Thursday, August 30, 2012

Discouraging Danny

It's been the twice now that some good friends of mine admitted that I have discouraged them from trying something new or from being honest about something they wanted to share. ME? OF ALL PEOPLE? If you know me, I'm 24/7 on this "positivity" kick so to hear that sucks.
One friend told me she wanted to start taking guitar lessons and I responded: "You're just like me. You're always trying to find something to do to distract you from doing what you really want." In my defense, I compared her to myself so I didn't mean any disrespect but honestly when she told me, flat out, that she never signed up for guitar lessons simply because I discouraged her, I was so heartbroken. I apologized over and over and then I thought about it all night.

       (Okay, maybe it does. But you didn't hear it from me!)

Why would I say that? I mean at the time I did really believe that but why would I discourage someone from wanting to do something they were excited to learn.

I should know how horrible it feels when someone shits on your idea. Since I graduated from college in 2008 I've had people discourage me from trying different things (wanted to try the Peace Corp and my mom shot that idea down in .00025 seconds).

When you are discouraged from trying something, it can quickly kill the excitement you felt when you first started thinking about it. You almost become ashamed to even bring it up again.

Then the other day, another friend was telling me the latest news in her life and cut the story short. Her reasoning: "If I tell you any more you're just gonna tear down the idea." Then she went to say she liked what she was now believing to be true and didn't want me to "ruin it."

She didn't bluntly tell me I discouraged her but it played out in a similar scenario. So here I am talking "positivity this and positivity that" and my own friends think I am discouraging to talk to.

Now I don't say this to get sympathy or because I feel bad. I actually don't.  I just don't like being that person. Negative Nancy, Debby Downer, Discouraging Danny...

This is not some problem I need to fix. For me, it's as simple as consciously deciding I NEVER want to be that person who tells you not to try something again. So to all my friends, you wanna do what?! ...Tell me more!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The 10 Hardest Teachings of Jesus

Here is the list of what I think are the 10 hardest teachings of Jesus. The Bible is a wonderful guide on how to live. It is primarily a positive text on how to manifest the promises of God, yet alongside these great promises are some expectations on how we should deal with other people. When you go through the list, you will see why I think these are the "hardest" teachings to follow. Also keep in mind that as far as I know, none of these teachings include a "but" clause so as "Christians" we are expected to follow each teaching without an explanation or excuse to the contrary. 

1. Honor Your Father and Mother. Depending on how you were raised, this can either be a simple request or very hard to do. 

2. Accept That There Will Be More Rejoicing in Heaven Over One Sinner Who Repents Than Over 99 Righteous Persons Who Do Not Need To Repent. Sounds unfair but the Bible has more than one parable basically teaching this same message. That the prize goes to the reformed sinner versus the one who has been living right all along. The best example of this is showcased in the parable of the Prodigal Son. 

3. Accept That Everyone Who Exalts Himself Will Be Humbled And He Who Humbles Himself Will Be Exalted. The flesh and the spirit are at war with each other so you cannot exalt yourself in the flesh (hold high regard for yourself in worldly matters) and pretend to be humble at the same time. 

4. Accept That the Last Will Be First and The First Will Be Last. The best example of this is in the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Some workers arrived during the first hour to work and others arrived at the 11th hour and yet the landowner gave everyone equal pay --one denarius. Seems unfair but the bible reminds us that the last will be first and the first will be last. 

4. Love Your Neighbor as Yourself. Sounds feasible, right? If you surround yourself with good people who treat you well, you can learn to love them as much as you love yourself --because let's be honest. Most of our thoughts revolve around ourselves. We are a self-interested bunch. It's not wrong, it's just the way it is. 

5. Love Your Enemies. Now here comes the good hard stuff! Who as a Christian can honestly say they make an effort to "love" their enemy, whatever that means? Well in case you didn't know how to "love" your enemy, the Bible goes on to further explain. 

6. Do Not Judge. First things first, do not judge anyone. Once again, there is no "but" clause in this statement so no one is excluded. It doesn't matter what anybody does, it doesn't matter. Do not judge. 

7. Bless Those Who Curse You. As Christians, we are to bless, or want "happiness and prosperity with life-joy and satisfaction" to those who speak ill of us. Can you believe that!?

8. Forgive Those Who Hurt You. And not just once, but multiple times.  In fact, don't even keep count of offense because no number you reach can null and void this teaching.

9. Accept That When Someone Strikes You on the Right Cheek, Turn to Him The Other Also. Kudos to the person who has mastered this teaching. This is basically asking us to remove every little ounce of urge we have to show revenge to people who have hurt us. So much so that we are asked to "turn the other cheek." How profound!

10. Pray For Those Who Mistreat You. Hurting people hurt people. When we are hurt it is very easy to let our minds wonder aimlessly to the point of obsession. But really think about the other person for one second. Many times we know deep inside that this person is hurting themselves. Pray for your own healing but pray for their healing as well. 

Does this sound like a fair list of the "hardest" but probably the most rewarding teachings of Jesus? Can you think of any other "hard" teachings to follow when it comes to how we should treat other people? 

It Always Works Out

The other day I was checking in an older gentleman at the clinic. He spoke a broken English but just enough that you could still understand. Coming from two parents who speak broken English, I can say there is really something powerful when people try hard to find the right words in a language they barely know. It's almost endearing.

In any case, I let this gentleman know that he had a $10 dollar copay I would be collecting up front, so he gave a $20 dollar bill. Naturally, I printed him a receipt for the $10 I collected and gave him his remaining $10 change.

I'm not sure why he got confused by this since he felt compelled to mention that he gave me $20 dollars, not $10. Of course I agreed and explained that's why I was giving him a receipt for the $10 copay and then the $10 dollars back in change.

I don't think he really understood what I said, to be honest, but he just gave me this heartfelt chuckle and said in perfect English: "It always works out."

Now maybe I took this to mean so much more to him, but I swear the way he said it, so perfect, and so sincere just really made me believe this was his motto in life and that indeed it had always worked out for him.

I was just thinking, that's a beautiful affirmation to say to ourselves: IT ALWAYS WORKS OUT.
Thank you, random stranger.