I have opinions, do you?
I have strong opinions … meaningful opinions … meaningless opinions … and gentle opinions.
I have opinions about food … about colors … about weather … about books … and about people.
I have opinions about politics … and about morals … and about raising children.
I have opinions about marriage … and about worship … and about the treatment of immigrants.
I have opinions.
However, I have come to realize that my opinion is not necessarily my advice. If my opinion is birthed out of wisdom and my Christian faith … then it would indeed be my advice.
Other times my opinions are birthed out of individual preference, likes and dislikes and my particular perspective; it is in these situations that my opinions are NOT my advice. They are simply … my opinions.
Have I lost you yet?! Let me explain …
I like blue better than green … but I don’t expect you to like the same color that I do. Blue is my opinion not my advice.
I would rather read a book than go to the movies … but I don’t expect you to stop going to the movies just because I would rather glue my eyes and brain to a great read. Go to the movies! Have a blast! Enjoy every minute and eat some popcorn while you are at it! Me?! I’ll be at home with a cup of coffee, a warm blanket and a great book. It’s my opinion … not my advice.
I like warm weather better than cold but if you want to go snow skiing?! “Break a leg!” (Not literally of course.) You will find me on a beach, in the sunshine with a book in my hand.
Then, there are the times when my opinion might seem to border on advice. However, I hope that I am an understanding enough human being to allow you your opinion concerning these murky issues.
Let me explain this juncture in our journey that began at opinion and is traveling toward advice ….
I believe it is important to hold a baby. I don’t believe that you spoil a baby by being lavish and generous with physical touch. I don’t believe that “love” spoils a baby. I strongly believe in holding, rocking, singing and enjoying the baby years. I believe that when you cuddle your little ones, you are actually building a bridge that stretches toward the older years. I believe that the bond that is formed during the baby and toddler years will actually help a parent navigate the teen-age years with love and understanding. However, your child is not my child. God gave me my children and He gave you your children. You will have to work out your parenting style with God and answer to Him for it. No judgment on my part … but you will always just find me holding, rocking and singing to babies and little people. Always.
I homeschooled my children for 23 years but I don’t expect you to follow my lead. It is what Craig and I felt led to do and I would probably do it all over again! However, I know many Godly families who believe in sending their children to public school and are committed to it for the long haul. That’s incredible! I also know wonderful parents who send their children to private school from the preschool years right through 12th grade. Wow … what a great commitment! However, I loved homeschooling … it was my opinion. The paramount issue is that every parent does what is right for his or her individual family.
Are you still with me?
We are almost to the crossroads of opinion and advice! And this, my friend, is where it gets interesting.
When my opinions are birthed in the wisdom of decades of living and from a Godly perspective, then perhaps it would behoove you to at least listen to my advice.
My opinion is that you will never be the person who you were created to be without developing a vibrant relationship with the Creator Who made you. You are His masterpiece and He has an extraordinary plan for your life! That’s my opinion and my advice!
A strongly held opinion of mine that smacks of great advice for your life is to love everybody all the time. Love people whose opinions are different than yours. Develop a warm friendship with someone who voted differently than you did. Show a caring and kind love toward those who get on your very last nerve. Develop a friendly camaraderie with someone whose skin is a different color than yours is! It is, after all, what Jesus did and if I were you … I would try to agree with HIS opinions as much as possible!
Another well-thought out and life-changing opinion that I embrace is that joy truly is God’s will for your life. You were created to be an ambassador of heaven’s miraculous joy while sucking in the atmosphere of planet earth. If in His presence is fullness of joy … and if He lives inside of you … guess what your earthly body contains?! You, dear one, are the perfect fit for heaven’s joy! Depression, discouragement and despair will try to convince you that everyone else is able to participate in joy except you … but don’t let those old scoundrels gang up on you like that! If I can live in a place of joy after years of depression … so can you. And I must say, I like joy a whole lot better than I do depression!
So … take it or leave it! You don’t have to agree with my opinions to be my friend. You don’t even have to take my advice if you choose not to do so. But I can tell you this … when we choose to listen to the opinions of others with respect and honor the world will be a more loving and understanding place.
As always, thanks for listening to my heart. It’s not a perfect heart … but it is a heart that is enthusiastically chasing after God and all that He is!