Avoiding Ugliness

A stumbling block on my road to being the Christian that God wants me to be is involving myself in messes that don’t belong to me.  I just love to fix things, to make people happy, to bring solace, to counsel, to explain, to make right… and when I see things out of order, unhappy people, people who think ill of me or my ChristFamily, I get all kerfuffled.

Focusing on God increases my faith, focusing on this world encourages despair.

God doesn’t want me to stop counseling, to stop bringing solace, to stop speaking for Him – but it is so easy to forget that I do so in His power, and not my own.

Luke 12:11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

In the same vein, it is God who makes the appointments for me to use the gifts He’s given me, it is He who directs whatever part of His body I happen to be.  My job is to be available to His will, and to do the things that are set before me.

And I have noticed that a good and solid way to set myself up to stumble spectacularly is to dwell on ugliness.   This world is so ugly.  And *I can’t fix it*.

I can bring solace to my husband or a friend or a neighbor.  I can teach my mentee, and counsel a sister in Christ.  But I can’t unravel the horrors this world has to offer.  That’s why I stay off blogs where there’s a lot of bitterness and anger.  I can’t fix it!   I can’t do a single thing to make things better, and it distresses me.  And that distress, in turn, makes me less effective – because it takes my focus off of God, smashes my joy, and encourages me to think about how I *would* fix it, if I could, which I can’t.

My distress encourages me to rely on my own strength, at least in my mind.  Because I am no longer minding the business that God gives me to mind, I receive no aid – and why should I?  Imaginary paladining.  -rolls eyes-

God is faithful to help me do the things He asks me to do.  I clean the messes that He allows in *my* life, but I can’t do anything about messes in lives not even tangentially related to my own.  God gave me a soft heart, and I’d fix those messes if I could… but I’m not God and I can’t.

So you’ll forgive me, if I avoid ugliness.  I have my proper work to do, and spending time winding myself up doesn’t get that work done, doesn’t get anyone anywhere.  In fact, I think it prevents me on focusing on one area of service where I could do more, which is in prayer.   If there is ever anything I can do for any of the Family, let me know… I love to help. But if not, I’ll keep my eyes on my own paper, and keep trying to be a little light in a very dark world.

7 thoughts on “Avoiding Ugliness

  1. Elspeth

    I did pretty well at this for a while, then…old habits and what not. Of course, book writing will necessarily mean judicious use of my reading time so I am getting back to where I was 2 months ago. It was more peaceful.

    1. hearthie Post author

      Blogs are part of it. I got myself pretty riled up over the Duggar thing, well, you remember me posting about that. Like I have to have all the info on every scandal involving any Christian so I can defend “my team”? No, I think we’re required to defend the faith, not our familia.

      Doesn’t advance the plot.

  2. Maeve

    This past week I took a look at my reader and realized that it was not enough to simply “not go” to pernicious sites. I had to purge them. I had to keep them from showing up in my reader and in my email. Otherwise those tentacles were still there.

    What a difference it makes to not have ugliness show up in my face. I was thinking about it at Mass yesterday – that “I” walked into church lighter and happier and more peaceful than I have in a long time (and you know the struggles I’ve been having). It made me wonder just how much that constant exposure to poison had affected my own relationship with Him.

    I also realized something else and I might blog about it – there’s a real truth to the saying “seek, and ye shall find”. If we go looking for evidence of evil, we’re sure to find it. And if we can’t then we’ll find some way to spin it that way. Either way, we get to puff ourselves up with pride and loudly proclaim, “See, I told you…” (I do that myself sometimes, so it’s a real area of work for me)

    1. hearthie Post author

      Just clicked. What’s the masthead verse over at HRG? Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

      It’s so easy to think we’re being “good” when we think of ugly stuff, ’cause life is supposed to hurt, right? But we’re not obeying by doing that! There’s enough to worry about in our own lives, no sense going after more of it.

      For me, I’m cutting down on “arguing with social liberals on FB”, because that always bugs me. The new frontier of mental editing.

      1. Maeve

        You know, in Catholicism we have Spiritual and Corporeal Works of Mercy – and they’re great at reminding us what we need to be DOING for all His creation. But it’s important to remember that they’re works of MERCY – not opportunities for us to be ALL THAT AND A BAG OF CHIPS and wear our Holier Than Thou badge – if we’re not careful, pride leads us to abuse them and the one I think most prone to abuse is “admonish the sinner” – Like, YAY – we GET to tell people how wrong and sinful they are and we’re better Christians for doing that (double-score!). Totally forgetting that the point is (as part of the rest) that it’s about helping to lead someone away from a life that takes one away from Him and instead help that person get back on track. But, hey, so much nicer to just call someone a liar or thief or slut or addict or whatever and then wash our hands, because we’ve “admonished and all that”, with no room for mercy or grace.

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