June. Mid-year. It's the perfect time to reevaluate my goals and purpose. I've noticed that I've been a bit side-tracked for the last couple of months. I've somehow gotten derailed and I need to rediscover my purpose. I thought I had written it down in January… or last December… or something like that… but, I can't find it… what was it?
Hmmm… I think I need to first evaluate how I've gotten so off course; because, when I look at my business goals, I feel like a failure. Every business coach I know says you have to be present EVERY DAY. Consistency is key. You have to want to succeed more than anything…
I thought I did. I was doing so well for the first three months! Then, I started running into walls…
- - my website getting hacked (I don't keep private information, but people are trying to use my site to send out spam) and having to rebuild (which I had to do AGAIN this past month - second time this year!)
- - the OneNote planner that I spent a week perfecting, and have been using for months, turning up BLANK after a software update in April
- - getting injured (April) and sick (May)
When stuff goes wrong like this, I tend to recoil and become incapable of fulfilling the simplest tasks that would bring me closer to my goals. Instead, I tend to start another project…
For example, I do not paint, but I have often thought that I'd like to - despite the odor giving me a headache. I have several books in my personal library with ideas I'd like to try. I purchased paint brushes, foam brushes and a mixing palette nearly a decade ago that have remained unused.
Feeling frustrated, I recently spent a week doing research and creating a wish list of materials to buy for a painting project to start. As I was sitting at my computer watching tutorials on acrylic pouring (a fun-looking painting technique), I suddenly realized what I was doing. Thankfully, this time around, I didn't buy anything.
Instead, I got to thinking of all of the other unfinished projects I have…
- - sewing projects
- - crafting projects
- - scrapbooking projects
- - cooking projects
- - reading projects
- - horse projects
- - a project involving getting rid of stuff
- - and pages and pages of potential website projects!
The Negativity Hurdle
Negativity is really difficult for me to bounce back from. Someone shared that "If you can't handle being talked about, then you are not ready for success." Therefore, I really must face some negativity that keeps replaying over and over in my mind… Writing helps clear my head and clarify my thoughts, so here we go!
It started with a simple comment back in April… you are one of "those" people…
It was a discussion on abortion. It wasn't even about if it was right or wrong… I simply made a comment on a news article about a state that was making changes on the procedure and I was glad for the change because I'm all for the gentlest methods to be used for mom and the unborn during such a traumatic time.
It was just unsettling because I've always been pro-choice. My Mom was the first to explain the complexities of why there should be a choice. What sealed my decision was a pro-life organization bombing an abortion clinic. A demonstration for life that causes injury and death? That's crazy!
Of course, I'm also not for the pro-abortion claim that "it's my body, therefore my right" for several unrelated reasons... Now, it is perfectly acceptable to get as many tattoos and piercings as the body can hold. That's considered "art". Although it appears (I had to look it up) that cutting yourself, mutilating yourself, and even attempting suicide are not exactly illegal activities, they are not socially accepted behaviors and cause others to question your sanity.
That said (here in America)…
- It is not your right to walk around in public in your birthday suit. There are health reasons for this; plus, it's distracting to the vast majority of the public and may cause them injury.
- It is not your right to not be ogled if you do manage to remove your clothing in public (or dress to leave little to the imagination). You have become a living piece of pornography or, at least, a walking piece of art - of course you're going to be ogled! Now, if your statement is that women should be allowed to be shirtless like the men in the name of equality, I have to agree… Men, PUT YOUR SHIRT ON!!! It's distracting.
- It is not your right to consume various substances (sometimes prescription) and expect to keep your job when the employer has a drug-free policy. It is also not your right to consume these substances or alcohol and keep your driver's license when found driving under the influences of such substances. These are safety issues.
But, you know… I'm one of "those" people… who, supposedly, wants to remove a woman's free choice to have an abortion… an accusation from someone who wants to remove other's free choice on deciding whether to vaccinate or not! All because I supported a procedural change so that the unborn baby wasn't torturously ripped apart during the extraction process… me, who can't handle killing a spider because I can see the fear as they try to escape, hear the exoskeleton breaking apart, and become squeamish knowing that the internal organs are exploding under the pressure… Now, I can typically smash a mosquito without remorse - as long as I don't see the crumpled body…
Excuse me… I think I'm going to be sick!
Shake It Off
While I was reeling from this imprudent accusation, that actually hurt quite a bit, I learned that several states declared abortions to be against the human rights of the unborn child and are illegal again.
Nice. So, honey, you won the battle (of personal rights) and lost the war. And a defender.
The disciples were taught to simply leave and shake the dust off their feet when they aren't welcomed into a city. (Mark 6:10-11)
It's taken me awhile to "shake it off", but that's what I've decided to do on this complicated subject… walk away… right into another complicated subject…
Homelessness in America
I read this article on the homeless situation in Los Angeles, California and saw the filth in the streets.
It isn't that the homeless are being ignored, but that the problem is increasing exponentially. $619 MILLION was spent last year to reduce the homelessness problem with over 21,000 people receiving permanent housing. Other expenses include health care and sanitation control. Despite this help, an additional 60,000 became homeless.
I remembered sharing an article last year on the subject and the majority of opinions were somewhere along the lines of "get a job!". Well, I discovered that more than 10% of the homeless have full time work, with more juggling two jobs, and still can't afford housing - even if it were available.
Other opinions were that they should move. It costs a lot to move to another state and start over and they would lose state benefits (like food stamps and health care) until situated. That might work for those who have full time positions if they can find some place willing to hire them elsewhere in a location with affordable housing available. Good luck with that! It can happen, but it is not the norm.
Another opinion is that "if they only quit taking drugs, they wouldn't be in that position". This may account for some, but certainly not the majority of the 130,000+ California population that are homeless.
I didn't dwell on the drug problem as, "Often times, addiction is a result of homelessness" and there are far more people with mental illnesses that became homeless due to poverty (inability to work and you can't get disability for about a year of evidence showing that you cannot hold a job due to your mental health condition) and a lack of health care (you can't get a mental health disability without health care) that turn to drugs than those who start as drug addicts. And, it is no wonder that those with mental health issues turn to other options if a)the medication they use is not working or b) they lack the health care to get on medication when they are desperate to try anything to dull the mental anguish consuming them for a little while.
Instead, my mind turned to the illegal immigration problem, as I had recently seen another article on it.
There are over 925,000 illegal immigrants in Los Angeles alone.
These questions circled my mind:
How many of the 50,000+ homeless in LA are illegal immigrants? What about the rest of the state? Do illegal immigrants get to jump to the front of the line for housing due to their status? If so, why?
Then, my thoughts turned to the MILLIONS of refugees who have been waiting for 1-2 YEARS to be allowed into our amazing country (https://immigrationforum.org/article/fact-sheet-u-s-refugee-resettlement/). Many of whom are from war-torn areas and places destroyed by natural disaster, who now have to wait even longer to be placed because the number of illegal immigrants who have sneaked into the country, taxing the resources available to give aid, and given shelter while they live in tents (cheap, homeless shelters). Waiting.
I wondered what the difference was between the illegal immigrants of today versus those of years past that didn't have such devout patrons were. These new groups are brazen, traveling in huge caravans, letting the world know what they are doing. They are not trying to slip in a few at a time undetected. They are families (some fake) demanding entrance, using their children as leverage.
No one enjoys seeing children in need of care. The heart cries out in protest. Why else do organizations use small, malnourished children in their marketing promotions?
That is what I see making the difference is now. The current swarm of illegal immigrants is a big marketing promotion using children as pawns to gain an advantage. Even worse, it's more of a political ploy than a humanitarian effort.
As I was feeling sorry for the children caught in this scheme, I remembered the children in the refugee camps who are waiting their turn to find a safe place to live and the homeless children in America whom shouldn't be shoved aside just because they had the privilege of being born here.
The advantage over the present illegal immigrants over every other person waiting for aid is the media spotlight on the children. It sickens me.
I have read comparisons of those aiding illegal immigrants to Harriet Tubman, who helped slaves gain their freedom. Although I applaud the desire to help others in need and think that that should be encouraged, I take offense to the comparison. Most of these people are NOT slaves, though victims of terrible circumstance - more or less like the refugees that have been waiting. However, this comparison reminded me of the regions of the world where slavery is still very much a part of daily life. And the millions more who die every day of malnourishment - not from lack of publicity, but from corrupt leaders (of both organizations and governments) that use the funds more to line their pockets than to give aid to those whom it was supposed to go to.
My brain then circled back around to the American children that are slaves to human trafficking… many in our own over-flowing foster care system!
So many in need of help! Yet, lately, the illegals are ushered to the front of the line like they have VIP passes. People scream they deserve equality! I totally agree. They do!
Peaceful citizens of every ethnicity are required to stand in line at the grocery store, department store, DMV, baseball game, etc. That is equality. Taking turns and accepting that some people were there before you arrived - not pushing your way to the front of the line. That, THAT is bullying.
Can you imagine the angry riot that would ensue if someone pushed their way into the front of the line of a baseball game? And that's just a game!
I have also read comments about the illegal immigrants not really breaking the law because being undocumented is "just a misdemeanor".
What kind of message is being projected to our children?
Consider other common misdemeanors
- - shoplifting (varies from state to state)
- - property theft
- - unlawful possession of a weapon
- - domestic violence
- - assault resulting in bodily injury
- - possession of a controlled substance
- - DUI/DWI
If your kids did one of these, are you going to say… it's ok, it's just a misdemeanor… it's not like a real crime…?
My kids have always known that if I found out that they did any of this type of behavior that they would be drug down to the police station and turn themselves in! If they are injured, sure I'll bandage them up first, but they are going in - or, at least, be reported. Why? Because I love them and want them to understand that there are consequences to wrong doing.
Sometimes, you have to show tough love.
Otherwise, it may end up being them living in a box, next to a trash heap, in some near-forgotten corner of the city, like the homeless in LA.
There are so many people in need of help! We should, and ARE, helping as many as we can. But, money only stretches so far… the almighty dollar doesn't come from an unlimited money tree. Plus, it takes time and LAND to build the homes to house the people we are trying to help…
My mind just went off on a tangent about the environment after an article that I read suggested that the biggest problem with climate change and the extinction of species was human development, yet here we are building thousands more buildings for housing. We have to put those apartments and houses somewhere… But, I digress…
Despite my views of this being an equality issue (stand in an orderly line, people, and wait for your number to be called!), there are those who see me as a white privileged racist with no understanding of the plights others go through; others have indirectly questioned my Christianity.
Thank you! Thank you so much! Because, I become emotionally drained, getting overwhelmed with how many people are in need of help and how very little I, personally, can do. It was like getting slapped in the face to "snap me out of it".
Once I got over the shock, I realized that this is not my calling, my purpose in life. My purpose in life should not cause me additional anxiety that drains my physical being so much that I can't be present for my own family.
After just a few hours of reading, I became so exhausted that I couldn't even spend quality time with my husband - instead, I fell asleep around 4:30, woke up long enough for a quiet supper, and went to bed. The next day, my brain was still reeling and I had a hard time holding a conversation.
While I was struggling to stay out of the mire of depression, I remembered this Bible passage from 1 Corinthians 12:14-18: "For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him."
Basically, we don't all have the same purpose. These things concern me because I am a natural caretaker and healer, but as an empath I tend to feel the burdens of those around me and need to restrict my interaction with negative environments or lose my own fragile hold on my mental and physical well-being.
Although it takes this peacemaker longer to get back up from an negative attack, I will continue to point out red flags about what is being said in an effort to retain the ideals of freedom and equality that could easily affect my lifestyle, but it is not my life's purpose to be in the middle of all of the politics and negativity surrounding such issues. No, I fought in the midst of negativity for over 20 years in my first marriage in order for my children to recognize narcissism and hypocrisy. I can no longer handle that constant negativity, so I will only chime in on the rare occasions that I am compelled that I simply cannot remain silent.
I reflected on the Bible teachings (both old and new) on what is expected of us as far as helping those of unfortunate circumstances go. Nowhere does it say that our focus is to provide for the entire world, but to support our neighbors as we are able. Yes, our neighbors encompass the entire world, but it was a great relief to me that MY interaction doesn't need to be international.
Just saying that makes me feel selfish, so let me clarify… I will continue to occasionally speak against bigotry of all kinds and raise my voice (symbolically, of course… online) in defense of freedom and equality. But, it should not be my focus as I am not called to be in that arena on a daily basis and am thankful that there are those stronger than I who have been called to fight those battles in person and in court!
The Take Away
I have been reminded in all of this that my duty needs to be to first take care of myself, in order to avoid burnout and have the energy to make a difference in other people's lives. Then, use my natural talents of being a peacemaker and caretaker on my immediate and extended family. After that, should time and resources allow, to uplift and give aid to the community around me in ever broadening circles - with the supreme purpose of giving glory to the Lord.
Since the Lord has given me a family and my own online community of people suffering from all sorts of mental and physical ailments that do appreciate the things that I share, I would be negligent to ignore that. Therefore, part of my personal purpose in life is to continue to uplift and encourage them.
While considering what I could do to help others with the limited monetary resources I have (a lot of people need more than just an uplifting word), I was reminded that Plexus has partnered with Feeding America and makes a donation for every package of Lean ordered. https://plexusworldwide.com/essentialsoflife/product/plexus-lean-chocolate-whey-meal-replacement
Therefore, I am helping the hungry strangers in unfortunate circumstances every time I order! Love that!
And I just discovered Amazon Smile! With every qualifying purchase I make, a small percentage goes to a charity of choice (I just hope it actually gets to the people that need it :p ) - I wish I had known about this option a long time ago!
Finally, the swirling thoughts have abated and I can praise the Lord that He can use even my limited abilities in a small way to benefit others - without the need to drown in sorrow while attempting to pick up the garbage in the streets of Los Angeles… and in the ocean!