Sometimes, The Message Isn’t For Me

I have only been blogging for a couple of months, and yet I have watched, normally from the sidelines, as people with varying perceptions have “disagreed” with one another to the point that things have gotten somewhat heated. Some have quickly made amends, and others have parted ways completely. And it seems to me that it is unfortunate that this happens so often, because to me, it is only a matter of looking at things from an earthly standpoint instead of a heavenly one.

I tend to avoid such scrapes as much as I can, only being involved personally with my one throw-down on an atheist that I felt was disrespectful to an amazing degree. But, overall, I enjoy being at peace with my fellow man…or, in these cases, my fellow bloggers.

Yesterday, I had pretty much taken the day off from my computer, and when I logged on in the evening, I came across this post written by Sara, Universal Truths in answer to a post written by Anne, titled Personal Responsibility. I’ll let you catch up on the specifics, but the part that I want to address is perception.

As a young woman, I was under the mistaken impression that everything about a person could be summed up and categorized easily and efficiently, like cataloging some kind of vegetable or fruit. For example, I thought that if a person came from a home with an alcoholic parent, that person would either love or hate addictive substances. No middle ground. If a person grew up with normal, supportive parents, that person would in turn, be a normal, supportive parent. In my mind, I tended to over-simplify everything, including people. To me, the key to understanding a fellow person was in finding the correct formula that they fit in, like an algebra problem.

But, as I grew more mature, both spiritually and emotionally, and I began to deal with my own trauma from childhood, I was forced to admit that no one is truly uncomplicated. There are just too many factors that go into the sum total of a person, and with each layer I would peel off of my own self-consciousness, I would then learn to appreciate the same complexity in other human beings. Now, as I look back over my life, and the road of healing I’ve traveled, I am very slow in assuming that any other person on the planet can truly, truly understand completely why people are the way they are. And with this developing understanding of just how much we are not equipped to judge one another has come a mercy for people as I am beginning to see them from God’s perspective instead of my own. I learned to err always on the side of compassion, empathy, and mercy….all the things that I would have wanted people to give me when I was a lost, confused, angry girl.

The only universal truths I have found are in the Bible, but even in there, we don’t all fall in all of the categories. For instance, we all have varying degrees of spiritual gifts, or we struggle with different kinds of sins, etc. The one universal truth is that Jesus died for all of us, and His sacrifice was enough for anyone. But from there on, we each are approaching this life with our own sets of ideals, understandings, perceptions, mis-perceptions, and other lenses that color how we interact and react to one another.

I don’t think for even one minute that Anne was telling me, or Sara, to just get over our pasts. There is truth in her article about taking responsibility at some point in your life for your decisions. But, I guess what sparked the wariness in me is the somewhat generality of the post…Thrown out there like some random net, and not specific in its parameters.

I am not all bent out of shape about her perceptions, because taken in the context of what I believe she was aiming at, she is correct in her opinion. It is good to remember that the body of Christ is made up of many different kinds of people who vary in their gifts. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are so different, and if one takes a minute to think about the personality types that would excel at each of these different gifts, you’d find, like I did, that they would be really different.

We need the warriors in the body of Christ, but we also need the spiritual paramedics. We need people like me, who dismiss all the varying sins and shortcomings a person struggles with, and seek to see a person the way the Lord sees them, but we also need those evangelists and teachers that bring about conviction of sins, or there would be no addressing and purging of sins in any of our lives, either.

All of our gifts were given to us in order to work together in order to bring people into the Kingdom of God; to encourage each other to stay in the fight; to point the confused or lost in the right direction; to help each other in the ways that we each individually need at that moment. It would be counter-productive to be angry or resentful or dismissive of varying perceptions from our sisters and brothers in Christ just because they don’t fit our limited scope of what we think is important. Instead, by widening our viewpoint, it is rather easy to see how each of our differences, our strong points and our weak ones, work together beautifully in the big picture of the Christian Church.

Anne’s post may have hit home for someone else, even though it might not have been necessary for me, or Sara. And as such, it is important for each of us to weigh the importance of a message for our own lives, and if it is not relevant to our own circumstances at that moment, dismiss it and move on. It doesn’t say anything at all if a message simply isn’t pertinent to an individual at that moment. It might still be important for someone else.

— Bird

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Author: Catherine aka "Bird"

Marketing Specialist Recruiter Freelance Writer Blogger

51 thoughts on “Sometimes, The Message Isn’t For Me”

  1. I understand what you’re saying…I think…but the funny thing about it to me is that while you say that you don’t agree with what I was saying in that post…you are doing it nonetheless. I see you as someone who is moving on and owning your life. The journey of it all and how long it takes or what all it entails is very much different for different people, as you’re saying. May I ask you what you think I’m saying that’s different than what you are? Because I don’t see anything you’ve said that I disagree with. I don’t think it’s like an algebra formula either. We’re all different in how fast we move and in the way we proceed.

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    1. I have to admit that I got a bit confused in your article, not because you aren’t writing clearly. I’ve gotten confused a few time today, which is usually indicative that I am suffering some sleep deprivation. That being said, what it seemed to me to say was that other than children who are abused by adults, people need to eventually stop using the pains of their childhoods as convenient excuses for making the wrong decisions in their own adult lives. Then, in the next part, it seems to say that even the people who have legitimate excuses from things that happened in their childhood should eventually come to the point that they are responsible for themselves and should stop blaming the aforementioned childhood. I don’t actually disagree with you. I think that in an over-all, general context, this is rather true. But people like me or Sara, we deal with specifics and details, all tied to powerful emotions of blame, guilt, shame, anger…and so when you read something that seems to generally dismiss the depth of painful memories and generally encourage us to accept responsibility for our own adult lives, it would feel like a bit of an accusation to us. It sounds like, “Just grow up. All that happened years ago and you should let it all go and just get on with your life. After all, all your mistakes are your own now.” I know that isn’t at all what you were saying, but it is what someone with a childhood sexual abuse history is going to hear. See what I mean? No one is exactly wrong here. You can’t help how other’s lives will color their perception of your words. Invariably, we all are going to rub someone the wrong way, and my bet is that we rarely do it on purpose. Understanding that perceptions are just always going to be colored by the lenses of an individual’s life helps us to tread gently, and whenever it can’t be helped, to be quick to point out the true motivation, and then let it all go.

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      1. Thank you for clarifying. I do understand…and I think it does boil down to those filters we have. I got upset and defensive to a high degree over all this myself…absolutely horrified for having been misunderstood (which is one of my biggest things that I dislike in life)…yet, unable to retract what I said, because I believe it. Just know…I do not disagree with you or with Sara in what you have said, or with what from what I can see, either of you is doing. There are no pat answers, and we all do have those emotional triggers. I think all of us reached ours today. 🙂 I hope we can find peace and reconciliation as friends through it. Because I truly do care about you both, and think you’re both amazing individuals.

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        1. Please rest easy now. I seriously am not at all upset with you. I knew you didn’t intentionally rattle my cage, and to me, motivations are of the highest importance. I just thought is was an excellent sedge-way into addressing how we interpret everything we see, hear, and read through our own life lenses. You are never not going to ruffle someone’s feathers, and you worked really hard to clarify your motives. You’ve done what you should do, and now it is all behind us. Given the differences in all the personalities involved, I imagine it is going to happen again, but as we all grow to understand each other, it’ll be less dramatic. Plus, you have to remember that all we are doing is reading words on a screen…all the other forms of communication that we use to convey our meanings like tone, expression, body language..are all missing here, so misinterpretations are bound to happen. We should be quick to assume the best in each other, and slow to assume something was a personal attack. That should keep us all out of hot water!!

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  2. Hmm.. this WP “reply” function is confusing. Anyway, I’m tearing up here. I’m tired and emotionally spent. Funny how words on the web still have the ability to move me here and there. The words from hubby was for Bird. Sorry if it came out wrong as it landed in the wrong place. I know I should move on now, but find myself unable to. There seems to be too much at stake. When even people I respect and admire eventually tells me to “buck up and move on”, it gets me in a way that I don’t like and don’t know how to handle. Thank you for putting it in a way that makes me feel less insane, Bird.

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    1. Oh Sara! You are truly not an insane person! I feel exhausted by my own emotions on a regular basis, and I imagine I will be grappling to control them until the day I die. When I read Anne’s post, I instantly freaked out a little on your behalf..more so than on my own. It isn’t a slur on Anne; I just knew exactly what you would have read through your own lenses, and I wanted immediately to mitigate any damage it would cause you.
      You are in a really vulnerable place in your healing, and I wish I could tell you that it is almost over, but unfortunately I can’t. What I can say is that one day, little things won’t always be able to take you by surprise and throw you off your game. You’ll be able to take a step back, really index and organize your reaction, and file it away, without all the emotional upheavals you are going through right now. One thing that really helped me was to just accept that some subjects were always going to be tender spots, and not get so down on myself for reacting to them. I think we desperately want to become normal, but Sara, I have to say, I don’t believe there is any such thing as “normal”. We are just as normal as anyone else, and we are dealing with our own lives the best way we know how, just like everyone else. When I really sat down to think about it, I long ago decided that i like just being myself. It is okay to like yourself, Sara. It makes things so much easier to deal with.
      I really love you, girl!

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    2. I don’t think you should ‘buck up and move on’ Sara, and certainly wasn’t saying that. At least not anymore than I see that you’re already doing to the very best of your ability. I can’t imagine what you went through, and still do in your recovery. I get mad or hurt when I think I hear people saying that to me too. Had something very similar happen just a few days ago. Someone telling me I was emotional because I wasn’t looking up like I should be…that I had taken my eyes off God. I just looked at them. I am sorry you got hurt by my words. That’s the truth. Maybe tomorrow all this will look better for all of us. Love and blessings to you…sincerely.

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      1. We all got sucked into our past hurts and wounds today, and if for nothing else, it was certainly educational. Hopefully we’ll be able to laugh about it later until our dentures fall out – when we’re sharing rooms at a seniors’ home. 🙂

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        1. I hope so. Like Bird said, we don’t have the benefit on here of ‘hearing’ the tone of voice…seeing the pain or the genuine intentions of each other. Words typed on a page is all we have…with an occasional emoticon thrown in. All this did hurt me today too…especially because my marriage just broke up after I was accused of being judgmental and trying to play God by someone who I thought did know my heart and that it wasn’t who I am! That, I’m sure, had a lot to do with the extent of my defensiveness in it all. I was thinking tonight, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Thank God for Bird who has been the peacemaker here I think…and I’m also SO thankful for God who sees each of our hearts in it all. Now…where’s that Krispy Kreme when you need it?? Ha ha If we ever get that chance, I might even put on some spandex. But y’all would have to guarantee that you wouldn’t pretend you didn’t know me if I did! LOL

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          1. I’m truly thankful for Bird and my husband who made me see that there was another side to it. And I’m thankful for my blog that prevents me from having my head explode.

            I do hope you put on your spandex so we can have a world tour soon. We will most definitely NOT pretend that we don’t know you. You will be placed front and center with us on the stage, and we will be wearing equally ill-fitting spandex outfits while we “sing” our hearts out. At least you can sing, me – I’m more than questionable in that area. Lol.

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  3. i have read all from start to end, and i just want to say how proud i am of all of you for working through this. i love all of you. i’m such a sucker for my blogging friends……….

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  4. It is not possible to understand all the beings by studying one particular being. Sometimes I wonder about the complexity of our minds which work so in different ways but yet altogether the same. We have our own perceptions, views, thoughts, feelings towards everything and anything, yet we are sometimes not able to acknowledge that which is quite very odd.
    A lesson- I understand is something that we learn by the ideas that we borrow from others but that doesn’t mean we can’t mould them for our better understanding. I’m not a born Christian, so I don’t have much knowledge about the verses or teachings of the Bible, yet when I was reading your post, I got some lesson in a spiritual way.
    And your thoughts regarding categorizing people based on their background, well you have summed it up correctly by saying that it is not always true because a being can be altogether different anyhow, there are just so many things that influence us all and it is better we get to know our inner-beings first before noticing others and their lives.
    I think we as individuals don’t know ourselves because of our sheer ignorance towards the angel that is a part of us as well as the devil that too resides in us.

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  5. I replied on Sara’a post yesterday maybe i shouldn’t have but at the minute we have two stories in our local new where mothers killed their children one through neglect one through abuse both blamed their own childhoods as the ‘excuse’ for their actions. i admitted I hadn’t read all anne’s orginal post but it was the quote Sara used about as an adult taking responsibility that hit home in light of whats going on here. This morning I just felt that I should clarify the type of behaviour which I was refering to when I said that I cannot accept that childhood abuse can be used to justify i accept that is my opinion as someone who has never suffered abuse and others may feel differently

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    1. It is my opinion that there is a difference between understanding why someone has done something, and excusing it. If you abuse a child because you yourself were abused, I understand why you do it, but I most definitely don’t excuse it. A person who even thinks they could possibly keep the cycle of abuse going should take measures to not be around children until they can work through the issues. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen, and we keep the cycle going.

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  6. It is impossible to reply in short to this post of yours. I think all I want to say about it, is that people are sometimes too quick to take things personally. Somebody may say or write something that they find relevant or something they live by, and that is not to say that another person should see that as the Alpha and Omega of their existence as well. I think we should sometimes read other peoples writings objectively, and try and see it from their perspective. If we can’t agree, let it go – it is not normally meant as a personal attack. I know there are exceptions, and people take each other on personally here on the blogs, but they can’t ‘fight’ with you, if you don’t react…
    I may be missing the point here, and if I am, well, just ignore my musings, they are only my point of view anyway! 🙂

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    1. I actually think your musings are good Zelmare. I know I’ve been thinking about this…as in what now? I care about my friends, so do I have to start walking on eggshells to avoid something I might say that would hurt them? I even thought twice about adding this response to you for that reason. Sara said above she’s thankful for her blog that keeps her head from exploding. I understand that completely. I started mine on Mar. 31 because I was going through a separation, had been very ill and was stuck here all the time, and needed a place to go and let it all out somehow. And it has become much more than that in the process, and reaches a lot more eyes than I ever imagined or intended in the beginning. And I’ve made some cherished friends like Bird and Sara and Terry, among others. But I need a place where I can go…uncensored…to state my thoughts and beliefs. I spent a lot of my life stifling myself for various reasons, so that I didn’t rock some boat. If I have to do that now on this blog, I might as well shut the thing down.

      And this absolutely isn’t meant as an attack…just as a response…stating my feelings in response to what you said…that people are going to say things sometimes that may be said in some way other than what we’re necessarily comfortable with. It happens to me where I come across things friends have said that I don’t agree with, or that even bothers me. I might speak up, or I might just leave it alone. It depends. But I do think that many of us are just like Sara…we have our blogs in the first place to keep our heads from exploding. 😀

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      1. I know all about walking on eggshells as well – that was how my marriage was. I lost myself a bit, and found it difficult to really express my feelings. It’s becoming easier. And one should be able to express one’s feelings without always worrying about offending someone. Over and out! 🙂

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    2. I think the only reason Sara was hurt by the post was because Anne is considered a close friend here online. She probably wouldn’t have gotten so upset if she had read it on someone else’s site.

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  7. as someone else who has gone through the bad childhood abuse thing I’ll put in my 2 cents. I let it rule who I was becoming for way too long. I made a decision to change my perspective and changed who I was. I do think a point came for me that made me look at my life to not be just a victim of it as an adult

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    1. We all arrive at that point in our own time, and in our own ways. I don’t see myself as just a victim anymore, but some of what happened to me will always be visible in my personality.

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  8. In many years of being online and blogging, I’ve found that most folks tend to like to read things that they can ‘agree’ with. That they can sit there and silently nod their head at, which makes them feel reassured about some viewpoint or belief that they also share.

    They like things where they can leave little ‘me too’ comments, and feel better about themselves.

    What they do not like is ripples in the water, or someone with an opposing viewpoint. People say they are ‘tolerant’, etc, but when it comes down to practice, very few are. Especially those that espouse they are. 😉 In other words those who we would think would be the most tolerant, are actually the least tolerant.

    I know and love people of all faiths and no faith. It has very little bearing on the individual inside. I’ve known atheists that I could have sworn were saints in a past life, and Christians that I thought were Lucifer out on parade. So it really does run the gamut.

    I tend to discard labels entirely, and look at the core being inside all of the fluffy labels.

    Which is why I’m friends with such a huge array of people of such varying beliefs. I respect all of them, and they can believe whatever they like or don’t like. Rare is it that I get such consideration back, but it does happen, and when it does, those folks turn out to be long time friends in the end.

    I don’t remember how I stumbled across your blog, but I can tell you it wasn’t looking for God related or Christian related blogs. It was probably through reading another blog I follow and there was either a comment there, or a link back to your blog. And in reading your blog over the past month or so, I’ve found that the interesting individual that is going through trials and tribulations and the dynamic and strong woman, has very little to do with ‘God’, though ye may not wish to hear it.

    As I said on another one of my posts to someone else the other day. I don’t usually comment where matters of people’s ‘beliefs’ or religion are concerned, as folks will get readily bent out of shape faster than anything else. Religion, politics, and money, ‘tis said, are the 3 things you can’t discuss around the American dinner table without someone blowing a gasket. 😉

    Which I just find silly. I feel everything in the universe should be on the table for honest, open discussion. After all, how else do we learn?

    So, to sum up my point in all this mishmash, is that you really can’t tell a book by it’s cover, nor as you said, categorize them easily and efficiently. People have many layers and are dynamic beings. And how an individual acts and behaves towards others, has almost zero to do with what their faith or belief is or isn’t.

    Which all points to being more tolerant. Those of us who express belief in being tolerant that is. I’m not tolerant. 😉 I’m respectful, mostly. But not tolerant. I’ve been known more than once to tell someone I think they’re loony toons for the off the wall stuff they believe. But as long as everyone can take themselves a little less serious, I think that folks can find a way to accept that people will believe or not believe whatever they wish to, and leave said belief where it belongs: in the ‘personal’ department.

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    1. I’m glad you found your way here. I have a large array of various kinds of friends, especially here on-line. I don’t know if I would consider myself tolerant or not. I am very firmly a Christian, but I really don’t concern myself much with arguing with people about their beliefs. To each his own.

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  9. I have found this same tendency to misinterpret in sermons, too. I have heard pastors preach something from one point of view, which is correct as far as it goes, but they also leave some things out which makes you think they are implying something else altogether. And often that ‘something else’ is not true to scripture. I’m sure the preacher has no intention of leaving this impression. No sermon, blog post, or even book can ever address every issue or point involved in a topic, and that leaves room for questions and assumptions and confusion as well. I find, in my writing, a tendency for excessive detail because I’m afraid someone will think I mean something I don’t mean because of what I haven’t said. It’s not so much in my blog posts as in the books I write. But I will never get it all there. Heavens, I would probably have to write volumes to say it all – and then I would find something left out! 🙂 Wow, I hope this makes some kind of sense to you.

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    1. Oh, yes. I understand completely. There is just no way we aren’t going to be misinterpreted sometimes. But,I think people get a feel after awhile of how you are and how you think, which helps when the occasional questionable subject may arise. Don’t you think?

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      1. Yes, I agree with you Bird. The problem lies in not knowing someone well and we don’t know what is behind their remarks. I remember an elderly couple years ago who became friends. I knew Alice because she came to church. The first time I met her husband I thought, “What a miserable guy.” But when I got to know Snowy (it didn’t take long) I realized he simply had a very dry sense of humor and found he was very likeable and a lot of fun. Getting to know people is key.

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        1. Absolutely agree with you! I like to try to always assume the best, and be surprised by the worst in people. It really helps when you only know people through print. 🙂

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  10. This is first time visiting your post…. and I love it!

    I found you when I went Gravatar fishing from Stephenedwards425 Blog. I think it was a good catch and will follow you for a while.

    May God Bless your Kingdom Journey!!! 🙂

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