All or Nothing

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Don’t be an absolutist. The Lord has been working on me with that one, for a long, long time. I still have to catch myself constantly, the urge to sink into absolutism is still there.

Absolutism is a bit of melodrama, an emotional response that tricks your brain into believing things like, ALL people are like that, this is going to happen EVERY single time, there is no good in the world, NONE. It knows what it knows and slams the door on any other possibilities.

I can blame my mother for that one, she is a total absolutist. In fact, if you attempt to launch even the gentlest correction, she gets angry. So ALL dentists are like that and she won’t go to one.  Or EVERY single time you try something it’s going to fail. NOTHING good can ever come of this. There is not ONE, not EVER,and so it goes in life, with EVERY single thing. ALWAYS.

Today I can look at my mama with a lot of grace and mercy, forgive her for having implanted this defect in me, while at the same time recognizing it as all wrongheaded, damaging, not a healthy way to perceive the world at all. With billions of people on the planet, a number of possibilities so infinite we can hardly calculate them all, it’s quite irrational to believe in our own ALWAYS, EVERY, and NEVERS.

Not long ago I heard a dad say, he didn’t let his kids use those words because of the mindset they can create, the absolutism and sense of fatality. I love how God arranges for me to hear exactly what I need to hear at just the right time, because those words ministered to my soul, they were validating. That’s what love is, it helps you avoid pitfalls and absolutism is a pitfall that can create a lot of deception and despair.

I think it’s a tricky one in parenthood sometimes because we say things like EVERY time you touch the stove it is going to hurt you. EVERY time you run into traffic you risk death. We don’t want you to ponder other possibilities, or to be open to the idea that you may survive a close encounter with a shark,  because we want you to be careful.

I hope I did not pass the misery along to my own children, but if I did, I am so sorry, repent, recant, and change the narrative. Absolitism is terrible way to live and it’s a deception.

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