There was a saying in my house growing up, “if one person tells you that you are a horse ignore them, but if three people tell you that you are a horse buy a saddle.” So whenever I was being a brat but insisting that I was not in-fact being a brat my brothers would all start saying “saddle up Tindell, saddle up.” It was really infuriating because, despite my best attempts to annoy them by stomping around and exhaling loudly they would just yell “saddle up.” I like to think I’m a better person because of incidents like this but in reality I think it just made them grateful they didn’t marry dramatic women.
Anyway back to the saddle, there is this epidemic going on where honest feedback is no longer welcomed. In fact there seems to be a new policy, I won’t tell you that you’re being a brat if you don’ tell me I’m being a brat. Let me just go ahead and say we all need a good talking to every now and then. Honest feedback is the breeding ground for real change.
There are so many times I have looked back in life and thought why did no one tell me?! Like when I was wearing a skirt to my oldest brothers rehearsal dinner that looked like I was taking a lunch break from hooters. Or when I was dating a guy in college who was all wrong me and yet I wasted a lot of time, energy, and journal pages wondering if it was just “part of being in real relationship?” Or when I got a dog in college after another broken heart and he was a terror to my roommates and now terrorizes my current home (he is currently seeking a new home to terrorize… interested?). I looked back and asked WHERE WERE MY REAL FRIENDS? To which their response was always the same, you weren’t open to real feedback. In my dad’s words I was a “porcupine that needed a hug.”
As Christians we have to stop thinking we are all this separate entity that can function just fine on its own and if we fail, oh yea… grace abounds. Do we have to listen to every voice that comes across our social media accounts? No! But if your entire small group is saying don’t date him maybe listen. If your best friends are warning you that you might not want the dog in 10 years when he is STILL peeing on your carpet, maybe take that into consideration. And if the skirt doesn’t come past the top of your thigh… ok that one should be common sense. In the words of my brother’s…saddle up. There are things we need to hear from people that love us. There are things we can’t see when we are emotionally involved. There are times when we need to hear while grace does abound, there are consequences.
However, you have to be willing to ask along with willing to listen. You have to come humbly before God with your questions instead of pretending to have all the answers. Because sometimes in the midst of our greatest turmoil there is a quiet voice beckoning us to look honestly at the role we play in our own disaster.
Sherri Helmich - I first want to let you know that this is the first comment I have ever made to any one in internet land. . I just had to let you know how much I enjoy your writing and how much I appreciate your perspectives.
I have read your book and in some ways have learned from it more than I ever wanted to know. I have four daughters and your book helped me become aware of things I needed to know. I am especially praying for my sixteen year old daughter who professes to be a Christian, but seems to be treading on shaky ground in some of the ways she is choosing.
One thing that is so apparent from your writings is your love for God and your commitment to Him. Thanks for your humility, humor, and wisdom. I would like to extend a hug and a thanks to you, and a prayer that God will continue to bless your writings
Gloria Butler - Very well said. I guess pride rears it’s ugly head at times.
Tracy - You make some very good points and I think most of us can relate. Like you said, the key is to be open and ready to listen to others. There was a point my parents tried to tell me some things I needed to know and unfortunately I just dismissed and possibly resented them for it. Hindsight is 20/20, right? It takes some growing and turning to The LORD to be able to see our errant ways. Thanks for your insight on this blog. You are very wise for your age! It is clear that you have turned to The LORD. :). God bless!
Danielle Garrett - Love this Tindell! Very well written.