Refreshing Hearts One Sentence At A Time
Her body slackened, the skin crinkling and creasing under the weight of care, absolution, and deciding whether or not she should get up and refill her coffee cup for the third time that morning.
Those green eyes flickered wider, a glimmer of hope sparkling like sugar glitter on the top of a cream cheese frosted cupcake. Yes. Just. Coffee.
Why is the world filled with violence and hate?
See there, some light and easy reading for a Friday morning! Why do people begin their mornings with mumbles and fumbles, with slamming doors and cold feet?
Because of sweeping generalizations.
Happy Fragment Sentence Friday, everybody!
What are sweeping generalizations? Sweeping generalizations are statements that cover a blanket of people without faces, names, specifics, or facts. Sweeping generalizations disregard the singular person and shove her into a crowd of tired clichés. The world is filled with hate! People these days! Why are conservatives so boring, and why are liberals against humanity? Everything is going to burn!
Those statements above are sweeping generalizations, and sweeping generalizations make my blood boil. Sweeping generalizations are often incorrect. I keep repeating the phrase so that you can remember it better and think about it through the day. Many of my students use sweeping generalizations in their writing. Many media outlets and social media platforms unknowingly encourage sweeping generalizations. I quite often find myself thinking in sweeping generalizations. Usually those sweeping generalizations are statements of lost hope, anger, or depression. Sweeping generalizations can be obliterated by using specific facts supported by truthful, unbiased opinion, and detailed discussion.
All truth and hope is found in God, our maker and creator, the great shepherd and keeper, the knower of hearts, the fabulous finder of lost souls. God knows who you are; he made you, he discovered you, he placed you together piece by piece, and knows your deepest, darkest wishes, hopes, and talents. He sees YOU, as well as the masses. He sees YOU, maybe even more than the masses. Maybe there are no such things as masses. Maybe that idea is something mankind has created so we can stand ourselves because we are so limited. Just like time. And lightbulbs. And Jamberry nail wraps.
I sell Jamberry nail wraps. Hey, keep reading. I love ‘em. I love my pretty nails and I love the company. Home Office sends out encouragement emails with a theme for the month. This month is “Find Your Inner Unicorn.”
“We love that our Jamberry Consultants have coined the word "unicorn" to mean their favorite wrap. We decided to play off this word to encourage you to find your inner "unicorn" or your own unique self. Find what makes you unique and use it to set yourself apart or make yourself memorable… Challenge yourself — use this month to find your inner unicorn and embrace it — you never know how memorable it might be to someone” (JamGram, October 2015).
Today I have an answer for all of those questions about the negativity. Forget about everybody else. Put down the remote control, the phone, and yes, even the coffee cup, and embrace The One who sees each person and soul. He is Love, He is Truth, and He is greater than you or I can imagine. He sees you as his unicorn. Maybe that sounds silly. But He made you. So that means something! Because He made you and put you where you are, He can make it awesome. Use that knowledge to embrace individuals you meet, share the gift of love, and your unicorny gift that God has given you. God is bigger than gun control, government conspiracies, mental illness, alcohol, lostness, and stubborn pride.
So on Day Two of our thirty days together, forget about failing, fumbling, falling, or thinking you can’t do this; forget about fear of disillusioned disappointment, and instead look up.
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand--
when I awake, I am still with you…
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:13-18; 23-24
The way everlasting is a long journey. So we need tools sharpened and at the ready. Do not forget about the masses, do not forget about sweeping generalizations, but for now, focus on The One.
Today we focus on how God can use that unicorn. Go rock it.
Day One of this journey began by waffling between lethargy, doubt, overwhelmed determination, and a pizza.
Day one is supposed to be the first day of a fitness program.
So Day Two.
See, I have all sorts of excuses for why I wanted that pizza. Mainly I was lazy, worn out, tired, and hungry. My HEC was not in check. Hunger kept running around the house, chasing the two little kids, tossing toys about one after the other, pulling the birthday decorations off the walls. Energy twisted her ankle earlier and pulled every muscle in her legs when we were doing jump squats with twenty pounds weights and the instructor asked why she was flopping around on the floor. Cravings kept standing in front of the pantry, seeing if the graham crackers had gone stale yet, and shoving chocolates down her throat because she wasn’t sure how many rejection emails she could take.
And that is why my HEC was out of check, and why we move forward with a kiss into the air and a half-hearted shrug.
You see, I am one self-doubting little person. (Or not so little, as some recent pictures would whisper and nudge, nudge.) I am very shy and have almost zero percent faith in my abilities to do anything more than making a cup of coffee in the morning. I can push a button on the Keurig. So far, I haven’t messed that up.
So when I set off, throwing my pink polka dotted satchel over my shoulder and attempting to whistle any kind of tune, I am very aware of the crowd that is not watching. I’d like to be Someone Respected. I’d like to be Somebody Who Makes A Difference. I’m super awesome at being Someone In The Background. Not sure if that last one can get me where I can to go. But it’s written on a certificate somewhere, so it has to mean something.
This 30 Days that I am starting will be ups and downs, and I know I can do it because I have mostly done it before. Writing about it and inspiring others, well, that is the trick, isn’t it? Because “writing” and the characteristics of it do not seem to be an all-too-respected career. Anybody can write, right? I mean, if you can tweet, then you can write. Waa waa.
I’ve written millions of words in my life but I don’t know if they are doing anything that matters. So what matters? What will ignite a person to hit the “I like that” button or share it? Because I don’t seem to have that figured out. Am I too self-involved? Probably. Do people not share because they think I’m too big for my britches? (I am on the verge, guys, I know, that’s why I wear yoga pants all the time!) Do people not share because they know I’m just a silly old soul who is quirky and awkward at short conversations and says the absolute wrong thing at the wrong time? Am I just not cool enough? Am I not nice enough? Am I not memorable enough?
That’s what the thought process goes like.
Apparently many people have these thoughts, because there are books and books about it. Dang it. Stop it, people!
No, I’m kidding. Just joshing ya. Keep on writing. If you have a talent, pursue it. If you have a goal, lunge toward it. If you have a restless yearning, seek the source.
If the plans are not working out, make different plans.
Perhaps your greatest fault is your beauty, nestled securely beneath your doubts. You have a uniqueness, a gift, which is a source of joy for you. May you claw your way into the dirt and mire to recapture that treasure, and with sweat dripping down your temple, glisten beneath the scathing sun. That gift can only be used by your precious hands and others need to see it. You need to appreciate it. You need to feel connected to your Maker by using that gift.
Maybe you haven’t found it yet, or maybe you are too afraid to seek it, or even think about finding the time to use it.
But when you use that gift, the voices in the background grow dimmer, the light above grows brighter, and the ether begins to tilt in your direction.
Day Two begins tomorrow. We have no guarantee that the journey will last any longer than today, so please, let’s explore the path while we still have time. My daughter will often say, “I’ll do it next time,” like when we were indoor skydiving and she was petrified to enter the chamber for the second whirling ride. Honey, there may not be another time. Sweetpea, this is all we have.
Waffle with me a little bit this evening, and I hope you will check back tomorrow. We can travel together, sharing those last bites of birthday chocolates, and giggle about how stinking delicious Cinnabon coffee creamer tastes. Stand in the light with me. This is what we got, this is what we gain, and these little moments strip away the darkness.
But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (1 Corinthians 1:9)
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