Monday, September 12, 2011

Allowing --- MYOB

Hebrews 1:1 describes God's method of communicating  with our forefathers  .... at many times and in various ways or as the King James Version describes it, in “divers and sundry ways”

He hasn't stopped this diverse and sundry thing.  He "talks" to me that way all the time.

It started (as it often does) on google a blog post about achieving inner peace.  A number list...with 5 guidelines for inner peace.  The one that caught my eye was # 4.  Master the Art of Allowing. 

Hmmmm.  Allowing.  Interesting word.  it  means, among other things, “to to make it possible for someone to do something, or to not prevent something from happening” Some synonyms with a bit more of a negative connotation are endure or tolerate.

I learned a lot about allowing when one of my kids was in her "I've lost my mind" phase of teenage rebellion. Finally, in desperation, I  stopped beating my head against that brick wall.  Sometimes the harder we try to change/control things, the more resistance we generate in the person we are trying to change.    

This explanation of allowing (authored by Evita Ochel owner of the website mentions how parents many times think they know what is best or how their children should be...parents aka "entities who seem to think they own" their children. 

She credits parents with planting the seed for this nasty little habit of trying to change our loved ones...mold them into who we think they should be.  Sort of a sins of the father kind of thing.  Pressuring them to do the things we think they should, pressuring them not to do the things we think they shouldn't.

I learned that this is rarely a very a successful endeavor. 

So before we get into what allowing is, let's determine what allowing ISN'T.  While it does contain aspects of MYOB, it does not turn a blind eye to injustice.  A quote I came across the other day (one of those divers and sundry things) on someone's FB feed:

‎"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." Desmond Tutu

How to decide when to MYOB and when not to is tricky echoed in the words of the oft repeated prayer attributed to St. Francis.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Some situations demand that we speak up.  Some things we cannot allow.  Exactly what those situations are, well, I am not all that clear about.  A good idea might be to follow the leading of the spirit...and do what he tells us to do. 

Another thing that allowing is an obligation to be a doormat. We really do get to choose if we participate in any situation.  Allowing a loved member, spouse, friend... the right to make their own decisions and choices does not mean we have to hang out in a situation that is intolerable. 

So...the author of this article thinks that allowing means "letting each person be as they are."  Which is directly related to the directive of Jesus when he said not to worry about the speck of dust in another's eye and to concern ourselves with the plank in our own eye. 

More to come on allowing....


Sue said...

Great post, Cindi. It's a complicated space, because if there isn't a clear understanding of what allowing others to be is, the pendulum can easily swing between - as you've written so well here - allowing injustice or being a doormat.

I guess the continuum has to be somewhere where the person's behaviour is affecting other people.

To be an allower and have strong boundaries ... imagine how the world would be if that was the case!

Cindi said...

A thought occurred to me...
the difference between allowing and enabling. Looked up the word enabler. It means:

one that enables another to achieve an end; especially : one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior (as substance abuse) by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior.

Sue said...

There is a world of difference there, isn't there. Although subtle, and difficult to separate those two strands. An ongoing journey :)

Cindi said...

Yes there is Sue...but trying to separate those subtle strands sometimes it really hard.


Anonymous said...

Hating the sin, but not the individual. Who's our final Judge? praying imo would be a useful weapon, but don't rub it in peoples faces that you are going to pray for them.

Cindi said...

Not judging is hard to pull off. Personally I have a really difficult time not judging judgmental people. Talk about a paradox!!God is the final judge...and he knows the ins and outs and soft spots and hurts in everyone's heart. He doesn't judge like we do. We are supposed to worry about the big old beam in our own eye...rather than the speck in our brother's eye. Easier said than done sometimes.