Seizing Power

 

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Last week I wrote about the word bossy here as it pertains to women, primarily how it pertains to me. The gist of the post was about how I don’t find the word bossy to be bad. When bossy is used correctly it is necessary.  It describes a female leader. A male is described as a boss but the role is still the same. Since I post here and I link it to my Facebook and Twitter pages I was asked about a term I used. I wrote, “I know myself and I know what I am not. I am not a usurper, meaning I don’t seize power, and I am not emotional.” So that brought about a series of questions.  What is a usurper? And then isn’t a bossy woman seizing power?

Usurp – verb -1.  to seize power by force or without legal right 2. to advance beyond proper established limits or to trespass

First we define bossy – ordering people around, overly authoritative

Notice, bossy isn’t usurping power, it’s using power given, sometimes overly using power, I call this rookie mistakes, but within a legal right. The word boss means a person who makes decisions, exercises authority, dominates. A boss has a legal right. It makes sense though that people would think bossy and usurper would be the same thing, because we don’t understand the context in which power is used, and let’s face it, we don’t like power very much except when we have it. The difference is being bossy doesn’t mean we have the right to rule over someone. It’s not the one who barks orders and is demeaning. That isn’t leadership, that’s what I call the Bull In China Shop kind of person and I’ll discuss that in a later post, this person’s style is emotional.

A person who usurps takes over without right. It’s sad when we see it and it isn’t exclusive to women. I’ve seen men try to take over as many time as I’ve seen women.

In marriage, usurping authority are things like siphoning money from the family budget to buy things we want knowing that our spouse wouldn’t approve. It basks in contradiction, and it brings about disunity.  It’s saying you don’t care what the other person wants, it’s going to be your way. It’s threatening and not caring what is best for the whole, but only what we think is best. It can be abusive.

In business usurping authority is seizing power where it isn’t given. It’s playing CEO without the earned right to be CEO. Just because there is a disagreement over a decision doesn’t mean we gossip, set up teams, poke holes in the boat and try to take over. A bossy woman, may in fact, voice her opinion but ultimately she knows where her role and responsibility begins and ends and she will back the vision up.

 

Christianity Leaves Where Facebook Begins

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It’s not as simple as deleting a post or tweet. – Jake Iversen

I took a break from Social Media at the end of the year. I couldn’t take the whining and complaining and the perfection of selfies anymore. Not just others either, my own. I found myself wanting to respond in a negative way and it was no longer fun, nor good. Social media tends to leave manners at the door, and I was no exception. I have gone back on now and I’ve decided not to engage the meanies nor be one either. Some hot topics I will reserve for dinner conversations, live and in person because I have an opinion but sometimes I need you to hear my tone.

In church for the past month my husband has said every single Sunday, that if we have an issue with a brother, we are to go to that person as directed in the bible, not to Facebook. These are the kinds of things that people see and read and cause them to call us hypocrites.

They’d be right.

We can defend nothing.

We use people like pawns, those people who know nothing about the situation rush to the defense of the person who wrote the “cryptic” message, making the writer feel justified. Those who know what’s going on begin to text and call each other. Sadly it sets up a battle right in the middle of the congregation.

Which is exactly what the person posting wanted to have happen.

They won’t go face to face and confront but

anyone can be an attacker.

And it’s not just the church I attend, or the one you attend, or the one your friend attends, this is acceptable behavior in the Christian community, just as it is in any community these days. Only for us who call ourselves followers of Christ it’s not scriptural nor does it follow the example of Christ. And we think we invoke Jesus justifiably. We’ll preface it by saying, “I’m waiting on God’s will for this situation”, or “Is God trying to tell me something?” “I’m praying about what to do.” Then we proceed with the modern day Holy War. 

So when I took my social media break, I thought about not coming back on. I didn’t want to contribute to the negative stereotypes of Christians and because I have a sarcastic sense of humor and very opinionated views, it doesn’t always translate well on paper. Even more than that, I didn’t like how it made me feel and react.

We need to weigh our words. They aren’t anonymous and you can hurt people with them. You become a publisher and it’s more than ink on a page. It’s there for as long as the Internet is around, and right now, it isn’t going anywhere.

 

 

Parents Shouldn’t Be A Financial Burden

 

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Proverbs 13:22A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

We’re a nation of consumers and that isn’t news nor is it going away. Reverse mortgages, check-cashing loans, credit card debt are rampant means of getting extra cash. Gone are the days in which we live within our means.

Have we stopped to consider our children in these situations?

Your average 21 year old comes out of college with a debt of $32,000 in student loans and $4,000 in credit card debt, according to the Dave Ramsey crew. How is that student going to pay that off when an entry level job isn’t going to pay anywhere near the money it will take to make a dent in that amount? As parents if we are not set up to help take care of these costs, we must rely on loans, grandparents, and family members to foot the bill.

With these statistics it is imperative that we should not take from our children nor be a burden to them. We need to begin wherever we are to save for our child’s education and their future. My godmother and I were talking recently and she said to me that as soon as I find out I am having a grandchild, I am to put $20 per week aside for that child’s future. So that ends up being about $20,000 with just simple interest. if I invested it, it would be more.

Do we even comprehend that $20 is one fast food meal skipped per week? 

I don’t profess to be a saver. I love a sale as much as anyone, but we have an emergency fund and funds set aside for our future. I don’t want to be a burden to my kids. The bible says we aren’t supposed to be. Could it be that this is why the Lord makes such archaic statements in the bible?

Save! Don’t consume all that you have.

Proverbs 21:20 There is desirable treasure, And oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man squanders it.

Give freely but don’t be a borrower.

Psalm 37:21 The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives.

We have to set this thing up better for the next generation or they won’t be afforded the life we were. We have to begin to look at the consequences of the whole picture and not look at what feels good right now. We love our children, and I believe that we do love our children, but are we looking out for them or are looking out for ourselves? Are we leaving them with a legacy of slavery to a system and a life of indebtedness or are we teaching practical principles like delayed gratification? We have got to do better for our next generation. Setbacks happen to everyone but there is a difference between a person who can’t recover and one who won’t.

Work and savings aren’t ugly words. My grandfather worked three jobs to give his kids a leg up. My parents both worked to give us an education. We worked to give our kids the things they needed. We didn’t always have new stuff but we had what we needed and we didn’t work a system, we worked to be free to make decisions.

 

What I Am Not

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Perhaps, when you and other girls hear bossy, you can think of leadership. Perhaps, bossy could mean someone has an opinion and is comfortable sharing it with other people. Bossy could mean someone has a plan, that someone is bold. Bossy could mean that someone is the boss, a leader!~ Helen Drinan 

There is this movement to ban the word bossy. I’m not a fan. My second grade report card stated, “Susan is extremely bossy…” The grades were straight up good. I received the award for most outstanding student, most outstanding reader, most outstanding in math. Here’s what I remember about my second grade teacher. She spoke very broken English and it was very hard to understand her. I remember asking her to repeat herself many times. I was also a rule follower. She would make a rule and then when children weren’t following it, she’d become exasperated and yell and throw chalk, but never followed through on her point system. So I’d remind her. Someone had to. The black and white thinker that I am was already formed at this age. If you said that you’d take points away if we misbehaved, then I took you at your word and felt that you should.

Bossy doesn’t bother me. Female leaders are often deemed bossy but my thought is hey someone has to be the leader. I can get things done, I work very well with others. All that being said, when my mother read the teacher’s comment to me and asked me about it, she smirked. I think she’s always been understanding of the bossy girl that was born to her. I remember explaining the issues to her. She told me to try to get along with her. I do not remember the term bossy hurting my self esteem nor making me feel less than. I know myself and I know what I am not. I am not a usurper, meaning I don’t seize power,  and I am not emotional. When this teacher would yell and throw chalk I would just watch her and try to understand why she couldn’t take control of her class. I would raise my hand and ask why she didn’t use the point system and write our names on the board. Then she would break chalk on the chalkboard writing all of our names on the board. Obviously she wasn’t bossy.

Here is where the misunderstanding of the word comes in. Men are not called bossy and weak men are intimidated by a woman who know what she wants and knows how to lead. I would never be able to married to a weak man. He would not be an equal and it would be frustrating. My husband is an easy-going, super nice guy but he is anything but weak. Everything I do in our life is discussed with him and I get the okay before I move. E V E R Y T H I N G. Some things are discussed longer than others but ultimately his no is no and his no is honored. He is great about directing me. I am heard and he explains why an idea is a go or not. We work well together because he is a visionary but I am a detailer. So when he gives me an idea, I can make it happen.

Where women like me clash is with the personality of what I call the Bull in the China Shop kind of man. They run around barking orders, and puffing themselves up. They lead by bullying. Bossy and Bullies clash. This is why women in politics and female executives get such a bad rap for the most part. I’ll let that sit.

Getting rid of the word bossy will do absolutely nothing about personality types. We need to focus on directing those bossy second graders to greatness.

Happy Anniversary!

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In just a few days my son, Anthony, and his wife will celebrate their second anniversary. For those of you with young children it’s never too early to begin to pray for your child’s spouse. You know your child’s strengths and weaknesses better than anyone and you also have lived a little and know the characteristics of the person who will compliment them. So today I’m sharing a prayer that I prayed for my son for many years before Frances came true. Click Here.

Happy Anniversary! I love you both!

Joy In Service

 

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My grandparents taught us about service to our community. Not because we ever sat down and discussed it but because we saw it in action. Complete strangers would come to their home, and if my grandparents could help they would. They were people of modest means but that never stopped them from doing for others.

Their children, my aunts and uncles,  followed this tradition and throughout the years have been an inspiration to us to help where needed. I’ve watched them help with service to their church and other civic organizations, to sponsoring senior high school students graduation costs. They translate, they visit those in need, they take food to others, and they have a good reputation in their community.

My mom loves to crochet. For years now, all year long, she crochets scarves, blankets, hats,  and sweaters.  At Christmas time she delivers them to nursing homes to patients who don’t see visitors. She calls them “my seniors”. She has added a new project and has begun to crochet hats for cancer patients. This process is quite different than crocheting for her seniors. She has to use a certain gauge of yarn, she has to wash them in special detergent, and she has to individually bag them and ship them.

She recently told me nonchalantly that she had begun to receive thank you notes from the cancer patients. I could tell by the way she told me the notes were not expected. She received blankets in return from the coordinator at the cancer center for her seniors. You have to know my mom to know what this endeavor entails. She is retired, her hands give her problems due to years of banking and accounting and yet she continues to help because there is joy in service. This is not a job for her, this is what you do to make life better for others. When you see a need you fill it. That’s just that. She said my aunt had given her money for more yarn for this project. How typical it is for my family to gather resources together to make life livable for others.

We often lament about the generation that came before us. We point out that many of our issues are due to them. Some of that may be true. I am a germ freak because my mother is. I don’t share food off of my plate, or drink from anyone’s cup, not even with my husband, because I can hear my mother saying, “I don’t think so! That’s gross. You have no idea what germs they have.” Even as I write about possible germs I know she’ll cringe as she reads this. However, I did learn the joy in serving others. I learned about how we’re all connected and how we need to all do our part for our community. Thanks Mom! I am super proud of you and love you much!

So what can you do to make life better for someone?

Infallible Hero

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Recently at a bible study someone dared to say that one of our beloved bible heroes acted like a spoiled brat. The women immediately were up in arms. Bible heroes are heroes and therefore we overlook their flaws and make them somewhat godlike, but come on, truth is truth, and it’s actually beneficial to see the real person in the scheme of the heroic act.

You all know I am a huge Dr. Laura fan. I’ve been listening to her for almost 30 years. So it was no wonder that I imagined Jacob calling into the radio program as I studied the life of Joseph.  As he gives Dr. Laura the background we hear, Jacob is in love with Rachel, but marries her sister Leah and has a tribe of kids with her because Rachel can’t get pregnant, even though (Dr. Laura gets impatient with these words) he doesn’t love Leah. Finally Rachel has a son named Joseph and the bible tells us Joseph is Jacob’s favorite kid. Joseph, as a teen, has a dream that one day his older brothers will bow down to him. Joseph, dressed in this flashy coat, goes out to the field to tell his brothers about his dream. Now right about here is where I’m thinking this is one dysfunctional family.  So Joseph’s brothers take Joseph out on a walk and lose him and then go back home and tell their dad he was killed.

So I can hear Dr. Laura saying to Jacob, “What the hell were you thinking was going to happen?” At which point I usually think to myself and take a deep breath, “Buddy, do you ever listen to this program?”

You can actually do this with all the bible heroes. Moses’ parents and Dr. Laura, “Don’t have them if you won’t raise them.” Then to Pharoah’s daughter: “Give this child to an intact, two-parent home. Adopt an older child.”

To David’s parents: “I know you’re trying to raise your boy to be a man, but sending him out to places alone where he has to fight a bear? What the hell are you thinking?!”

Parts of these stories look so heroic that it’s easy to overlook the dysfunction they went through as children and only see the good these men did with God at their side. It’s easy to then say we have too much to overcome to get to a spot of actually making a difference but the bible shows us these thoughts are merely excuses. Everyone has stuff to overcome. The difference is in those who will do something despite their circumstances, and those who will wallow.

Which will you be? A Hero or Victim? It’s interesting, every Comic Hero that I can think of had a crazy childhood only to come out victorious. So what’s holding you back? You aren’t any different. Go out and do something heroic with your life. Teach a child to be a person of character, go out and feed some homeless people, go out and teach a class or coach a sport. Make a difference. The world is waiting for your gift.