Categories
Devotions

Wait, What did You Mean by That? The Second Nature of Second Guessing

“Just to clarify…” If I had a dollar for every email I sent with those words, I don’t think I’d have to send them anymore. I’d invest those dollars and retire. I am frequently second guessing my understanding of things. Can you relate?

I have noticed that people seem more distracted and less prepared lately, me included. Those qualities do not make for clearer communication. I frequently want to interject “Wait, what did you mean by that?”

And sometimes, even with our best efforts and preparation, our words land with meanings which are different than we intended. It can be a good thing when someone second guesses their first inclination about what we meant. Written words are especially prone to misinterpretation.

The texting world is a great example. I think emojis are intended to help me understand the spirit with which a message is sent, but still I second guess. Apparently, each emoji has an assigned emotion, but I don’t know what they are. I have to interpret the face and let’s be real, a wink could mean a lot of different things!

I saw something like this the other day. I have recreated it as I remember it.

Font matters: Wait, What did You Mean by That?  The Second Nature of Second Guessing...
Words alone aren’t always enough to convey a message!

When I saw the graphic, I read the two notes to myself in very different voices. It was second nature to me to assume one was a promise and the other a threat. Contemplating this brought to mind two other instances I’ve encountered lately where I second guessed the meaning of a message and its implication.

The first was when someone told me that I seem very content. I smiled and thanked them, because it made me feel good. But then I second guessed their motives. Had that been a compliment or an accusation? What did they mean by that? I am happy with what I have and who I am. But did they mean it to say that I should driving and striving for improvement? I’m still not sure.

The other thing was something Jesus said. And it wasn’t so much a matter of not understanding what He meant. His words are living and active (Hebrews 4:12), meaning they hit differently, depending on the condition of my heart. This is what He said:

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Matthew 6:6

If I read these words during my quiet time, with my Bible open and my heart pure, they are sweet, aren’t they? They reassure me that, even when nobody else can see me doing the right thing, God sees. It makes me feel like I don’t need anybody else’s recognition or praise.

But yikes! The words here say that God sees what I do in secret. What if I’m doing something sneaky and naughty? This verse takes on a whole different meaning under those circumstances, doesn’t it? Suddenly, it is anything but reassuring. I feel like a deer in the headlights, second guessing what I think I’m getting away with.

To be honest, I don’t think we can ever get away from misunderstandings entirely. Maybe we all do well to cultivate a second nature of second guessing. But I want to focus mine to be more productive.

Instead of fussing with insecurity and obsessing over what was meant by the little comments people make, I want to use my second guess to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Sometimes, believing the best of someone will literally mean I need to wait and find out what they meant. Other times, it will just be a decision I make in my heart to believe the best of them. After all, God knows the truth and He rewards what nobody else sees. And I never have to second guess His word!

Are you a second guesser? Do words return to your mind with an uncertainty as to what they mean? Or maybe you are characterized by confidence and rarely think twice about things. I guess we all have a second nature inclined one way or the other. What is yours?

Categories
Conversations

Three Birthday Cakes, a Turkey, and a Veil

Does that sound like the beginning of a bad joke? Three birthday cakes, a turkey and a veil walk into a bar. Or stand at the pearly gates. Nope, it isn’t bad, and it isn’t even a joke. Although, I must admit that seeing humor in it helps diffuse the stress!

Three birthday cakes, a turkey, and a veil is the description of my upcoming week. My husband’s birthday is on Thanksgiving, my daughter’s is a few days after, followed by my son’s girlfriend’s birthday the next day. And then, two days later, the big event takes place – my daughter is getting married!

Oh, I just caught my breath saying all of that! These five celebrations happen within the span of one week. It is going to be crazy! And so fun!

The title for this post probably could have been “Three cakes, Sushi, and a Veil” because sushi is my husband’s favorite, and he gets to choose on his birthday. I love that his special day falls on Thanksgiving from time to time, because honestly, aside from Jesus, my hubby is my biggest blessing. He just camps out, right there, at the tippety-top of my thankful list!

Sushi: three birthday cakes, a turkey and a veil
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Pexels.com
Birthday sushi for Thanksgiving? Sure! Why not?

This post is a bit unusual. I have a slightly ulterior motive beyond the peek into my charming chaos. Friends, can I ask your help with two things?

  1. Please pray for me – I don’t want to get so caught up in the craziness of ALL that is happening that I don’t see EACH thing for the blessing it is and the celebration it deserves. I want to cherish each person and the gift they are from God; and there will be so many people. For an introvert like me, it is overwhelming to think about.
  2. Pen a few words to my daughter – I would be so honored if you would take a minute to write encouragement, inspiration, or practical advice from God’s Word. Just a sentence or two, for my daughter and her husband-to-be to read. If you are willing, type it in the comments section below, ‘to Kevin and Mikayla’. I would like to copy and paste your sentiments into a hand-made card or booklet to add to their wedding gifts. I think it would be such a blessing for them!

I know I have access to an incredible wealth of experience, knowledge, and Godly wisdom on this platform. You who visit the Back Porch are top notch! Thank you for coming alongside my family and me in these ways. I am sincerely, from the depths of my heart, awestruck and grateful for each of you.

I have pre-scheduled some posts about different things, so there shouldn’t be too much interruption to the blog in the coming weeks. I look forward to getting back to a regular routine on the flipside of three birthday cakes, a turkey (sushi?) and a veil. God bless you all!

Categories
Recommendations

3 Types of Blogs & 6 Bloggers I Really Enjoy, and Think You Might Too

You are amazing and oh, so appreciated! Yes, you! My loyal followers and precious readers, I adore you. I am humbled and honored by the gift of your time and friendship. You are what makes this Back Porch a hang-out spot worth visiting.

Today I want to treat you to something different. I am going to highlight a few blogs and bloggers who have given me joy this year. There are so many great sites out there, and I would love to shine a spotlight on all of them. But for my first attempt at an applause post, I decided to appreciate some which are very different from mine. I’ve narrowed it down to 3 types of blogs & 6 bloggers I really enjoy and think you might too.

Applause: 3 Types of Blogs & 6 Bloggers I Really Enjoy, and Think You Might Too
Photo by Guillermo Latorre on Unsplash

1) Fiction

Oh, how I admire good story tellers! And when a tale is told with a worth-while moral and a valid lesson to be learned, I just cannot get enough. On her blog, Deeper Waters, Sandi Meadows Carlson kept me impressed and intrigued as I followed her fictional cast, the Lancaster family, from week to week. “Blessed Assurance: A Story of Hope” has just come to ‘The End’. Lucky you! If this is also your cup of tea, you can binge read this delightful account at your leisure!

2) Short and Punchy

There was a time I was pretty active on Facebook. It was my go-to scroll for waiting in line, 2-minute mental breaks, and the like. But there is so much on there now that I just don’t want to read. I am sure you know what I mean.

Instead, I am loving short and punchy blogs. Two of my favorites are Beth’s blog, called I didn’t have my glasses on…, and Fred’s site titled Abba’s Art. Both combine pictures and words to make succinct and creative points. These bloggers provide brilliant, quick diversions.

3) Different Angles

My posts come out of my life circumstances. These next three bloggers write from different angles than I do. They each have unique perspectives born of experiences, locations, and values specific to them.

Arrows: 3 Types of Blogs & 6 Bloggers I Really Enjoy, and Think You Might Too
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

I cannot recommend The Book of Joe highly enough. Visit her page, and you will see that Rhonda Price has a way with words that just sparks the soul. She is raw and honest and a natural born teacher. She has taken a step back from weekly writing, but everything is still up on her blog and you should definitely pay it a visit. It was a gift every time her new posts showed up in my feed.

Speaking of anticipating posts, Cheryl Loreglia’s genius, showcased on her blog Living in the Gap, is always fun to read. She is entertaining and makes a real connection with her readers. I feel as if I’m part of Cheryl’s family because she is incredibly adept at writing their portrayals and has completely drawn me in.

And that brings me to Winds of Change. Reading this blog just feels peaceful. The author’s posts about her quiet days of normal, blissful imperfection bring with them a steady calm, which I crave in my 100-mile-a-minute life. She also pens vivid imagery on occasion and just knocks it out of the park. I cherish the genuine, friendly comments we exchange and consider it a precious part of my day.

Thank you, God: 3 Types of Blogs & 6 Bloggers I Really Enjoy, and Think You Might Too
Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

The above are 3 types of blogs and 6 bloggers I really enjoy and think you might too. If these sites are not familiar to you, please go have a look! If you have some to suggest to me, let me know in the comments. Your time, your posts, your comments… YOU bring me joy and I sincerely thank you! You make the Back Porch the blessing that it is.