Tag Archives: grace

Who are you following?

A few weeks ago, someone on Twitter asked the question, “what qualities do you think a leader should have”? And well, I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

I think many of us don’t really think of ourselves as leaders because we’re, “Just Mom’s”. But guess what, that’s so far from the truth. In fact, we’re the first leadership example that our kids will see and frankly, we need to start taking that more seriously.

When you think of a leader in your community, what are the first things you think of? I hope that the words hard-working, diligent, intelligent and gracious come to mind. More often than not though, that’s not what we think of. We usually think things like impersonal, unapproachable, power-hungry, etc. For me personally, I think that’s a shame but quite often, it’s a reality.

We need to do better. We need to recognize the roles that we hold, and honor them. I truly believe that whatever we choose to do, we need to do it to the best of our ability. Our choices should be made with purpose and consideration. Especially when it comes to times and situations where we’re influencing others, such as our children, friends, colleagues, etc.

If you’ve been elected to public office, you need to remember that your job is to represent the people who you serve. You are not in that position to bring glory to yourself or your office. You were elected to that role, take it seriously and do your stinkin’ job.

If you’ve been blessed with children, you need to remember that you are their leader and that those little faces are following your example. C’mon, how many times have we caught ourselves saying the exact same phrases that our Mothers said to us? Our children will become “us”, never forget that. Ever.

If you have a job outside of your home, there is always someone looking to you for help or instruction. These are the moments that make strong leaders, don’t let them slip by. Even if you’re on the bottom of the so-called ” corporate ladder”, there will always be a situation that can be used to encourage, promote or stand-out.

When you’re out with friends or family members, and you see that they’re being treated unjustly or are being the aggressors themselves. Stand up and say, “that’s enough”. We can never become our best if we’re being torn down or tearing others apart. Being a good example is an excellent place for leadership to begin.

We are leaders at work, in playgroups, at church, while we’re driving down the road, or posting on Facebook. Leadership opportunities are around us ALL the time, embrace them and use them to make a change in the world around you.

Being a good leader has nothing to do with being a tyrant or bossing people around. Don’t ever fall into the trap of believing that the louder and more aggressive individual is the one that should be leading the way. That doesn’t work.

Instead, look at leadership as an opportunity to lift up the people around you. Leaders look at the strengths and qualities in the people around them, and encourage them to use them to their best of their abilities. Leaders bear the brunt of responsibility while quite often letting the glory go to someone else. Leaders sometimes say No, but they don’t belittle or demean. Leaders treat people with grace while remaining humble themselves. Being a leader is NEVER easy, but it is always worth it.

I’m in no way saying that we shouldn’t work hard to achieve great things, so please don’t think that. Push forward for promotions at work, enjoy awards that you earn, and be proud of everything good that you do. Just always honor the journey that you took to get to the top, those struggles, trials and people left behind are what helped you get there. As a leader in your field, use these opportunities to show grace and thankfulness.

Leaders challenge people to become better. To step out of their comfort zone. To shine. To grow. Leaders make a difference. They leave a mark. Their absence leaves a hole. They change the world. Leaders are normal, everyday people. Leaders are you and me.

Please don’t EVER think that you are not a Leader, just make sure that the trail you’re blazing is worth following.

leader

My lesson in Humility and hopefully, Forgiveness

Today has been an interesting day. It’s Anti-Bullying Day and I wrote a blog about a few of my personal experiences of being bullied. It was tough to write, but it was one of the chapters that makes up my story and has helped me become the person that I am today. As it turns out, my grade 7 story is shared by someone else, and unfortunately, I was on the other side of it.

I received a reply on my blog post, and it absolutely broke my heart. I read it four times, and then replied privately to the writer, and instead of instantly hitting “approve”, I did nothing. I logged into the back of my blog and read some other comments and replied to a few of them. And some way, somehow, I ended up deleting this particular response. My first thought was, “phew, no one needs to see that” but my second thought was, how would I want my words addressed, so here we are.

Thankfully, I still have the original email, so I’m posting a screenshot of it here for you all to read.

sunny

I know that’s really hard to read, so I’m copying and pasting it here.

Very well written! Good for you for standing up against bullying. It is terrible that you were bullied. I do hope you remember that you were also on the other side of the boat in grade 7. I considered not saying anything but since you are calling out people that you know I feel I had to stand up for myself too. Do you recall writing a note with your friend about how you couldn’t believe the new girl wore the same shirt for two days in a row and then proceeded to pass it around the ENTIRE class? I do. That was my first taste of bullying, it knocked the wind of an already awkward shy girl. I put it behind me and realize now it was probably what you had to do to get some revenge for being picked on yourself. Before you call out everyone in your former Junior High school please know that some of us know exactly how you felt.

Now you know why my first instinct at the mistaken delete felt “good”. To say that I feel ashamed of what I’ve done is a gross understatement. I actually still cannot even believe that I did such a thing, and don’t remember doing it at all. But if this person says that I did this, I need to own my part in it.

So “Sunny”, whoever you are, this response is for you.

Number One. Thank-you for writing this reply, I’m sure it was really hard to do and I so appreciate your willingess to put yourself out there.
Number Two. I am so very sorry for hurting you. I honestly can’t remember doing that, but I’m not going to say that I didn’t do it either. I’d love to say that I hope you were right and that I did it to take the attention off myself, but that would be a total cop-out. If I did that, there is no excuse and it shouldn’t have happened.
Please know that if I could go back and redo that moment in time, that I would. When I read your words, I literally felt like throwing up. It makes me sick to learn that I made someone else feel the exact same things that I was feeling. That is so not okay, and I am so sorry. Please forgive me for being a part of something that so obviously affected you deeply but thank-you for giving me the opportunity to set it right.

Today has been a day of humbling for me. As an adult, I conciously make the effort to choose better because I know the pain that bullying and judgement can cause. But today, this one simple act of courage taken by someone from my past has forced me to once again look in the mirror.

Thank-you for not expecting me to be perfect and thank-you for forgiving me in my weakness when I wasn’t yet strong. Your words affected me deeply, and I promise you, they will not be taken for granted.

Save the Drama for your Mama.

Drama. It’s everywhere, it’s annoying and it doesn’t seem to be going away. Facebook and Twitter seem to be a breeding ground for stupid, and I am constantly shocked by all of the things I read on a daily basis. It really is sickening and wrong, and frankly, pathetic.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks watching friends and acquaintances get attacked and wrung through the ringer. I’ve seen people be disgustingly abusive and ignorant. I’ve seen incredibly intelligent people get caught up in other people’s “attention seeking” displays of crazy. I’ve deleted really inappropriate and graphic pictures on my page and my childrens.   I’ve also just had to unfriended a handful of really mean & ignorant “friends”.  I’ve said nothing.

Until now.

If you go on Facebook and say, “I need advice”, don’t expect anything less than that. Don’t freak out when people say something that you don’t agree with or don’t understand. Listen and do whatever you want with it. Just don’t get all crazy, especially since you ASKED FOR IT. Opinions are exactly that, opinions. We don’t all need to agree.

If you post something completely inappropriate or ignorant or abusive or nasty, and you get called out on it, shut-up. Odds are good, you wrote that to get a reaction, so if it doesn’t go the way you think it should, suck it up. You said it, now deal with it.

If you constantly find yourself caught up in situations with people who are always saying, “I hate drama”, odds are really good that they are quite often the start of said drama. Also, be aware that you will at some point get completely and totally caught up in their craziness. Don’t like drama, stay away from the people who are constantly stirring the pot. If your “friends” are starting sentences with “I don’t mean to be rude”, or “no offense”, look for new friends.

If you wake up one morning and find that you’re mad at the world, or your husband or your best friend, please remember that your Facebook status is forever. The words that you post in that small space can destroy your life or theirs. Is it really worth it?

If you insist on making young children and teenagers your “friends”, PLEASE limit what they can see on your page. I really don’t think young people need to see their teachers, leaders or parents best friends in compromising situations. There is nothing like having to explain to your 12-year-old that their teacher must just be wearing a skin coloured shirt, and that she isn’t in fact naked. Use your head people.

If you have an opinion on something and it is solely based on emotion and or ignorance, you are going to be called out by others. Keep that in mind before you bare your soul on any social media platform. If you feel that the best way to get your point across is to use disgusting words or terms, give your head a shake. You have a right to your own opinion but you do not have the right to be abusive and ignorant to make your point. Ever. Do not mistake the anonymity of social media as a disguise for bullying or abuse. GROW UP.

On the flip-side:

If someone says something to bait you and get a response. Ignore them. Let them sit there looking like a fool and just leave it alone. Sometimes, it really is better to just turn the other cheek and be the bigger person. There is no shame in just walking away and saying nothing. The crazies are never going away, they just aren’t. But please, do yourself a favour and don’t engage. I’m not saying that you don’t respond, but when you do, speak with purpose. Normal, healthy debate is an awesome thing. Adding fuel to an already raging fire of stupidity is something totally different.

There is so much power in words, but words ONLY have power if we give power to them. If someone is constantly calling you a loser or stupid, who cares? Those words will hurt but you must choose to ignore their nonsense and keep the power for yourself. No one else can determine your worth. That is in your hands.

So from one adult to another … please be exactly that. An adult. Guard your words. Bite your tongue. And sometimes, just shush it and walk away.

Faith shouldn’t make you Crazy.

This post is different from the rest, but it’s something that I really feel like I must address. Agree or disagree, that’s totally cool. Either way, think of this as a challenge to do better.

Religion/Faith. Why does it make so many people crazy, and mean and totally inappropriate? Why is it that people use it as a shield to hide behind while they throw stones and jabs at others? Why do people claim their own righteousness while lying about what they’re doing behind closed doors? Why do people believe that a proclamation of faith makes them more valuable than the others around them? Why do people insist on standing in a place of judgement when they themselves are not perfect? Why do Christian people spend so much time pushing Non-Christians away? Why do we continue to do these things to each other? I just don’t get it.

I consider myself truly blessed to have friends from all walks of life, with different belief systems and even some with no belief system at all. I’ve heard stories of people and their walks with God, and quite often their walk away from God. Many of my friends and acquaintances have switched their beliefs and now follow totally different systems than what they grew up with. Some have never heard any other “message” than what was taught to them when they were little. Many don’t really even believe in anything and just choose to do good. When I question friends and their choices, I’m always saddened to learn their reasons for not believing and/or walking away. It’s people. It’s almost always people. Stupid People.

I know what I believe and in my heart, I know that it is true and right. I know what I read in the bible, and those are the words that guide my life. I also recognize that there are many things in the bible that I accept as truths that lots of people don’t share with me. I’m also fully aware that lots of people feel that many of the principles and ideals taught in the bible are outdated and really don’t apply anymore. I know that the Bible has been interpreted many different ways, and that bits and pieces have been changed to suit different groups purposes and beliefs. I know all of that, and yet, I still believe.

What bothers me more than anything is when “Christians” act holier than thou and beat each other down in the name of their religion. Until we are perfect and without any sin in our own hearts and lives, we cannot judge. Ever. Do you not see that by judging so harshly that you’re pushing people so far into corners that they have to come out fighting? What is the point in putting people on the defensive? What purpose does that really serve? Please tell me where God is in that?

Am I suggesting that you turn your back on what you believe and throw your ideals to the wind? Absolutely not. What I am suggesting is that we listen to the people around us. If you don’t agree with what they’re saying or what they’re practicing, that’s okay. It’s your right to walk away, just as it is theirs. You do not have to support their causes, their political choices or what they practice at home. But you can love them in spite of your differences and be an example of what God has asked us to do. Love one another.

God is about forgiveness and meeting people exactly where they’re at. God is about saving people from themselves and their silly choices and decisions. God is about loving your neighbour as yourself. God is not about judgement, discord or ignorance. If you’ve been affected negatively by “christians”, please know that we’re not all the same. God didn’t let you down, people did. Never forget that.

People mess up all the time. There are gossips leading churches. Revered pastors have engaged in extra-marital affairs. Congregation members have met outside of church and engaged in illegal activities. Political leaders make false statements. Upstanding leaders commit horrific crimes.  Those things do happen, but that isn’t God. That is people exercising their free will, a God given right. Unfortunately some people use that gift to abuse and mistreat others or to act with outright stupidity. God doesn’t make mistakes. People Do. There IS a difference.

If you are a Christian person preaching your faith to the world, watch your actions and your words. The world is watching you and judging you, EXACTLY as you’re judging them. If you want people to respect our rights to speak out for what we believe in, you have to respect theirs. If you want to be able to speak into other people’s lives, you need to leave the lines of communication open. Bashing on others sexual orientation, statements of faith, seedy past or current lifestyle choices does not show the love of God that should emanate from within us.

On the flip side, if you are a leader in your community and are fighting for things that are important to you, please act the same way. As strongly as you feel, recognize that others are feeling just as strongly on the other side. Respect is a two-way street, we ALL need to remember that. There are many things that I will not sway on, no matter your argument or presentation of evidence. I ask that you respect them, and honor my choice to believe in them. We may not always agree, but I will honor your choices while I stand up for mine.  

Recognize that your words and actions can and will affect people around you. If you truly believe in something, share it with grace. We can still stand up for what we believe in without tearing others down. We can fight for our own causes, teach our children what we want, and choose our political leaders without ripping theirs to shreds. Frankly, if we stop judging each other, we just might be able to let some walls down and be exactly who we’re meant to be.

*I am not perfect, nor do I claim to be. I’m not a bible scholar, a preacher or an activist of any kind. I am someone that struggles with being the best that I can be everyday. I mess up and I ask forgiveness. I work at being an example to my children and the world around me. I want people to always feel safe enough to share their lives with me. I want to do better.