Relationships

The Whole Truth

Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Oath for Sworn Testimony

I never thought deeply about what it meant to tell the whole truth until I heard a song from the movie A Man Called Otto.

I will tell you the whole truth … There is so much I want you to know.

Til You’re Home, Rita Wilson

There is so much I want people to know so why don’t I tell the whole truth? The more I have thought about it, I usually withhold the whole truth because I’m protecting others—both the guilty and my listeners. I have wondered if women are wired to protect others or if we’ve been taught.

A woman once said that she had been urged to seek counsel and to “not protect anyone.” I found that profound.

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.

Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird

Truth is hard, I don’t take it lightly when people tell me their truth, even if it’s not the whole truth.

Telling? Protecting?

 

 

Homeschooling, Parenting, Relationships

None of My Business

The most important advice I would give my younger writer self is what I’d give my younger woman self: What other people think of you is none of your business.

Anne Lamott, author

I’ve read this quote multiple times, and it still hits me the same way. “Of course” followed by “No way.”

I eventually have to remember that seeking advice and seeking approval are not the same. While I may need counsel, if I don’t need approval, then I don’t need to know if I have obtained it.

In the past, other’s opinions have paralyzed me or led me off course. Realizing that another’s approval or disapproval—of my parenting or my homeschooling or other aspects of my lifestyle—is none of my business is freeing.

These days, if I suspect my writing or actions will upset someone, I try to remember “What other people think of me is none of my business.”

Thank you, Anne.

Decisions, Relationships

I Don’t Want to Change the World

While prowling the internet for great children’s books, I noticed a trend. Our youngest are being encouraged to become “world changers.” I immediately became sad. I don’t want to change the world so why put that burden on our youngest?

I may want to change my husband or children or others who regularly cross my path. I just can’t be in charge of the world. I have a poor success rate with my small sphere—I can’t even change myself—so expanding my vision would not be helpful.

True world changers—Jesus being the best example—worked in increments. Situation by situation. Person by person. True world changers followed their interests and passions. Changing the world was a byproduct.

Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.

Mother Teresa

Please don’t ask the world of me. It’s too much.

Relationships

Tell Me Somthing Worthy of Praise

What I really, really wish I had known, and what I learned along the way—too late in some respects—was how detrimental certain conversations were. They stole time and emotions and strength that belonged to others, especially my husband and sons.

I felt obliged to listen to complainers, especially when the offenders were older relatives whom I sought to respect and naively thought I could help. Listening made it worse.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

To protect my mental health and emotional energy, I now limit my time with whiners and grumblers. There is a difference between the two. You know.

I have no guilt about ignoring texts, not returning calls, and skimming emails. I am not the thief.

I embrace those whose lives—like mine—are filled with tears and regrets and struggles and stories that need to be heard. They carry the hope of moving beyond their pain. Listening ears, understanding words, and available hands can help these.

Has your listening ear been abused?

Relationships

My Best, Not Yours

To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. … But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. … “so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, have what is yours.”

Matthew 25:15,18-19, 25 (ESV)

In the Parable of the Talents, the servant claims he hid his talent because he feared his master. That motive always puzzled me. Comparing my talent to another’s would stymie me.

It’s hard to admit my best does not look like another’s best, especially when five-talent people claim they are the standard. However, the master tells the first two servants, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Surely he would have said the same if the servant with one talent had earned one talent.

If God doesn’t give identical talents or expect identical returns, why should I expect my best to equal another’s? Why do others expect my best to equal theirs?

Are comparisons hurting or hindering you?