This summer, I joined my husband for a trip to Lake Powell with his work. I’ve gone a few times with this company and always love it-it’s a highlight of the year for me (http://www.redmondinc.com). They believe in “Elevating the Human Experience” as their motto says-and I feel it when I’m there. The environment they try to promote is one of openness. One that inspires and brings about inner reflection. I always feel better for spending time with such great people. I sometimes find myself looking around and wonder how they could get a group of so many incredible people in one place-and wish I could always feel the way I feel there. Then I realize it’s the environment they’re creating-that brings out this feeling among the group. There are so many individuals that are serving and sharing-that are openly and honestly hoping to lift others. I can look around and care about everyone-some I haven’t even talked to yet, and others I’ve spent hours with. No walls, no worries. We talk, we share experiences, we learn from each other. This is a very open environment-and I want to package it up and take it with me.
I’m learning that openness can happen anywhere. It’s a state of heart and mind. I’m a fan of cultural experiences. I had one this summer that taught me to open up more-that even what I thought of as a “cultural experience” was limited. My husband and I went to watch a friend of his drive in a demolition derby. We sat in a group of people and I was sure we were the only ones that didn’t have a mullet, mow hawk or tattoo. I was feeling a little out of place, but felt calmed by the thought to just be myself and stay open. I watched this family in front of me-the wife of the driver we were cheering on. She was so sweet to watch as she doted on her family. I loved watching her take care of her little boys. There was something about her that touched my heart and lifted me. Then her husband came over during a break and I watched the two of them together. I felt such sweet feelings about this derby driver and his family and wished them happiness. And I walked away that night grateful that the Lord gave me this “cultural experience” and touched my heart in an unexpected way.
I’ve noticed how I can’t be judging while at the same time trying to stay open. Months back I mentioned an experience where I was sitting in line in traffic and watched a lady cut out of line. I watched her in annoyed judgment until she pulled off in front of the fire station and hopped in an ambulance to go save someone. This humbled me and reminded me that I just never know all the details. After I posted that, I thought about how it shouldn’t matter whether this woman was jumping in an ambulance or trying to get ahead of everyone so she could pull over and buy a purse…or a diet coke…or whatever. Seeing her in a heroic light doesn’t mean she’s now worthy of love and unworthy of judgment. It’s that I didn’t even need to judge her in the first place. No matter the scenario and all the evidence before me on whatever anyone does, I don’t need to judge. I’ve had many impressions lately to set aside judgment. When I’m about to visit with someone, read new information, walk into a mess that someone left behind, or finding myself in a situation that usually leaves me fearful-so many opportunities throughout the day. And I’m realizing how often I bring judgment with me. Yet I feel invited to leave judgment out of it-don’t prepare what you’re going to say to anyone. Don’t assume. Just follow the Spirit and see where the moment takes you. I’m reminded I’m not supposed to judge-discern yes, but judge no. These moments where I’m able to stay open and without judgment are AMAZING. These open moments remind me just how awesome people are-and how much more there is to learn from others.