Sunday Soul Reflections #8

There’s a lot on my mind this morning.

  1. I feel the weight of the Full Moon, the upcoming elections, and the vitriolic division that can be felt in every direction. Earlier this week writer Lisa Ko, shared a post that summed up my feelings pretty well.

    “Voted early, on the working families party line, not with fanfare or inspiration, but with a heavy heart: at the crap two-party system, at the (false) idea of voting being our sole assertion of political power, at the widespread voter suppression, at the elevation of elected officials as saviors, at the elders standing for 4+hours to get into our neighborhood polling place, at the cops campaigning for tr-mp on the block, at the coup already in progress, years in the making, the failures of the democratic party and the widespread denial of what awaits us and how we got here.”

    The idea that millions of armed and enraged white nationalists and genocidal political elites will magically evaporate forever if Biden wins the elections so everything can “go back to normal” in two weeks is dangerous. People don’t want to hear this, but we’re not simply going to be able to vote Trump out. The Democratic Party isn’t going to save us. The only people who will save us are ourselves.

  2. I have been reckoning with my own faith and the religious trauma that continues to permeate our culture. I grew up Evangelical Christian and so reading the countless articles of people who continue to support Trump in the name of God makes me sick. God is love and there is no love in a leader who has intentionally continued to separate children from their parents and propagate racist rhetoric.

    Most people who you find that are both Christian and pro-Trump will stand on anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage as the fundamental reasons for their support of Republican candidates. This is not an essay re-evaluating biblical evidence for conservative viewpoints (we’ll save that for another day) but I did find the following words by Pastor Dave Barnhart to speak to an uncomfortable truth that I wish more Christians would come to face:

    A Christian Resistance:
    “The unborn” are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education or childcare; unlikes [immigrants], they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, religious baggage that you dislike. They allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships and when they are born, you can forget about them because they cease to be unborn. It’s almost as if, by being born, they have died to you. You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power + privilege, without reimagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus but actually dislike people who breathe.”

  3. I’m thinking about all the personal and spiritual growth I’ve made in the last few years. I’m choosing to focus on where I have successfully stretched myself instead of focusing on the areas where I continue to struggle. I celebrated with my therapist this week.

    I’ve always heard it said that finances are the number one reason for divorce, but that’s not really true. It’s the communication around finances that causes the strain that leads to separation. It’s important to note the difference. Money has been a huge area of contention in our marriage.  We have always had a joint account because that’s what both of our parents modeled for us, but we’ve struggled to get on the same page about how to handle our finances. I’ve always been scared to get separate accounts because although we have friends who successfully function that way, my fear was that we were avoiding a larger issue and that transitioning to separate money accounts would be the beginning of living separate lives.

    2020 has been a year of surrender for me and so, like many other things in my life, I surrendered this particular difficulty to God. In addition to therapy and praying over this area in our lives, I recruited a few close loved ones to join us in prayer (because I do believe in the power of numbers.)

    A few weeks ago., I turned to Steven and I told him I couldn’t do it anymore. I’ve always been the point person for money in our home but the strain had gotten to be too much for me, especially as we both continue to build and grow our side businesses. I told him that either he take over all the accounting for us or we go ahead and get separate accounts.

    The love of my life accepted the challenge. He researched different budgeting software and spent weeks making a list of all of our expenses. A few days into his mapping of all things money, he noticed a charge on the account that was unfamiliar. When I clarified that I had purchased a gift for someone, he gently responded, “We should probably discuss a budget for gifting.”

    I am not proud of the way my heart jumped in my chest at his words. It’s hard to describe but it felt as though now that he was paying attention to the money, he might suggest limitations that made me uncomfortable and I was uneasy with that thought. And it was in that moment that I realized that God had answered the prayer of one of our really good friends. She prayed that we could better understand each other’s perspective and I felt God speak into my heart that the tiny sense of discomfort I had felt in that moment was the huge burden my husband had been shouldering for years as I constantly worried about the budget and put constraints over what we and he could spend.

    Since then, we’ve completed a few exercises that have helped us to better understand how the other views money. I see money as a form of safety. I feel secure when our savings and retirement are looking healthy and our credit cards carry no balance. Steven sees money as a means to enjoyment. He wants to have fun with the money he works hard for. Both are important and too much focus on one or the other can be a pitfall, which is why it’s probably such a divine intervention that we have each other. Now we just have to focus on valuing each other’s perspectives as a difference and learning from one another, as opposed to seeing each other as wrong.

If you’ve read this far, I pray that you found something that spoke to your soul today. I pray that you carve out space for your grief and let yourself move through all your feelings. I also pray that you find rest in the midst of calamity and joy in the face of tough times. I pray peace, grace, and love upon you and your family. In the face of all the fear the world will try to shove down our throats, I pray that we return to love always.

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