As much as I enjoy inspirational material, for me it’s always more nourishing and valid when the author shares their own journey and the inherent stumbles along our shared path of learning and living.
I recall a story by author Marianne Williamson when she was immersed in studying the word of God, trying to think as He thinks, trying to see as He sees, during a vacation with her occasionally trying mother. She’d had an argument with her mom earlier in the day but was putting it out of her mind to enjoy a gorgeous European landmark. She did an inward prayer asking God to help her see with His eyes. At that moment, as she was looking around, she caught sight of her mom in the distance and realized that in no way was God looking at her mom and saying, “That Sophie is such a bitch!”
I laughed out loud when I read that, and then cried, as I often do when something strikes me as perfectly profound. That she could relax her judgment of her mother by really understanding what it means to see with eyes of God, helped me relax around my own mother. To not be attached to what I felt were her small-minded ways of viewing the world. I made a decision to just be with her, to not try and change or enlighten her, and instead to see if and when I could make her laugh. To know she may not like to do what I like to do, but that I could play cribbage with her because I liked it enough and I knew that she loved it. My last years with my mother were thankfully filled with laughs due to my appreciation of her wit, and minimal arguments due to my insistence on viewing her as God would see her. It helped.
A story without personal experiences and too much of ‘do this; don’t do that’ while possibly still helpful, just doesn’t resonate as much as those writers who share of themselves. If an article feels like a textbook stating, This Is The Way It Is, it makes me want to ask the author: Why are you sharing this? What is your intention? Where is your experience? What is your story?
When a writer feels driven to help readers by offering insights, it’s a highly worthy goal. Let’s take it one step further. I encourage all of us so driven to inspire others to include our own viewpoints, perhaps along with those mentors we admire. Involve our own stories next to theirs. Put it into context. Then we, as the reader, can enjoy feeling the experience along with you and more fully allow the learning in.
Remember ~ in a world where you can be anything ~ be yourself.