Thursday, December 3, 2015

Why seekingmyLord?

Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world. ~Anso Coetzer

Many years ago now, sometime between email lists and social media as we have now, the most popular method of finding people of like minds and conversing with them on the Internet was message boards. I loved them. I developed a few precious and lasting friendships from message boards, but since the message boards I liked the most were either about homeschooling or Christianity, it seemed they were targets for the anti-homeschooling and anti-Christian types, who could write just about anything while enjoying the safety of their anonymity.

Some of these discussions would be become very heated. Sometimes there were personal insults and name calling. I had been on a mail list about alternative health methods for a few years before that was basically the same, because people are basically the same regards of the forum, but it differed in that only the people on the list would see what had been written and it was a tighter group. The people knew each other or at least someone knew someone because it was by invitation only. One could write something and it did not stay on the Internet because it was email. Messages boards, however, had a more lasting effect.

Having been attacked for about two years by mostly two people on a mail list with others chiming in on either side, I learned to ignore personal attacks and stick with the subject. I learned the art of debating and not fighting dirty. One man used to say he loved my spunk, because while I never backed down from a good debate and even a nasty argument, I tried to be respectful and never really just slugged it out, which made my words more powerful. I would actually apologize when I was wrong or misunderstood and try to learn even from those who were put off by me. It was a better teaching environment on debating than I would have had in any classroom and I earned so much respect there that I was asked to be one of four key note speakers at an international conference! Who knew that was going to come out of a mail list?

Eventually, I dropped out of the mail list. It had changed direction somewhat and I had as well. Then came my daughter changing my focus quite a bit. I began to look into homeschooling and found quite a few message boards on that and a local message board about things going on in my community. The local one had forums where most of the action was and, of course, those were ones with the most controversy: politics, education, and religion. The very subjects we avoid in polite company and other than health, those were also my favorite subjects! But, on message boards everything is very public and lasting, and I saw many people take things to places from where they could not come back. One careless comment could attract a swarm of stings. I saw many a Christian making the mistake of being caught up in the moment in their responses and not being a good witness for the Lord they profess to serve.

In the beginning I had been using my real name because I am who I am, but as things went on I decided it would be wiser to have a user name for the local board, even if only to add some protection as a homeschooling mother more often than not alone with her child. My first user name was Seeker, because I felt I was always seeking Truth, the kind that comes from God and is God. That worked on the local message board and a few small boards with low activity, but "Seeker" was usually already taken on others. I wanted a user name to be more pointedly about being a seeker of my Lord's heart, but that was a bit long, so it became seekingmyLord, which I have kept and use on this blog.

SeekingmyLord is also a reminder to me that it is not enough to just debate with respect of another person with an opposing perspective, but to seek my Lord's heart before I press "send" on an email or "publish" on my blog or just when leaving a comment on another blog. Even in the most heated of discussions on a message board, when fingers are furiously flying on the keyboard and tempers are up and people are turning mean, I would stop before I pressed the button, asking my Lord if what I had written pleased Him, if I was showing Jesus to these people. Sometimes I had to take the time to rewrite, but it became easier and easier to write what radiated from God from the beginning, saving so many rewrites. I often would say, "Okay, my Lord, what do you want me to say to this," and the words would come. Sometimes it was a calm and gentling message and other times it was blunt but respectful.

I was always amazed by the effect this has had on people. I remember two friends that used to entertain themselves on the local message board's forum for homeschoolers. They would tell us we are damaging our children and they would grow up unable to function in society and so on. The woman in particular would slam us for any grammar errors in our messages and tell us that we were not educated enough to teach our children. Actually, the most vocal of the homeschooling mothers on that board had degrees, except for me; I had never been to college, not even one course. Eventually, I learned that the young woman had degrees in child care and education, and she had worked as an au pair a few years, so God was helping me to understand her perspective.

One time I wrote that she mostly likely will be one of us, a homeschooling mother, because she will think that she can educate her own child better than anyone or any school. (Pretty much what every homeschooling parent believes!) She never argued that, she even said "maybe" after awhile and I continued to teasingly remind her of it every now and then. One day, out of the blue, after months of being targeted by the anti-homeschooling tag team, she and her friend individually apologized to me for the way they had been toward me personally. Of course, this was done privately so no one on the board knew, but I knew that was God. I persevered in standing my ground with Him as my shield while shining out His love and they finally recognized and acknowledged it. We did not become friends really but from then on we, at least, had respect for one another.

I have seen that happen many times with people and that is why I use seekingmyLord. It is my reminder even here, while I may just be writing out things in my heart at the moment, that in all things I should honor God, that I really want to please Him, that what I desire most is to seek His heart on the matter. Do people upset me? Oh, yes. Yet, I know that if I respond in the emotion I feel, I have taken away an opportunity for my Lord to do His work in my heart as well as in the others'.

This has become such a habit now that anytime I write about things of a sensitive nature, I strongly believe and trust God's words are more effective in getting His message to them than I could ever be. When I am not sure if what I am writing is pleasing Him, I will pray over each paragraph, asking Him to point out what I need to change to make it His message to the person. Sometimes that message is not well received at the time, but I have also seen many, who rejected a blunt message that I dreaded giving, come back later, sometimes years later, to tell me I was right and apologize. It was not me being right, it was God; I was just surrendering to His will.

I felt His urging to write a letter on a very sensitive subject recently. A wrong was done to us and I was very willing to just forgive and forget it, but God made it very clear He wanted it to be addressed for two reasons: it was not seen as a wrong and it was going to continue. I prayed as I wrote but here and there I wrote what I felt should be written rather than what God wanted. Knowing I had interjected and interrupted my Lord's words on the matter in some places, I then went back over every paragraph, praying He would point out to me anything that He wanted changed. Some were fine as written, some needed just a word to be changed, and a couple needed an entire sentence to be added or deleted. I did this paragraph by paragraph again, and then line by line. Then it was done and sent.

It was not received well. The response was as my Lord prepared me to expect. As God wished of me, I asked for forgiveness for my actions, which gave an impression that led to believing their actions were acceptable, and I stated my forgiveness of their actions against us. It was straightforward but not judgmental, however I feel that people tend to perceive things from an emotional standpoint at first and I am respectful of giving them the space and time process the information. I am praying they will seek God's perspective. Although I keep asking Him, He has been assuring me that I have served His desires on this matter. What saddens me most is that the point was made that we would not be forgiven...not at this time, at least. And there was no apology or acknowledgement of any wrongdoing done to us. It saddens me not for us, but for them. It also saddens me for my Lord, but I know He has amazing ways of turning hearts to seek Him in any situation.

This is why I am seekingmyLord.

My Lord, may I always seek Your heart and may others seek You because they see Your Presence in me.

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.