Monday, July 29, 2013

Why I Love My Haters (and you should too!)

Today is national "Ignore a Hater Day" (at least, according to Jon Acuff).

So far, today, I haven't had any haters to ignore! (Although, that might be because they're all still in bed at 5:45 AM . . . )

Anyway, on this special day, I thought it would be appropriate to tell you why I love my haters. (But I'm still going to take Jon's advice and ignore them!)


Syllabification: (hat·er)
Pronunciation: /ˈhātər/
a person who criticizes, demeans, contradicts, and hates another person or entity.

One hater is all it takes. One person who always disagrees. Who always criticizes.

You know you have one.

They might as well be kryptonite. A comment from a hater darkens your sunshiny day. You see them on the street and your heart starts to race. You avoid them in person and online. But they seem to appear everywhere.

Sure, you have friends who tell you you're awesome. They like your statuses. They make cute comments on your photos. They send you encouraging notes. You might even have fans who follow you like the paparazzi and brighten your day by screaming "YOU ROCK!" at random intervals. (I wish I had some of those!)

You tell yourself, "Forget the haters! You have encouraging people in your life who validate your dreams!"

But your fans can't validate your dreams like your haters can.

Yes, you read that right.

Let me explain.

A friend from my #STARTwriters group recently got a nasty comment on her blog. She posted it in our Facebook group, and you know what we did? We celebrated! She's making enough of a difference to have haters. That's pretty awesome.

He said mean things and closed with "You're doomed." She responded, "You may be right!" And she left it at that.

That's even more awesome. She disarmed her hater.

The hater unknowingly validated her. She's making enough of a difference to have people who are uncomfortable with her success.

Warning: If you don't have haters, you may not be making a difference.

Jesus said to love your enemies (Matt. 5:44), and Paul quoted this proverb in Romans 12 (which means two smart people both thought it was a good idea!):

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. [22] In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22 (NIV)

I've always been cool with the whole "love your enemies" thing, even though it's hard sometimes. I used to think, "Well, Jesus says love the haters, so I guess I should."

But I've recently come to think it's a REALLY AWESOME IDEA!

I'm starting to love--and even LIKE--my haters, because they tell me that I'm taking a stance.

I did horrible on the SAT Essay, even though my grammar and structure were excellent. Why? Because I was trying to be a people pleaser. I wanted to show how both choices could be the right answer. (Ironically, the topic was "Is it Good to Compromise?" I should have gotten bonus points for that irony!) I took both sides of the issue instead of taking a stance and arguing for it with gusto.

No one ever changed the world that way. (And no one ever got a perfect SAT score that way either.)

I'm not telling you to stir up trouble. I'm saying: "Let's challenge the status quo!"

We are called to be peacemakers and to "live in peace with everyone" "as far as it depends on you." (Heb. 12:14, Rom. 12:18).

But Jesus clearly said we would have haters if we were following him:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  John 15:18-19 (NIV)

Dare to gain some haters.  

Do a chair dance when you get your first one. (Woot, woot, I'm making a difference!)

And then surprise their socks off by loving them in return, or--if they're particularly trollish or antagonistic--simply pull a Jon Acuff Hater Response. It goes something like this: "            ."

That's right. Blank space. It drives them crazy every time.

Finally, remember: You are loved. You are valued. And your worth is never determined by people, whether fans, friends, or haters.

Go shine!

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

More on haters from Jon Acuff: 2 Questions that Make 99% of All Haters Invisible

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Should Quit Being a Writer

I'm a writer. 

I probably always have been.

I've been a writer since I got my first Lisa Frank journal and wrote about my giga pet (throwback alert!) in big, sloppy, purple letters.

I've been a writer since Y2K, when I heard a parody of the YMCA song that told people how to prepare for "doomsday," and I decided to write my own book to advise people about what to do, including putting lots of money in the bank so they wouldn't have to worry about losing it. (Hey, I didn't say it was GOOD advice . . . )

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Zimmerman Verdict: Two Facebook Posts that Actually Got it Right

I have nothing to say about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.

Yesterday I saw my newsfeed blown up with posts about the Zimmerman trial. I considered weighing in, but I realized I couldn’t add anything new–everyone else has already had too much to say.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Victory at Jericho, Defeat at Ai

Most people know the story of Jericho. The sending of the spies. The marching around the walls. The seventh day, the battle cry, and the thunderous sound of crumbling stone as the fortified city turned to rubble before the Israelites’ eyes.

But not as many people know the story of Ai. It happened quite differently.

Of course, it started out in much the same way as the battle of Jericho. Just like before, Joshua sent spies to scope out the city’s strengths and weaknesses. They came back with a favorable report. The people went out to battle.

But something went terribly wrong this time.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Lies My Treadmill Told Me

I hate running. 

It’s not that I’m bad at it, per se. I ran a 5K (3.1 miles) last summer. I was actually invited to be on the cross-country team for my former college. I even ran a couple of miles just last week.

But still I hate running.

If there’s anything I dislike more than running, it’s running on hills. My legs get weak, I can’t breathe, and it feels like that hill is only getting bigger with every step I take. “Who is moving the top farther away?” I scream. Or, at least I would scream that, if I had any air to spare for my vocal cords. Unfortunately, when you live in upstate New York, there aren’t many places to run that don’t have hills. My road even has “Hill” in its name—case in point!