A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend who mentioned that she read this blog. While she said that she enjoyed reading it, later in the conversation she admitted that she didn't always enjoy reading it and that sometimes she felt judged. My heart sank. I couldn't believe that I had made her or anyone feel that way. So, I want to start by apologizing, if this blog has ever, in any way made you feel judged or discouraged - I am sorry as that has never been my intention. More than anything I want this to be a place of encouragement and inspiration. We sincerely just want to share the journey that God has taken our family on, how we feel that we have been able to make some positive impacts in the world through our purchases and how we have found deeper purpose in these simple everyday actions - a bit of holiness in our everyday humdrum.
It's definitely not easy and we are far from perfect.
I know that God calls us all in different ways, at different times, to different things.
That is why I love learning from and sharing experiences with other people. The best, most profound, and precious lessons I have learned aren't from famous teachers or preachers but are from the real people in my life, doing the real things they have been called to do...Like my friend who was brave enough to share her real feelings with me! I am so thankful to have friends who are truthful and transparent. Her honesty was a good reminder that is the type of person I want to be; someone who is open, honest, real and transparent. So, today I'll start with a little honesty. On Wednesday, I posted about how we are re-thinking certain aspects of Halloween and that this year we would only be buying and consuming ethical chocolate. This post was definitely not intended to make anyone feel judged about their Halloween candy choices but rather share information about an issue we care about and to be faithful in an area that we know God is calling us to respond to, but that doesn't mean we always respond with the right heart attitude or even right away. Change can be slow in this household and attitudes can be stinky.
The chocolate issue is actually something that our family has worked on for a while now. I wish I could say that our experience with ethical chocolate has been all smiles, laughter and fair trade chocolate chip cookies, but that wouldn't be honest. A more accurate description would be that it has been full of unintentional and intentional slip ups. I admit that I over the past year I loved seeing a candy jar at doctor offices because it offered a bit of anonymity as no one knew about my commitment to fair trade chocolate so I didn't feel as guilty about having a piece...or 5. In addition, a few tears have been shed, there have been a few arguments and there might have been one incident that involved a 30-year-old woman throwing temper tantrum at Dairy Queen on a family vacation when her husband kindly mention that the Chocolate Extreme Blizzard she just ordered probably had chocolate in it. Let's just say it was not my finest hour.
Many times we wonder if it even matters, making small decisions like this that we never may see an impact from...but once God has brought light to the darkness, or knowledge where there was ignorance, the worst thing one can do is go on pretending it never happened.
We are trying and often failing. But we aren't giving up because we know that God is not demanding perfection, rather sincerity of heart, mind, and action. Surprisingly, that has been the hardest part; not how often we fail but how often the state of my heart and the motives behind my actions fall far short of bringing Him glory.
So, what am I doing with this? Well, since I can't be perfect, I decided that I can at least be joyfully imperfect.
Meaning, I will strive to follow God's prompting to make personal decisions that show a love for His people across this world. I will rejoice when I do make a decision that I know in my heart is the right one.
I sincerely believe that every good choice I make matters and will have a positive impact - so why not celebrate and focus on these?
A wise friend recently said -
I am pretty sure she is right.
Every time we choose to buy ethical chocolate, support an organization that does meaningful work, buy the fair trade latte even though it costs a little more, forgo buying new shoes and donating to the homeless shelter instead, it makes a difference and is worth noting and celebrating. The more joy we find in these choices the more we will want to choose them.
And the next thing we know we will be growing a fair trade, ethically produced, slavery free, sustainable garden!
Will you join me celebrating like this? I hope so!