Test everything, especially what you believe

Several years ago we moved to a distant community we’d visited only once, and felt fortunate to find a couple willing to help us get settled. We took their advice about jobs, housing, schools, and the people, although at times what they claimed didn’t ring entirely true with my limited experience there.

Soon after we moved in, I began to realize that this couple perceived things very differently than we did, pointing out negatives which weren’t there and criticizing the sincere efforts of others they felt were “beneath them.” The picture they had been giving us about the community had been quite distorted.

Within weeks it became apparent that they had an agenda and were grooming us to support their efforts. As quickly as possible we severed ties with the couple and endeavored to learn the truth about our new home, which proved to be far better than we had been conditioned to believe.

Over the years I’ve ceased feeling embarrassed about being duped by this couple, and instead have grown grateful for the experience which taught me three important strategies for life:

  • Gather several points of view about a situation before making decisions.
  • Look for someone else’s agenda in what they proclaim to be the truth.
  • Don’t make hasty decisions but weigh them out before acting.

And I’m doing all of that more each day, with every news broadcast, every political stance, every health report—pretty much everything.

I get different viewpoints, even–and especially–from those “on the other side” politically. Don’t be afraid of the opposition; learn what they believe. Debate their positions in your head.

I look for agendas and what they ultimately hope to accomplish. The end result may be hard to discern, but their ultimate goal tell you all you need to know about how they will treat you and others in the future.

I don’t make hasty decisions, especially if someone is telling me exactly what I want to hear. That’s called bias confirmation, and in our zeal to be proven right, we may be unintentionally agreeing with something wrong.

Most importantly, it’s ok to take some time to form an opinion. On many issues, I still can’t make up my mind about who to trust, so I trust no one and remain floating in a pool of ambivalence until greater light and knowledge come to me.

And how do I get that greater light and knowledge? I pray and ask God about everything, and I mean everything, that I come across.

Quite often He gives me a clear answer in the form of peace in my mind about a matter, a calm reassurance that fills me with warmth.

I’ve learned to question everything, and not to simply take someone else’s word or testimony about an issue. I’m entitled to my own answers, and God wants to give them to me, and to you, if you want them.

Sometimes He doesn’t answer me immediately because either I’m not ready for it, or I have no way to discern the truth . . . yet.

But then later the answer comes, exactly when I’m ready to accept it and act upon it. It always comes. And it will for you, just as quickly as you’re ready to accept it and move on it. With answers comes responsibility. Where much is given, much is required.

But you don’t have to trust me about this–test Him for yourself. He’ll always tell you the truth and what to believe. Always.

“I’d rather fight the current”

Not long ago an acquaintance asked why I seemed distrustful of the media and government. She was embarrassed by some of my comments and posts, and thought I was “coming across as a little paranoid.”

Only a little? Clearly I’m not doing enough.

I chuckled sadly and told her, “My parents grew up in Nazi Germany.

“My formative years were filled with warnings and advice about putting too much faith in an entity that promises to fix everything.

My father was adamant about preserving and protecting freedom, especially of those with whom he disagreed. He wrote many letters to the editor insisting upon maintain our freedoms.

My mother watched the news carefully and analyzed every word.

“They were so proud to become citizens of America, and feared it may fall.

It was as if they knew I’d be living at a time when the world forgot how dictators create dissension and discord in order to overthrow a country.

“I’m grateful that they passed away a few years ago and can’t see what’s happening now to our history and freedoms.”

My acquaintance simply shrugged and said, “I don’t really know anything about the World Wars,” and walked away.

I wasn’t surprised. Very few people really want to know anymore. Too many in America seem to revel in ignorance, which is ironic since at no other time in the history of humans has information been so plentiful and easy to access.

Sadly, a section of our population prefers to be told what to believe and what to do, and believe that taking the seemingly easier way will be the better way. Free everything for everybody, and if it’s not given, then just take it. They seem to think the end result will be a country of easiness, equality, and handouts for everyone.

If they knew anything about history, they’d remember that in thousands of years, that result has never, ever occurred. Whoever ultimately achieves the “top seats” immediately pounces on the lower folks who got them there.

We’re being used by going along with every new edict, rule, and illogical mandate forced upon us without vote, without representation. I suspect that COVID-19 has now become a testing ground of sorts to see just how much citizens will put up with for the sake of the “common good.” How many freedoms and privileges will we give up for a virus that has a 98% survivability rate? We’ve been thrown into a massive experiment which has long since lost its initial purpose of flattening curves (they’re flat, very flat) and now has become a test of just how much control we’ll accept.

I’m encouraged by how many people are beginning to grow tired of the experiment, are beginning to question the “wisdom” behind many mandates, and are quietly beginning to take back their freedoms.

Together, we can fight the current and live.

Try to smile, even if it looks scary

After spending a wonderful but fast week with my children and grandchildren in Washington DC, and getting home late last night after driving through snow and ice, and taking down all of Christmas this morning, and trying to wrap my head around the idea of returning to school tomorrow (who thought a two-day week after Christmas would be a good idea?!), and realizing that I’m very far behind in grading, but still trying to plaster a hopeful smile on this weary, weary face, this quote seems quite appropriate to begin the new year:

strained smile

I’ll do my best to face my students tomorrow with a “naturally pleasant face,” but it’s gonna be tough. I just checked the weather, hoping for a sudden snow day, but alas–the weather gods are against me. It’s going to be partly cloudy and 36 degrees. Curse you, decent weather!!!

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But being with all of them again (even though two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and a granddaughter are missing) is totally worth it. I’m a wife, mom, and grandma first, and always.

Get Book 2, Soldier at the Door, here.