"If the enemy cannot discourage you, he will do his best to distract you."—Jennifer Allwood.
I hit the Instagram icon thinking maybe I'd find an inspiring story to start my day. I came upon a post by Jen Hatmaker. I don't know much about Jen and I haven't read her books, but I've liked many of her posts. This post in particular was about how her little church went to the Austin Pride Parade and gave out free hugs. Here is the link to the same post on Facebook. My thought was, WOW what a wonderful way to spread love! Then I made the mistake and read a few of the comments. Unfortunately the ones that showed up first made my heart drop. Comment after comment, ridiculing the church and Jen for handing out free hugs at the Pride Parade for reasons you can imagine. The Instagram post alone had over 4500 comments. It only took two for me to immediately fall into sadness. I took a deep breath, put my phone down and picked up one of my daily reads. But I was so distracted. I kept reading the same sentence over and over. My mind was elsewhere. I put the book down and closed my eyes and began to breathe. I wanted to breathe away the judgement I felt towards those comments. I felt anger in my body that many who say they are Christian (or hypochristians), can spew so much hate. Most of all I felt anger in my body for my judgement of those people. None of it felt good. So I continued to breathe deeper and deeper, asking for mercy, forgiveness, healing and hope. I chanted those words over and over for myself and for others for what seemed like 30 minutes but, realistically only 5. When I opened my eyes the words started to flow from me. The opposite of what I know to be true for myself is true for someone else. I believe in the God of my understanding while they believe in theirs. The God of my understanding does not condemn so neither should I. Those comments clearly come from a place of fear. Fear. Period. And my judgement was coming from fear as well. My mind went to a place of fearing that our world will never know love like Jesus showed. Fear of what happens if we continue this spiral deeper into hatred and judgement. And what is this showing me about my own journey. To get to a healing place, I went through an exercise I learned from the Judgement Detox, by Gabby Bernstein. Answering these four questions:
What or whom am I judging?
How does this judgement make me feel?
Why do I feel justified in this judgement?
What moment in my life triggered me to feel justified in this judgement?
As I went through the exercise, my mind started to shift. I was allowing myself to let go of fear and understand the source of my emotions. The feelings shifted from my body to the page of my journal. Where initially my body reacted by feeling heavy and hurt, now I was releasing those feelings onto the page and letting them go from my being. The exercise itself, one that I've been practicing since the beginning of the year, is very cathartic. It shifts the focus from the "wrongs" of someone else, to my own patterns and healing. Knowing that I've been on both sides of that judgement, I can shift to a place of compassion and love. Because, WWJD? LOVE
We are all here for a purpose. God's purpose. When I've lost my way, it has always been because I lost my personal connection with God. When I let the noise of this world distract me, I lose my way. Fear and worry make me feel like I'm on this journey alone. Our world wants to keep us distracted with these types of fears. Your way is not my way so you are wrong! It plays out over and over every day. We are focusing on the rough seas around us, not using God as our compass. We are consumed 23 hours and 55 minutes a day with distractions and then we give God 5 minutes of half assed prayer at the end of the day. How backwards is that? It's totally selfish and comes from fear. Right where the enemy wants us! If we can get serious about a true connection with God in our hearts, then the distractions will be less and less. When we can truly get quiet, we can know LOVE. I believe we can get there, but it takes commitment and courage to look at our own truth.
Guard your hearts dear ones! They are precious and that, in my opinion, is where God is.