Monday, January 20, 2014


I'd wager that each of us, growing up, fantasizes about the freedom of adulthood; I did. When I'm grown, I promised myself, no one will ever tell me what to do again.

Here I am, almost forty, and I find I've got more people trying to tell me what to do than ever. I find, too: I don't handle it well.

One of my middle-school teachers (the most ruthless paddler on the hall) told me to stop biting my nails, once. I blinked against the red spots and, leaning forward, said in a shaky voice: "They're my nails, and I'll bite them if I feel like it." He never said another word about it; we both knew he didn't want my daddy after him.

Looking back, I know it was a decent place to be, under my daddy's roof and authority. He wasn't (isn't) perfect, but he cared about right and wrong. He told me: if he found out I'd done wrong at school, he'd whip me at home, but if I was wronged at school or anywhere else, he'd have my back. He was and is an intimidating sort; I walked a fairly straight line, back then, but didn't worry about bullies in any form. 

I worry about bullies a great deal, as an adult, and I have this desire to call them out: to say, over and over, I saw (heard, read) that, and it was hurtful. It hurt. It hurt me, or it hurt someone else, and I refuse to pretend it's okay or didn't happen; I don't care who you are. I don't care how believable your sheep's clothing.

"You start a lot of shit," my husband said, and his words stung.

"I don't," I said. "I respond to a lot of shit."

"You make things worse," he said. 

And he's right. My spiritual gift is mercy, and I see myself as painfully honest: a defender, an avenger, a voice for those judged, cornered, pressured, bullied, overpowered, and/or overwhelmed, but--if I'm painfully honest with myself (for a change)--I can't think of a time I've gotten the response I've sought, which has always been: "I'm sorry I hurt you or someone else." 

I don't know how to let things roll off my back. I don't know how to refrain from speaking out, and I don't know how to speak out effectively, so I'm trying to ignore the repeat offenders. I haven't "unfriended" any of my facebook friends, but I've stopped "following" a lot of them. I've also stopped visiting the blogs of those whose words I find discouraging, hurtful, or offensive.

I love the Lord and seek to obey Him: HIM, not Him according to other people. Experience has taught me: those who have my best interest at heart will encourage me to seek His face, not try to tell me what His face looks like. (Both my husband and my pastor have my best interest at heart; I'm blessed.)

I like what Euripedes wrote: "Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing." I also like what Jesus said: "Seek, and ye shall find" (Matthew 7:7). I trust God and know I can go straight to the source of Him and His Word. I hope you know the same: that you walk freely in Christ, that you are free.

Diana Trautwein - Living into the Answers


  1. I like your perspective--not unfriending, but also not investing your time in following those wearing the sheep's clothing. I think what I'm hearing underneath your words here, is a desire to be life-giving to others--to encourage and to persuade others to act likewise.

    It's so good to know when others have our backs.

  2. super good post......Brandee, when we get all caught up in what others are doing then the focus goes off of the Lord and we get all bent. I fight the same thing, keep our eyes on Him, He knows your heart and why you do the things you do. This frees me, hope it does you too.

  3. My SIL and I were just discussing this the other day, how on facebook, it just isn't worth it to "argue." It isn't like you ever see a comment that reads, "You're right. I have just changed my entire opinion on xyz..." All that ever seems to get accomplished is that you have just given someone an opportunity to argue more or spew more nonsense. The good news is that Jesus doesn't need defending, just follow Him, and you will be in His will, which will be love, and love for the least of these... And be encouraged too, that in my short experience, often the hardest challenges (ignoring, etc.) provide the greatest growth and blessings! love you!

  4. Thank you SO MUCH for linking this heartfelt piece with the conversation going on at Q & A. YES, I get this. I get it. And I think you're wise to avoid reading what riles you. My husband has a reactive mechanism much like what you describe and I'm constantly trying to encourage him to just look away, to lower the panic switch. The flip side, as you so beautifully describe it, is a HUGE, compassionate, giving heart. The lifelong search, I think, is to find that place of peace-that-isn't-lethargy-or-apathy. Good on you for trying to find it. And also? For speaking out when it's needed. Because sometimes it just is.

  5. " I trust God and know I can go straight to the source of Him and His Word."
    yes, this. and what a blessings indeed!

  6. Brandee, thanks for sharing this bit of your journey with us. It's hard to know when to speak up and when entering the fray is useless, isn't it? I wish "I'm sorry I hurt you" was a more common sentiment.

  7. It's so hard when you're emotions are all tied up with your great cause, isn't it? Been there. I think your intentions are good. It's hard sometimes to have perfect delivery as what comes out of our mouths is not what we had imagined... or perhaps it is but we make it worse. Your honesty is refreshing! Keep seeking Him and He'll teach you exactly how to hear His Spirit before you speak. I know this firsthand as I've failed miserably but also obeyed! Still learning :)

  8. smiles....we are not much different in this...and i have had to learn over the years to temper my desire to confront and tell the truth....about 8 years ago the joke was i would walk into a room and my wife would trail behind me to pick up the bodies...ha....

  9. beautifully written! I have a mouth and an opinion and cant stand bullies either i suppose i start a lot of shit as well! I am trying to use silence more these days as my often works better and for the first time ever i am letting go of people and choosing those around me who know how to love! It's freeing! x