, group you belong to, or if you feel a little and-both like me, might we all consider our voices?  Maybe if we stop and at least consider what we sound like when we vocalize our opinions, political or otherwise, we might start filling social media and the world with the humility, grace, selflessness, love and kindness that Jesus is all about.  And that could actually change the world.

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