I’m firmly in the “meek” category along with most of the attributes you would assume go with it: introverted, passive-aggressive, quiet, content, peace-loving, hard to anger, patient, etc. I can put up with a lot, get along with anybody. I have strong opinions but I know that nobody wants to hear them. My daily intake of news consists of scanning the mostly-local headlines of one of the city television stations, reading a couple stories of interest to get a deeper picture, and relying mostly on headlines for the gist of the national happenings. I’m not completely head-in-the-sand but I know myself well enough to either limit my knowledge of what is going on or face the same depression and frustration I see in other people. I go to work and talk to the same handful of people each day, talk to some neighbors, family and friends, never get a wide range of opinions outside of my local bubble. I’m not on social media, I have a hard enough time with the real thing. I “lurk” on some sites but never comment.
What I’m having trouble with is keeping up with the flurry of groups/people/businesses/brand names/entertainment choices/candidates/influences that I should not be associating with, supporting, following, listening to, voting for, or even reading upon. This business has this flag in their window… can’t go there anymore. This business is owned by a guy that is a you-know-what… can’t shop there. These people kneeled, these didn’t. I saw her wearing one of those hats, not talking to her anymore. I heard he went downtown for that event the other day. Hmmm, didn’t know he was like that.
The more trusted and supposedly like-minded people I talk to, the more I find I can’t add to my mental list fast enough who I’m supposed to be taking a stand against. And this is on top of all the ones I was already supposed to be against before March of this year. From what I do gather from the news, there are certain groups of people that are supposed to hate me because of something I can’t change. At the same time, I’m lumped in with the group of people who are supposed to be dead-set against the people who are against me. This is all very confusing to me and I wish there were a way I could sort this out. Should I spend more time reading the news each day? Which news? If I had my choice it would for sure be this national news outlet and that one only. Actually what would be better is to surround myself with right-thinking people and we can feed off each other, maybe join a local protest or counter-protest. Forget it, the safest thing for a person of my particular personality nuances is to just go full isolation and stay in my own little world. Being anti-everything is just easier.
There, rant over.
Okay, show of hands- as you were reading this were you desperately trying to figure out what category to put me in? Race? Religion? Political party? Gender? Geographic location? Urban/rural? Liberal/conservative? Leader/follower? Trump supporter? BLM supporter? Mask, no mask? Were you getting frustrated as you were already forming your comment to the article in your head without knowing exactly who you were either about to support or rebuke?
This is exactly the problem that I have noticed taking root inside myself over the past four months. I only used to do this in mild form and only on very critical issues. Now, I can’t even read a blog post about onion harvesting without trying to figure out what the author’s agenda is. I suddenly notice myself on alert at work listening for keywords from someone I know very well to figure out if that person is hating our governor or not. Should I start questioning my patriotism because I’m fine with watching baseball even though some are kneeling for the national anthem? The “me” of March 15 would not believe the angst and discontent of the “me” of today. How did I get like this!?
Here is how I would read my own foregoing rant. If your brain operates in a similar way, good, maybe you can help me:
First of all, I’m reading this on survivalblog.com. Okay, mostly male, conservative, independent…that will be my starting assumption until proved otherwise. Got the word “meek” right off the bat, no non-Christian would use that word. Goes to work and has neighbors… maybe a suburbanite? Says something against someone wearing a “hat”.. is this an anti-Trumper?! Called it “event” instead of “riot” or even “protest”… a conservative wouldn’t call what’s happening in the crowds an “event”. I can’t figure this guy out. Maybe it’s a tree-hugging, love-everybody old lady?
I do really have two problems. First, my rant (although crafted somewhat generically) and my brief self-description are authentic. I feel pressure to be against people based on what groups they support or don’t support. Can’t we all just get along? And second, I don’t like how I am analyzing people instead of accepting them these days. Perhaps “accepting” is not the best word to use here but maybe you know what I mean. To help you help me diagnose this I will fill in one blank for you: Christian. A couple other tumblers probably fall into place knowing that label, the other categories I will leave you guessing.
How am I supposed to love my neighbor when “taking a stand” against all these sulphuric issues requires me to take part in the cancel culture? If I remain silent about (or at least don’t vocally poo-poo) the advance of Marxism, Communism, anti-police, anti-church gathering, abuses of power, rise of anarchy and the rest of the long list, I feel like I’m not doing my part in joining with those who are “right”. If I do make these things a focus of my thoughts and conversations, then I so easily slip into a grumbling and bickering attitude that is not Christ-like at all. There has to be a balance.
I believe my therapy (vaccine?) begins with Scripture. If you are a regular at this website and routinely skip over the quotes from the Bible, I’ll make this short and sweet but hopefully pique your curiosity enough to do extra credit here and look some of this up for yourself. If I start “taking a stand” for things I will make enemies. I know well about being an enemy of God himself. How did he treat me? Colossians 1:21-23. This is the Gospel. In light of what he has done for me, what should I do?: Hebrews 10:22-25. In the perspective of eternity, what should I do about my angst?:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
There is so much more in the Bible that confronts me and helps me with this I could go on for a while (the Beatitudes, many Proverbs, Christ’s example for us to name a few). To right the ship of my sinking attitude, these truths need to be on my mind daily. Each morning before I go take on the world I need to be reminded of who Jesus is, what he has done for me, and what his Spirit can accomplish through me. Somewhere in the inconvenience and eroding freedoms of the recent happenings I let this slip and my attitude toward others eroded as well.
So now, from a point of view of preparedness and survival, what am I daily learning from this experience? As I look around me I do not yet see or smell any shreds of Schumer that have been propelled from the fan. I know many people are not working right now but I am yet. I can still buy gas and groceries, there is much to be thankful for. I believe it was only sulphur that hit the fan in March. Colorless so we can’t see where it is invading or how it’s getting on the inside, but certainly not odorless. Division and downright hate has most likely been inhaled by us all and it smells horrible.
Now take a good look at what breathing the sulphur has done to us on the inside and extend that out as far as you think this will last. Not a pretty picture. We’ve had sulphur hit the fan, we still expect Schumer at some point, and our cure can only come from a Savior. If we have a huge pantry stocked for a five-year supply and mold or critters take over what are we going to do about it? We’ll clean up, restock and defend. If our hearts and attitudes get in a similar condition we need to do the same!
So where does this leave me? It’s a daily battle. I will still be downwind of the fan unfortunately, still breathing in the sulphur, but I resolve to fix my eyes on what is unseen, trust in the one who saved me, repent of being grumpy, and strive to love others despite differences and difficulties.
I respect the wisdom that comes from the readers of SurvivalBlog and look forward to reading the comments.