the pursuit and the question

Thanks to the many who have read or reached out to discuss what you are earnestly processing at this tense moment in time. I sincerely appreciate your sharing and sharpening. I also appreciate agreement and disagreement — and all the landing spots in between — recognizing each sharpens perspective.

Hence, witnessing the good, bad and ugly all wrapped up in the expressions of our perspective, many have wondered what individually, we can do now… 

“How can I be a positive, effective influence in my corner of the world — however big or small that may be?”

I suggest our individual next step comes via answering a harder question. Prior to sharing, allow me to encourage three intentional pursuits that are necessary first… that is, if we want to be both positive and effective…

One, pursue the different. 

This goes for all of us… What am I doing to learn about the person who doesn’t look like me? … who hasn’t grown up like me? … who hails from a different generation?… One of the more profound developments that happened for me personally this spring was that when COVID-19 hit, I felt inspired to learn more about race relations. I then read 7 books from 7 authors and angles — black/white, male/female, Christian/atheist, liberal and conservative. That was all before Ahmed Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. It’s amazing to me how God prepares us for distinct moments in time. Pursuing the different enhances perspective.

Two, pursue proximity

Books are great — movies, documentaries, too, although be aware of embedded, often unpublicized, potentially impure agendas. But if we’re going to understand another culture, ethnicity, or generation, we need to get closer to them… Who am I hanging out with? Who am I inviting to speak into my life? Is everyone I befriend just like me? Do they all look like me, think like me, or vote like me? … Pursuing physical and emotional proximity unveils the reality that different, legitimate perspectives exist.

And three, pursue wisdom. 

Who or what makes you wiser? Those who are historically considered among the world’s wisest are persons who have recognized that wisdom is not a one time accomplishment; it’s a journey. They also know that wisdom comes not from their own eyes. It comes from pursuing something more omniscient than us. That’s where the intentional seeking of the great big God of the universe comes in. Pursuing wisdom is vital, as it’s the only source that consistently implores the loving of all as opposed to the loving of most.

So what can we do? How can we make a difference? How can each of us be both positive and effective?

My strong sense is mere adherence to any media/social media screaming lacks effectiveness. I thus believe we must first answer a harder question…

“What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?”

What’s it like? What does someone who hears what I say, reads what I write, sees what I do, how do they respond?

Does my behavior inspire and encourage?

Or does my behavior denigrate and discourage?

That’s a pretty sobering question… am I aware of how others respond to me? … what do they think and feel?

May we resist the temptation to argue it doesn’t matter how others receive us. If not, one could easily contend we don’t really care about effectiveness… 

So I keep asking…

“What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?”

That’s enough to ponder for a day.

Respectfully…

AR

4 Replies to “the pursuit and the question”

  1. “What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?” Wow! The honest answer to that question alone is a great “north star” that I am going to begin utilizing to determine if I am, in fact, allowing wisdom and discernment to guide and direct my actions.

  2. So good! It reminds me of another book I read after a client reccomended it. Called “what is it like to be married to me?” Also another sobering question. One I am equally humbled by at this time in my life. Ah growing pains…

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