I’ve discovered the secret to life.
Are you ready? Cause I’m only going to say this once… so you better be sure and listen close the first time… (click here for ADHD rabbit trail HeeHaw reference)
You may want to grab a pen.
Ok, you’re sure you’re ready now? Cause what I’m going to say is big. Really big. Game changer BIG. I’m talking SET-YOU-FOOTLOOSE to trip through meadows like Carrie in the opening scene of Little House on the Prairie BIG.
THIS. IS. NOT. HYPERBOLE.
I’m merely trying to prepare you for the life change that is coming.
Because when this little seed of wisdom drops and takes root in your soul, you shall never be the same, my friend. So brace yourself; it’s a lot of power I’m about to bestow upon you, and as Peter(Spidey)Parker’s Uncle Ben used to say…
Ok, here we go. Take a few deep cleansing breaths, because here is the truth that will set you free:
You can’t avoid offending people.
“Wait, what? That’s it?”
Yes. That is it. And since I promised I’d only say it once, you’ll have to go back and re-read it, slowly.
(for you contemplative/liturgical types, go ahead and Selah) Because I promise you this IS good news.
How so? Well let me break this down.
You see, no matter what you say… or don’t say… do, or don’t do… or even think about saying/not saying and/or doing/not doing.. someone… somewhere… is going to be quite put out.
You know this is true. There is no denying it. Everyone, everywhere is offended about something. It’s all the rage these days; why everyone who’s anyone is offended, and if they’re not now, they will be. Soon.
Here’s a case in point: in just the last 24 hours, I became embroiled in a weirdly heated social media exchange with a complete stranger over, of all things, Christmas music! That’s right. It’s not a marshmallow world for everyone out there, at least not before Black Friday, bub. At first I thought it was just playful banter between soon-to-be social media buddies…. but soon I realized that my new virtue signaling cyber acquaintance was legit OH-FFENDED. I’m talking full on, double rainbow, throw down, Greta Thunberg “How Daaaare you!” OH-FFENDED. It was weird, yet strangely exhilarating So yeah, there’s that.
Anyway, where was I?
Oh yeah, offense. It’s inevitable. So buckle up, and get ready to be virtue signaled, or worse, for whatever you said, or didn’t say, or said in actual good faith but didn’t say it good enough. For that matter, you don’t have to say or do anything offensive yourself; it’s enough to be even remotely associated with anyone or anything that is now, ever has been or shall be out of step with the fine citizens of Offended-ville. And just in case you think you’re off the hook because you didn’t do or say anything at all, offensive or otherwise… are you even paying attention? What kind of a monster are you??? The worst kind, that’s what. Good day sir and/or madam.
Bottom line, offense is here to stay, and there is nothing you can do about it.
And this is good news… why??? I’m so glad you asked. Lemme tell you why.
When you’re free from the burden of people pleasing, you are free to find out, and act on, what you really believe.
This one I will repeat, nay rephrase. In other words, since it’s is impossible to please everyone, you might as well live with some actual conviction. Let that sink in. And lest you think I’m endorsing a life of feckless mayhem in the wake of your devil-may-care spree of reckless impertinence, alas, I am not. OF COURSE we want to LIVE PEACEABLY with all the people we possibly can. I’m pretty sure that’s in the Bible. But if your sole goal in life is merely to avoid offending people, let me gently suggest you perhaps may want to reevaluate your whole life. First of all, it can’t be done, I think we’ve established that. Secondly, even if it could be done, why would you want to do that? What kind of vapid existence would that be, all that waffling, all that pandering? You deserve better, friend.
Let me put it yet another way. If no matter what you say, how you say it, what you do/don’t do and who you align yourself with, someone’s going to get mad at you… doesn’t it make more sense to at least align yourself with what you actually believe, rather than what you hope will appease? I mean, who wants to be hated for being a sell out? That’s the worst. If they’re going to throw hate your way, at least make it worth your time. Haters gonna hate, yes it’s true, it’s their job, it’s what they do (hey that rhymed!)- wouldn’t you rather it be for something that actually matters, and not for something stupid like, oh, I don’t know, pre-Thanksgiving Christmas music (as fun as that was)? Again, NOT making it the GOAL here to TRY to get cancelled… I’m merely suggesting that if your full time focus is to AVOID CANCELLATION at all costs, good luck with that; it’s going to get pretty lonely in that ever shrinking little echo chamber.
And if you don’t believe me, you can at least take Aesop’s word for it. Remember that old fable,
about The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey? If not, here you go; meet us back here when you’re done. You’ll need it for where we’re going. (wer’e almost done, btw)
Here’s where we come in for a landing. Your job is to get that boy and donkey where they need to go, to the best of your ability. Even if you screw it up, do it with conviction. And then learn from your lesson, and try it again. Just live up to what you are convinced in your heart is true. I think that’s somewhere in the Bible, too. But don’t play to the crowds, man. They’re just eating popcorn; it’s all just entertainment for them. They’ve got no skin in your game. But you do.
Finally, don’t be a jerk about your convictions. Oh, they might hate you no matter how nice you are, I know… but I think the Bible says it best:
But if you suffer for doing good and you are patient, this pleases God. This is what you were chosen to do. Christ gave you an example to follow. He suffered for you. So you should do the same as he did: “He never sinned, and he never told a lie.” People insulted him, but he did not insult them back. He suffered, but he did not threaten anyone. No, he let God take care of him. God is the one who judges rightly. Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross. He did this so that we would stop living for sin and live for what is right.1 Peter 2:20-24
Finally… wait, I said that already… In conclusion… Know what you believe. Say what you believe. Act on what you believe. Oh, and don’t pay too much attention to the feedback you get, whether it’s the 👍’s and💗’s of life… or if you get ratioed like no one’s business. Because if those are your drivers, you will lose your way, friend. And I’d hate to see you lose your way, when you’ve come this far (thanks, btw, for sticking out this blogpost with me🥰). Find out what’s worth taking a stand for, and then, by gosh, stand for it. And if it’s not worth taking a stand for, maybe it’s a good idea not to be so provocative. There you go, a litmus test. No charge. You’re welcome.
And if you come away from this and tell your friends that Nancy the Misfit told you “if it feels good, do it/say it and to heckinahandbasket to anyone who doesn’t like it” I will find you and make you listen to The Christmas Shoes on repeat forever. Don’t make me do that. 🌴🤓