I used to think that being “open-minded” was such a desirable characteristic. I considered myself open-minded and now understand the root of why I wanted to be that way. Strong opinions and beliefs start controversial conversations, people laughing at you, yelling at you and maybe even disowning you as their friend or family member. Being a non-confrontational person, I wanted to stay away from that and just nod and say, “yes, I see your point.” That seemed to be the easier route – but was it the right one? No.
But while I considered myself open-minded, I admired those who possessed what many would call “closed-minded,” but what isn’t that at all. They are the non-swayers. They have educated themselves on topics and beliefs and thus, stand firm in their heart and their mind for what they believe or agree with.
This was actually one of the very first things I saw in my husband, and I drew to him like a moth to a flame. I wanted that – I did not want open-mindedness, I wanted to stand tall and stop swaying not only in my heart, but through everything I did.
Now, divorcing myself from being open-minded didn’t mean I was shutting off other viewpoints. I can understand, maybe even relate to other beliefs and opinions, but I wouldn’t sway. I could say, “I have been there and this is how I came to my perspective…” Or, “I appreciate your honesty in your beliefs, now this is what I believe…” You CAN AGREE TO DISAGREE.
My faith in God and many other opinions had a home in my heart for a long time, but never touched my tongue. Being so fearful of that rejection or controversy, I wouldn’t talk about it and would just nod in agreement with others. I see now, that did nothing but mislead so many into knowing who I really am.
I wasn’t making it easier on them by agreeing, I was making it harder.
Furthermore, I didn’t educate myself. How can anyone come to a firm opinion if they don’t look into it, get the facts and read all the viewpoints? So often do I hear, “I don’t agree,” but then don’t hear what that person agrees with or I am sure most of us know a few “strong believers” or “very opinionated” people who rant and rave saying, “I believe in (this),” but majority of their actions are completely contradicting.
In summary, dismiss this “open-minded” and “closed-minded” labels. All they say is that one person is nice to talk to and the other is hard to talk to, or one is so friendly and the other is totally judgmental. All wrong.
I encourage you to educate yourself and really search your heart for what you believe in. You can be strong without being casted out; you can be understanding without swaying your own beliefs; you can not agree with someone without being judgmental of them; and by all means, you can speak your heart and mind without being fearful because that fear is only an un-sureness of your own belief. If you are unsure, ask questions and again, educate yourself.
But also remember that standing strong in your beliefs and opinions does not mean pushing them down other people’s throats. If you stand for truth and what is right, then like me, the swaying will yearn to be strong like you just by your example.
And most of all, put on His armor every morning. “Let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” 1 Thes. 5:8
When there is a wind storm, it’s the trees that are weak in which sway and with a really big gust, fall and break. It’s the trees that have solid, grounded roots that stand tall and firm and while some branches may break, their core will remain.
…Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said.Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matt. 14: 27-33
“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matt. 10:39
this is my tree: as you see my roots begin with God and His word, which reflect all the other bigger and smaller choices, beliefs and opinions I stand for.