If one were to stop and think about the world we live in and all that is going on in it, then he or she would see that it’s a pretty messed up place. It’s so messed up that you will find that people no longer live by their convictions. What you will find instead is people doing whatever they deem seems “right in their own eyes”. It was so long ago that I can really recall standing by my convictions.
When I was in high school I will never forget the lesson that I learned regarding the message: Stand up for what you believe to be true and important. During the time, I was fortunate enough to be taking a college preparatory writing class for college credit. The teacher asked us as a final writing project to write a persuasive essay on anything that we wanted. I was excited and eager to write about something that was important and that really mattered to me. I chose, therefore, to write about a topic that I later would discover was a dissenting opinion when I wrote about the don’ts of school dress codes and how it was being targeted towards ethnic backgrounds. I took a look specifically at cultural head wraps and how there was no validity as to why they could not be worn in school. To support my research, I chose to do a school survey on the topic. By the end of the day what began as a school survey got to the school administration that it was a petition. Because of the so called petition, I had my presidency of the Diversity Club taken away from me and unfortunately when I lost my presidency the club was also dissolved, which left all the participants of the program who were also my friends very angry and confused. My friends were so angry that they did not know who else to take out their frustration on but me. Many chose for this reason to not be my friend anymore. How can an innocent survey for an academic project have such risk I kept thinking to myself? Although I was very hurt and stressed at the time, I stood by my convictions and finished writing that persuasive paper even after all the ramifications that came from it.
I share all that to say it is funny how the younger Gessie was so fearless and could stand up for what I believed to be important. I am not quite certain when the shift happens but I find it somewhat challenging to stand by my convictions in my 30’s. I am constantly reevaluating what battles are worth the fight, which values and beliefs are worth some sacrifice and trying to figure out how best I can stand up for them.
The question becomes, “who is willing to take the risk?” Whether you are in the classroom, on the playground, or in the workforce there is some risk involved. If you are a student in the classroom you could be risking an incorrect answer; while on the playground you can run the risk of encountering a giant bully; and you could risk losing your job for questioning mistreatment of a fellow employee. It really, from these examples, becomes hard to do in the world. If we really stop and think about things from a grand scheme, we will see that there is always something at risk. Question becomes are you willing to take a risk because of something or someone you firmly believe is worth fighting for?
I know this may sound intimidating, but know that you are not alone. I want to offer a few ways in which one might stand by their convictions.
- Lift up your voice
Each and every one of us since birth was gifted with a voice. At every opportunity you should be using your voice to speak on behalf of what you believe to be true and of value to you. Write letters to your Congress Representative, attend and or speak up at a community forum, vote in elections both big and small.
- Money, money, money, money
Money, whether we like it or not, talks. We should be the stewards of what that money says by giving our money to an organization that does what we feel so strongly for. If you firmly believe that feeding the hungry is important, then consider giving to an organization whose mission is to feed the hungry.
- Your time
Did you know that how we spend our time mirrors what we value? Yep! So don’t underestimate the power that your time holds. Again if you care for the hungry think about volunteering or working for an organization that make it their business to address the problems surrounding hunger.
Who ever said standing up for your convictions would be easy was telling a bold face lie. Standing up for our convictions is difficult, but it is our calling as children of God. Will we fall short of that calling at times? Absolutely! But with each fall comes opportunities to reevaluate just what it is we hold to be true and worthy causes. As always I thank you for reading. Until next time, take care and be true!