Check Your Blind Spots

Picture with me, if you will, 16-year old Holly learning to drive. I was an overly cautious kid. Hands on 10 and 2. Constantly checking my speed and my mirrors. I was keenly aware that I was, in fact, driving a machine that could kill someone. This reality weighed heavily on my mind every time I got behind the wheel and still does to this day. It’s fun living inside this head of mine. ūüôā

One of the things we are taught when we are learning to drive is about the importance of checking our blind spots. Blind spots are those sneaky areas to the side of our cars that can’t be seen by the side or rear view mirrors. What that means is we can’t be reliant upon just our mirrors when wanting to change lanes or to merge onto the highway.

If we are going to safely and accurately check our blind spots we’ve got to actually turn our heads and look over our shoulders. A simple, but vital step in preventing a collision.

Didn’t know you were getting some driving instruction in today’s post, did ya? ūüėČ

Here’s my point: Christians are not exempt from blind spots. We’ve all got them.

These blind spots can include our personal preferences, any biased beliefs, old ways of thinking and just plain ole’ misinformation. Yes, sometimes we aren’t thinking or believing correctly and we leave that blind spot unchecked because it’s easy and comfortable.

In order to check your Christian blind spots you have to have a measure of humility– a willingness to have your heart and motives examined to find out why you think or believe a certain way and why you might be hesitant to relinquish those beliefs.

Sometimes we ignore those spots because we’d rather not deal with it. We know whatever is lurking in that spot is detrimental to our growth but it’d take too much work (time, emotions, energy). Heck, you might even need to get a counselor or therapist! GASP!

[Side note: I’m sans coffee for about 21 days now so I might just come off extra sassy in this week’s post.]

Actually, counselors are really great at helping us pinpoint blind spots and deal with them appropriately. Scripture is also necessary in this process as long as it’s not being used inappropriately or out of context in an attempt to make excuses for that blind spot. The Holy Spirit is also helpful in bringing some clarity and discernment.

All of that requires being open to change and correction. It also requires doing some thoughtful listening without immediately offering a rebuttal.

I’ve seen what happens when Christian blind spots go unchecked and I can tell you that it has stunted growth and caused quite a bit of hurt. We’ve got to be diligent in this area.

I hope it goes without saying but I’ve got blind spots, too. Areas I refused to look at because it hurt too much or I just didn’t want to deal with it. I’m right there with you. I’m just hoping to take a lesson from 16 year old Holly learning to drive and checking those spots that can be easily overlooked….and I hope you will, too.

You are not a glorified “Elf on the Shelf”.

elf edit

Last week, I published a blog letting the world know Jesus is not and will never be Santa.

This week, I’m here to remind you that you haven’t been commissioned by God to be an “Elf on a Shelf”.

For those of you who don’t understand the reference because you live in another country or you live under a rock, let me explain. Mr. Elf is a doll that parents use as a festive way to manipulate their children into obedience during the holiday season. His job is to watch the children and report back to Santa if they’ve been naughty or nice. Santa is outsourcing these days, but Mr. E doesn’t mind because he’s got a few antics and pranks going with the kiddos to keep life interesting.

Truth be told, I find it a little odd. Whatever. I get it. You’re making memories. Awesome.

We were not called to be some glorified “Elf on the Shelf” informants to Jesus where we go around putting peoples shortcomings on display and appointing them to the naughty (or dare we say “sinner”) list. Take your badge off, Sheriff, and get off your high horse.

Here’s the REAL issue for me. I hear a lot of Christians bashing on other Christians– it comes from BOTH camps. The conservatives and liberals flinging mud at one another with their theological stand points. Making sure everyone knows how WRONG the other person is. Sometimes they even call each other names and question whether or not the person is a Christian at all. To make matters¬†worse¬†its happening in public forums– on Facebook, in magazines and other media forums.

This business has got to stop. Firstly, it makes everyone (and I mean anyone who identifies as a Christian) look bad. And dumb. And ignorant. And mean. It looks a lot like friendly fire to me. Don’t we have enough problems as it is without having to worry about whether our brother and sisters are taking jabs at us?

Look, I’m not asking you to agree with these people. There are lots of Christians I don’t agree with, but like every family there’s some weird uncles out there. I am asking you, however, to love and respect them. Let’s take some wisdom from Colossians 3:14 where we are told to “…¬†put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” If you read a few verses before you’ll see we are told to be compassionate and¬†tolerant of one another. Even goes on to say when you have a complaint against someone to forgive it.

Not blast them on Facebook.

Let’s start putting a priority on relationships and unity instead of our positions and viewpoints.¬†

I know this isn’t a popular point of view. I even know the Scriptures people will use in rebuttal, but in a last ditch attempt let me leave you with this question: “What is your motivation for making a public display of your disapproval of a specific person, their actions, or opinions?”

I was wrong.

It’s true. Mark the date and time because this type of admission is something to be noted!

Last I checked, I am a lot like you and the rest of humanity. I don’t like hearing I’m wrong or admitting it. I’d rather defer to how I was forced into the action because of someone else, thereby excusing my stupidity. Or how it wasn’t¬†really wrong, but just a minor infraction. It’s “no big deal”.

All joking aside, I’m a perfectionist. If I commit to a task, a project, a friendship, a position– I’m doing it full force. Nothing is done half-assed. At an early age, I concluded that you needed to earn love and you earned it by doing things better than everyone else. I very quickly learned the things I excelled at and proceeded to highlight those things for everyone to see in the CHANCE that I might be found lovable. I wouldn’t attempt anything I couldn’t do well for fear that I’d look like an idiot. (Except for that one time I took Latin in high school to impress a guy. Ya. I was that girl.) This thinking is one of the reasons why I’ve shied away from starting and maintaining a blog– there’s this fear that if it isn’t perfect and others are doing it better than me then maybe I shouldn’t even attempt it.

One day away from completing an almost perfect week at camp, I did something dumb. I didn’t kill anyone or re-mix a Miley Cyrus song at muster, which in my estimation would have been inexcusable on all counts. In the grand scheme of things, I’m sure some people would shrug it all off and say “Huh? Whatever.” They’d move on without a second thought, but I spent the next 12 hours thinking about what I did. Part of me resigned to the fact that I’m some kind of screw-up and another part of me that just wanting to forget it ever happened.

Luckily for me, I’ve got friends who love me and because they love me they bring correction into my life.

WHAT?!?!

Am I for real? Did I just admit that it was a good thing to get told I was WRONG.¬†Well, this is 4-weeks fast forward from the event. Let’s go back to the day after my “slip-up”.

I walked into a staff meeting where a friend who witnessed everything the day before was waiting to talk with me. He quietly took me aside and let me know he had been praying about what happened and felt like he needed to tell me some things. He graciously explained his heart (more so God’s heart), and honestly pointed out an area in me that needed some work.

No one likes that. Get real for a second. We’ve already established that most people hate being told their wrong.

And I’ll be honest, I walked away from that conversation devastated. I’m sure it was partially due to the fact that at the time I had been sleeping on a mattress 3-inches thick for the past 5 nights. Or more likely because that correction drew out some insecurity in my heart. If I wasn’t perfect, then I wasn’t worthy of love.

As much as it hurt, I couldn’t shake the fact that I knew my friend cared about me. He wasn’t out to make me feel like crap, but he wanted to call me UP to a higher standard. I tucked away what he said and when I had the opportunity I spent some time discussing it with a trusted mentor in my life. And through that I learned even more Truth:

For one, just because you screw-up, doesn’t mean you ARE a screw-up.

We need people in our lives who love us enough to point out areas that need to be removed, purged, or sanded off. Letting your friend walk around with their zipper down may save you from an awkward conversation, but it leaves your friend exposed and open for future humiliation.

Just because you do something wrong, doesn’t mean you need to carry shame. You do something wrong, you ask for forgiveness, repent and move on. Live and learn, folks.

We’ve become spineless as a culture. We are busy proving how right we are and how wrong everyone else is. We are slow to seek for forgiveness, but prefer to state our “good intentions” thinking that will smooth things over. If we want to grow and mature in Christ, we’ve got to be discipled. And being discipled means being disciplined.

To clarify, this does not mean EVERYONE gets to speak into your life. BUT you should have people you trust that can (and DO) speak into your life when you need it. Allow people into your life who will sand off those rough edges. If not, you will very quickly become stagnant in your ways. I promise you, it may hurt at times, but its worth it.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Prov. 27:6)