Encounters with prejudice.

Prejudice comes in all forms and is everywhere now with that being said I must add that not all prejudice is bad. As defined by dictionary.com prejudice is…”any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.” We use it for protection or to justify thoughts, feelings and actions. And many times our preconceived notions serve a favorable purpose. When it gets dangerous is when you start to over generalize all persons within a class of people to all be the same and it turns into racism, hatred, or discrimination against said persons because of our prejudice.

I am in a race and ethnic relations class this semester and have learned a lot!!! It has been a great class. As a requirement of the class I was leading the discussion for the day and we were discussing the construction of enemies and how 9/11 reinforced our hatred of Muslims. And you can’t talk about a subject like that without religion and politics coming up. So, the conversation that ensued was at first very tense and stayed fairly surface but the more questions that came the more it got personal and I was shocked at how easily people who claim to be open-minded and non-judgmental throw out ugliness and intolerance for someone who’s opinion is different from their own.

I felt like I was under attack for being a “conservative Christian and republican (of sorts).” I was essentially told that I was stupid for believing in a God that can’t be seen or heard and that faith is a social construct to give people warm fuzzies, and that conservatives are the reason for racism and that I am in a self-defeating position. I have to say a fire ignited in me that has yet to be put out. The long and short of the conversation is that what happened in that room was the truest sense of constructing an enemy. They hate me because I am different. I walked away livid but also sad and with a prayer in my heart for people who are so lost in themselves that they can’t even see and respect another persons opinion. God loves us all equally.

Everyone deserves equal consideration and respect no matter what they believe, how they look, or whether we agree with them or not. I know I am not perfect and that I make many mistakes but I praise God that He is constantly opening the eyes of my heart to see people how He sees them. I am sad for the people who are so lost and have been praying that God touches their lives, because I know God loves them just as much as He does me and wants them for Himself. I hope that God can use the meager words I said in self-defense to open someone’s heart.

Jenness

c/s

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I have a voice.

My life has been plagued with frustration and failure. I have had every excuse in the book to use as my sword to fight off change. I have battled many different things in my life and the things that seems insurmountable have always come back to one thing. CONTROL I have always thought that I had the illusion of it in my life but then I take a step back and realize that all my metaphorical balls have spun so far out of control that I can no longer recognize what they looked like to begin with. I keep thinking if just this one thing is fixed then it will all fall into place. My reality is that I can’t fix anything and I am treading water barely keeping my head above water praying with all my might that the strength in my legs doesn’t fail or I will for sure go under. All my heart, soul, intention and effort want what is right but when presented with something that appears to be a short cut I forget all my fortitude and try to feel better today. I am my own worst enemy and I self sabotage. Maybe it is a step forward to realize that I do that but now how do I fix it. Its kinda of absurd I have to say to think of fixing myself like you would a car or a leaky faucet. What is “broken” isn’t visible its deep in my heart and soul. And the idea of being broken is a scary thought for me because all the thoughts of unworthiness come full force and nearly topple me over when I think of it being true. But, the truth is we all have a little brokenness scars, wounds, gaping holes in our hearts that are not fixed by a wrench or screw driver. I have what is called borderline personality disorder, essentially I have never been “validated” in life and battle many things that others can overcome easier than me. Now when I was diagnosed I was devastated though it made sense as to the trajectory of my life it also validated that I was in a sense broken, now I have spoken of my crazy brain before that I attribute to my ADHD but I have been dealing with that since I was a second grader. This new diagnosis seemed scarier and like the elephant in the room just sat on my face and was suffocating me. Since, this diagnosis over a year ago I have learned how to manage things better and am making strides to be more self-aware and to manage the panic attacks and anxiety. To not be so hard on myself and try to stop being my own worst critic, I have lived under a cloud of judgment and a lot of that judgment came from myself. I am a failure because I am human and it is not just a Jenness condition it is a human condition. I am learning to shed my preconceived notions about myself and I know I have grown. Forward motion happens everyday in my life and that all my hidden yuckiness comes to light piece by piece and I try to work through it. I think that I am seeing more and more that I HAVE A VOICE and that, that voice can be used to stand up for myself and others, to tell the truth, to tell others the truth and to speak out against injustice, to highlight the passions that God has set on fire in my heart. I want to be the change that I need. I want to eradicate in my heart prejudice, racism, hatred, judgmental attitudes, fear, anxiety and the idea that I am nothing and can help no one including myself. That is a lie of satan, he banks on the fact that I will fail and hate myself when I do. But, though I have been plagued with failure and the ensuing frustration from that I feel like God is opening my heart and mind for a distinct purpose. I know He has a purpose for all of His children and maybe mine is to use my story to pay it forward to give hope where none can be found. I realize that I am so very far from perfect but in an Easter morning service I was encouraged that if God can use murders, tax collectors and cowards to further His kingdom why not me. WHY NOT ME???

Jenness

c/s