Returning to Trusting the Lord 101….

I’ve done it again!  The last time, I wasn’t trusting that the Lord would remember that I desire to be married and have a family if I don’t remind him every few minutes.  This time, it’s a bit different, but the result is still the same.

About six weeks ago, a friend, whose church is very small, asked me to teach Bible lessons to the children when the adults are having their home group. I thought about it for a couple of weeks.  I would like to say that I prayed and received an answer, but that’s not exactly what happened.  I may have mentioned before that I’m not a great pray-er and wait-for-answer-er.  In any case, I finally answered that I would teach the children.

The first time I’m supposed to teach them is tomorrow.  So, I’ve been pondering and pondering about what/how I can teach them, to make absolutely sure that they don’t stray from their faith when they are older.  I don’t want them to feel disillusioned with the faith of their childhood later in life.  Therefore, I’ve been trying to think of exactly what I need to say, in order to make absolutely sure that these children genuinely accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and don’t just follow along, because they are young.

RED FLAG of DISTRUST!

Do I have control over these kids’ salvation!?  No, I don’t.

Will God’s plans be thwarted, if I don’t say the perfect words?  Let’s go with “no” again.

I’ve heard several people talk about how we must hold our children (biological or heart children) with an open hand, in front of the Lord.  We have to trust that His will be done.  There are no guarantees that they won’t stray.  That they won’t all go to prison.  That they won’t stop going to church as soon as they start college – or earlier.  The Lord knows all of these things already.

I do know that I have a responsibility to teach them with care and make sure that they are hearing sound doctrine.  However, what they do with it is out of my hands.  Fortunately, these kids’ families are pretty strong Christians.  Plus, the children have regularly attended Sunday School at another church for quite a while.  So, I’m not starting with a blank slate.

Please pray for me and the children.  I think I have found the lesson that I would like to teach.  I just did that in the fifteen minutes between writing the previous two sentences.

This is all in God’s hand.  May I be humble and obedient while teaching His truth to these sweet, little ones.

Like a Screaming Kid at the Store

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

I spend a lot of time with people from a culture where saving face and not offending or inconveniencing others are the most important things a person do. How many times has someone told me, “I have to buy that for her, or she will cry,” or something very similar.

Though I don’t have children of my own, I did grow up in a culture where parents don’t necessarily bow to the children’s wishes. So, I often mention to these other parents that if the child knows that she must only cry, in order to change the answer from no to yes, she will do that for everything.

(I don’t want to get into whether or not I should offer unsolicited parenting advice. It is what it is, and I’m just using it as an illustration.)

Just a moment ago, I was reading another Christian blog. The blogger was writing about the Gospel message and its sufficiency in a believer’s life.

It is no secret that I deeply desire to be married, and feel very disappointed that I will be 40 in less than three months, but still single. Though I will not sin in order to have a relationship or to get married, I am concerned over the idea that marriage may be more important to me than my relationship with the Lord.

The blogger also cited the verse above about God being the one who gives us all comfort. This made me pause a moment. I had to consider whether I turn to God in my disappointment over still being single.

Do I turn to Him and allow Him to comfort me, just because of who He is?

Or will I only be comforted by Him, when (or if) He answers my prayers for a husband with a yes?

Like the child in the store, will I just scream until I get what I want? Or will I calm down and trust what my Heavenly Father has in store for my life? Up until now, I think I’ve mostly just been screaming.

Don’t get me wrong: my desire to be married to a godly man, with whom I can serve the Lord, has not diminished in the past 20 minutes. I do hope, however, to be able receive the comfort and love that He so freely gives me. I want to accept Him for who He is, not for what He can give me.

Post of December Past (see what I just did there?!)

If you’ve made it past my lame title for this post, thank you. Currently, I have two blogs. Really, I have more than two, but I want to keep them separate.

Anyway, I’m hoping to the two which fall under the username “Mi Pwin.” That would be this one and Mi Pwint.

(Don’t follow Mi Pwin, by the way! I don’t plan to really post there anymore!)

When I started that one a few years ago, it didn’t really have a specific target, like this one does. When I started this one, my target was very specific: my experiences as a Christian who is a Highly Sensitive Person.

Well…I’m ready to meet in the middle. I want to keep a focus on HSP, but also want to share some other topics: life, spiritual growth, the mess that runs through my head quite regularly.

Without further ado, I’d like to share a post from almost three years ago. This was from December 28, 2011. It’s interesting to read this and see what has changed, and be slightly disappointed over the things that haven’t, but really need to.

I was about to name this post “Slack-tacular,” but I realized that one of my other recent posts was called “Slacker.”  Don’t want to create such a negative trend, when I would like to become a more positive person!

So, Merry Christmas, fellow Pressers!!  I hope you enjoyed a refreshing time of reflecting on Emmanuel, God with us, in recent weeks.

It has been lovely, to have several days off – both before and after Christmas.  I should like to have more such vacations throughout the year.  The Europeans really get it right with their liberal amounts of vacation time.  I’ll bet people are so much more productive in their jobs.  I wouldn’t mind working long hours for a several days, then being off for 3 or 4 days.  With 2 days, you barely get time to catch your breath before it’s time to start getting back to work.  So, this current vacation has been all about catching up on the chores I don’t have time to do when I’m working.  It kind of makes me sad to think that the next time I’ll be able to clean really well again is when I have a vacation.  Or the next time I want to kill a weekend.

(I had no idea that this post would take this direction.)

As I gripe, I think of how the Lord gave us SIX days in which to do all of our work and ONE to rest.  So, technically, we get a good deal by having two, whole days to rest.  Man.  I guess I have to quit complaining now.

Lord, please give me the strength and energy to live the work-rest pattern that you have planned for me.  And the grace for when I mess it up anyway.  

In this New Year, I really want to focus outwardly much more than I usually have in the past.  That will require MUCH more energy than I currently possess on any given day.  Earlier, I’d asked the Lord to help me with my diet and change the types of foods I crave into healthier choices.  I should have post-dated that prayer till 2012.  I mean, come on, people: it’s Christmas!!  It’s cake, egg nog, cake, chocolate, cake, party time.  Did I mention cake?  I know that you can (and should) also make healthy choices when social gatherings abound.  Yeah, right.  Maybe by next Christmas, I’ll be so used to my amazing new healthy way of eating that this won’t even be an issue.

I did eat lots of fruits and veggies at a party today!  Yay! Then drank sweet tea with dinner.  Boo!

This will really be a baby-step type of deal.

For me, this isn’t an issue of losing weight.  It’s an issue of wanting better control of the mess and chemicals that go into my body.  I’m sure that all of those things counteract anything healthy I consume, which makes me sick more often than I’d like to be.  Also, it’s a matter of discipline.  I am somewhat of a slave to my taste buds.  The problem with that is that, well, we should only be slaves to Christ.  Also, if I get it into my mind that I want Wendy’s, pizza or whatever tasty treat, nothing else will do.  Especially not some boring stuff I whipped up at home.  (Not that everything I cook is boring…) And, while I’m pretty happy with my weight right now, I know that my metabolism has slowed down slightly, and will continue to do so as I get older.

So, yeah. This was supposed to have been a reflection on Christmas and an update on my wonderful (not really) adventures of the past couple of weeks.  I also had wanted to share my heart on some stuff.  Instead, you got – this.  That will come soon.

What I Want

I want to travel the world and live in different countries. I want to be unencumbered from stuff.

I want to have a lovely home. I want to decorate it and take care of it. I want to bake things and cook things. I want to host people in my home. And let people live here for a time, if they need to.

I want to blog professionally.

I want to teach English for a living.

I want to learn a particular language to a near-native proficiency level.

I want to learn every language that enters my ears.

I want many friends.

I want a few friends.

I want quiet.

I want lots of interaction.

Most of all, I want to be inside of God’s will for my life. There is no converse of that statement.

I just have no – NO – idea how all those other things will fit inside His pleasing and perfect will for my life.

Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

**This post was inspired by the thought that I would like to have a rolling pin. Then, I thought that I won’t need a rolling pin, if I move to another country.**

Closer to My Lord

Today, I started out feeling fairly good.  Then, that changed.  I just started feeling down and wanted to cry.  There was a reason, but I won’t get into it, because it truly wasn’t a reason to want to cry.

With about 40 minutes left before time to leave for work, I started to cook something for lunch.  I’m horrible at just throwing ingredients together and coming out with a delicious meal.  So, I knew that whatever I concocted today would stand a pretty good chance of missing the mark.

I tried to throw together a curry, using tomato paste – from a tube – and a spice mix someone shared with me.  At no point did my bootleg curry ever taste like any kind of curry, no matter how stuff I threw into it.  Oh, and my rice turned out a bit mushy.

With almost no time left, I packed up my lunch and prepared for the disappointment of eating it later.  This made me want to cry even more.

At that point I did two things:

1.  I just begged God to help me trust Him more.

2.  I texted a particularly encouraging Christian sister and asked her to pray for me.

Sure, these are two things that I do with some regularity, but today was different somehow.  When I cried out to God today, it came from a place of really knowing that He heard me and knowing that He would be my comfort.  I would like to think that’s where I always cry out from, but after today, I could tell it hasn’t been.

The friend whom I’d asked to pray for me is a person who, after a double surgery, is praising God and praying for another community member in the ICU.  She is an amazing encouragement to me for many reasons.  Facing another possible surgery, she says, “I know my Jesus has a plan for my life.”  She always says “my Jesus,” and I do believe that she treasures her relationship with Him.

This prompted me to think about the depth of my relationship with the Lord.  How much do I trust Him?  How much do I want Him more than anything else?

When I got to work, I  saw that I’d received a reply to an email I’d written earlier.  The person mentioned the word “idol” as it related to my view of marriage, not once, but three times.  This was slightly frustrating, because I’ve never really heard an understandable, practical definition of what it means to idolize something.  I’ve only heard, “an idol is something you want more than God.”  Oh, really?  Well, how am I supposed to know whether I want marriage more than God?

This is something I may discuss further at a later time.

Anyway, this idol thing caused me to just do a Google search for “How does one know if marriage is an idol?”  I did find more frustrating definitions, but I also saw some good ones.

As I was working, I just realized that my heart was wide open and full of worship for the Lord.  It’s been like that more often lately.  And it hasn’t been like,

“Okay, now…feel worshipful.  On three.  Go!”

Believe me, there are those times.

I wondered why my heart has been feeling so much more open and excited about the Lord.

This may seem silly, but I’m sure this is why:

I haven’t been on Facebook in almost a week.  Well, I’ve been on there twice, but for a very short time each time.  I’m not doing it as a spiritual exercise; or at least didn’t start out with that in mind.  It’s just that I’ve got a lot to figure out in my life right now.  When I get on Facebook, I get sucked in fairly easily.  Then, my mind gets over-stimulated from all of the information, and I feel like I don’t have the brain power for anything else that I want and need to accomplish.  So, I thought that logging out of Facebook and Instagram for a week or so would help me refocus my mental energy.

Even the night that I made this decision, I felt more calm somehow.  My brain didn’t feel like it was going 1,000 miles per minute.  Usually, when I decide not to use Facebook for a day, I still feel like I just really, really want to check it.  I haven’t been feeling like that these past few days.

Not being on Facebook has not fixed my life.  But it sure has added a level of peace that I didn’t at all expect!  In that peace, I’ve been able to sense and appreciate God’s presence and His love in new ways.

For me, this gives new meaning to:

Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10

And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.  1 Kings 11-12

God does call us to still ourselves at times.  I am the worst one of them all, when it comes to this.  But what joy and love have I found by finally making a decision to do so!

I Haven’t Been Trusting the Lord

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

26 Look at the birds of the [p]air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:26-27

I have been a Christian for 12 1/2 years.  I’ve known and understood the gospel message for most of my life, but it’s only been since about 2002 that I would consider myself to have been born again.  These past 12 1/2 years have seen me go through many ups and many downs.  

Growth, setback, doubting…trust…

Trust.

I thought I had been trusting the Lord.  I thought I had been leaning not on my own understanding and allowing him to make my paths straight.   I also thought I had been considering the birds in the air and the lilies in the field.  I thought I was seeking first God’s kingdom, and allowing other things to be added unto me.

I was wrong.

In some ways, I have trusted God. I’ve trusted God with my finances.  I’ve trusted Him with job situations.  I’ve trusted Him with difficult friendships.

But there has been one major area in which I’d been holding out.

Marriage.

I desire very much to be married.  I am nearing an age that some think it is too late for marriage.  Maybe not so much in these times, but certainly 30 or more years ago, I’d probably be considered an old maid by now.

I do not believe that I have put my life on hold while waiting for a man to rescue me.  Well-meaning people often warn against this.  It’s not the case for me.  I do have friends.  I go out when I have time.  I volunteer and am active in church.  My life is very full and quite blessed – in spite of any difficulties.

Still, the fact that I am still unmarried, while people half my age are getting married left and right, then having children (not always in that order), is a source of disappointment for me.  When will I meet the man I will marry?  Will it be before I am no longer able to have children of my own? The questions go on and on, as does the pain.

Obviously, this is something I think about quite a bit.  And therein lies my problem.  There is where the lack of trust comes in.

Do I trust the Lord to know and be concerned about the desires of my heart? Yes.

Do I know that he wants what is the very best for my sanctification and growth?  Of course.

Do I believe that He will give me a fulfilling life, whether single or married?  Definitely.

But…

Do I believe that the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, holy Lord of all creation will remember that I desire to be married, if I don’t worry about it constantly and remind Him about it every 30 minutes or so?

Well, no.

I haven’t been believing that.  So, I’ve been reminding him fairly regularly.  Lest the One who is the Alpha and Omega, who knows precisely how many hairs are on top of my head (and how many are white vs. how many are brown)…lest He forget that I’m still hoping for an earthly husband…I must remind him.  Often.  If I fail to do this, he might think I changed my mind and will completely alter his plans for my future.

When put like that, it seems pretty ridiculous, huh?  Yeah.  It does.

I am actually ashamed at what a low view I must have of my God, to think that he needs me to leave him Post-It Notes all over the place.  I repent in sackcloth and ashes.  Maybe not, but with a broken and contrite heart, I ask forgiveness for grossly underestimating God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and trustworthiness.

Attempting to act as God’s self-appointed, personal assistant is actually pretty tiring and burdensome.  What a relief to realize He doesn’t actually need me to act in that capacity!

So, hopefully, from here on out, I’ll trust and “allow” God to do His work.  I’ll stop trying to micromanage Him.  If, in fact, He does intend for me to be married in the future, I trust that he will continue orchestrating my life and the man’s life, in order for that to take place.

I will relinquish the personal assistant position and set about the work that He has called me to do:  To love Him with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength and to love my neighbor as myself.

31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But [s]seek first [t]His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:31-34

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and[a]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  Matthew 22:36-40

Forced to Write

I’m being forced to write this post.

By myself.

I think about writing every day. There are several topics I’d like to discuss; several ideas going around in my mind all the time.

But I don’t write.

Why not?

(Brace yourselves for a lame excuse.)

I’m tired. I’m so tired.

I work 5 hours per day; six on Fridays. How could I possibly be tired?

The vast majority of my time is spent locked away in a file room, where there is very little traffic. Except me. I’ve mentioned before that I could complete all of the requirements of my job for a week and not have to see or speak to another person.

When I do “sneak” out to get some human interaction, I feel lazy and guilty, because 9 times out of 10, it’s not work-related. Okay, maybe 7 times of out 10.

For this extrovert with ADD, sitting all alone and messing with files is really a mental drain. So, by the time I get home, I only have energy to zone out on Facebook or Pinterest. More lameness.

I’d actually had big plans to write this evening after work; but earlier in the day, I noticed that a job I’m looking at has been posted online. Plan changed. Gotta complete the application.

After working on the application, I sat for a while, thinking that I did not have the mental energy to write tonight. Yes, I was also visiting the above mentioned websites.

Just now, I was getting ready for bed. Then, the thought came:

Why don’t you just write? Just push through this so-called mental drain and just write something!

So, here I am. I’ve written. I’ve written about writing. I’ve written about not writing. But I’ve written.

I never realized how much I truly enjoy writing until I started this blog. And this is certainly not the first blog I’ve ever had. Perhaps it’s because the topic gives my scattered-all-around brain something to focus on. A central topic. This is usually a huge challenge, and my posts would end up like this:

Today, I woke up. Then, I ate some food. Then, I went to some places and did some things. And then, someone said something to me about something. I felt some way about it. Now, I’m at home again.

Not terribly compelling to read. Nor is it really something to look forward to writing.

I did it. I pushed through the “tired.”** And I’m so glad that I did. Now I know that I can do this. My brain doesn’t have to shut down as soon as I get home! And even if it feels shut down, I still need to eke something out.

My mind actually feels so much more clear now.

How do you motivate yourself when you want to – but don’t want to – write? Or do anything else?

**I probably should read this post when I don’t feel like working out, too. Let’s see how that works out…

Very Frustrated & Slightly Confused

I have no idea how it happened, but about an hour ago, I wrote a complete post about being an HSP and an extrovert.  Somehow, only half of that post got published.  So, if you read that post, you’ll realize that I never got into talking about how it’s affected me lately.  I did, actually.  You just can’t see it.

Secondly, I’m unable to create a link to another page, using my laptop.

It is far too late for me to be worried about this.

Ferguson, Missouri, “Kate and Allie,” and My Stomachache

These days, the hottest topic in national news must be the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Wilson:  a black youth murdered by a white police officer.  I am not here to deliver a verdict either way; but everyone must admit that this incident – along with many like it – has brought racial and socio-economic profiling to the forefront of everyone’s minds. 

In my mind, I am beyond whether or not Office Wilson shot this young man, simply because he was black.  I am beyond what type of aggressive or criminal behavior Michael Brown may have been displaying.  Do I believe that Michael Brown deserved to die?  Absolutely not.  I do pray that this case will be handled as objectively as possible (a long shot, at this point) and that justice will be served – whether this means that Wilson is found guilty or innocent.  

The thing that is disturbing me right now is the response I have seen.  I have seen so many people say things to the effect of, “Well, Michael Brown was a thug, with low hanging pants.  He robbed a store.  He rushed an officer.”  All of these things may be true, but I really, really need for us to stop using the word “thug.”  

I’m starting to think that the working definition for “thug,” is “black man, who is less than middle class and dresses in a hip-hop style.”  No need to educate me on the origins of low-hanging pants.  I already know.  My point is, not everyone who dresses like that is a criminal.  Like my brother.  He doesn’t wear low-hanging pants anymore, but he’s also not particularly clean cut.  This evening, I noticed a picture of him giving a peace sign, but like a “cool” peace sign.  I almost cried, thinking that this picture could be used in the future as proof that my brother is a lowlife thug.  Honestly, I’m about to cry right now.  I don’t agree with many aspects of my brother’s life, but I can tell you one thing:  he is not a thug or a criminal. 

Honestly, he may get a free pass, because he’s somewhat ethnically ambiguous.  I am, too, but he is more so.  

This evening, I was feeling very ill.  I will get to that in a moment.  

First, I want to mention an episode of “Kate and Allie,” a sitcom in the mid-80s about two white, middle-class, single moms sharing a brownstone in NYC.  I used to love that show!  There was an episode in which Allie was taking a taxi somewhere, and her purse got stolen.  She’s far from her destination, and she needs a fare to get home.  Eventually, it starts to rain, so her makeup and hair become messed up.  She starts more and more to resemble a crazy homeless woman, and is treated as such by the people whom she approaches for help.  If I remember correctly, this serves as a “don’t judge a book by its cover” reality check for Allie. 

So, back to tonight: 

I went to a home worship service with people from a different country.  The home was about a 15 minute drive from my home.  I enjoy their food, but sometimes, it does not agree with me well.  For some reason, I felt compelled to eat three full plates tonight.  Then, I started to get stomach cramps.  Time to go.  Silly me didn’t want to use the bathroom there, because it would be a sign that I couldn’t handle their food. 

So, I set off to my home.  I got about 100ft down the street, and my stomach started cramping.  Badly.  Then, there was nausea.  I thought, “if I can just make it to the nearest fast food restaurant.  

Negative. 

I made it as far as a friend’s house, which was about a two minute drive from where I’d just been.  I knocked on her door, then went back down before she could get to the door.  When she opened the door, I just said “bathroom, bathroom” and ran inside. 

May I delicately report that I have no more of that food left in my stomach as of this writing.  After a few trips back to her “bathroom, bathroom,” I sat down, completely drained.  By the way, there is no central air in her home, so I was sweating quite a bit when in the bathroom.  I probably remained at her house for another 30-45 minutes, and even fell asleep briefly.  When I woke up, I thought I felt well enough to make it home.  

I was wrong. 

I felt dizzy, nauseated and crampy again.  Really, I wanted to cry.  Fortunately, her home isn’t too far from the main strip of gas stations and fast food restaurants.  I pulled into the first gas station I saw.  It had bars on all of the doors and windows.  Pardon me for my own socio-economic profiling, but squealing in pain, I pulled right back out and drove a couple more blocks to a fast food place.  

Picture this:  

The restaurant is about to close.  In walks a thin, black woman, dizzy and almost doubled over in pain.  Hair is disheveled and sweaty, and there are traces of splashed vomit on her very casual outfit.  The cashier asks what she’d like to order.  All she can manage is a breathy, “I just need to use your bathroom.  Please.” Then, she hobbles to her destination. 

Could she be drunk? Could she be strung out?  

The town in which I live is largely low income and blue collar.  And there is, actually, incidence of drug and alcohol abuse and other irresponsible behavior that takes place here.  Therefore, those two are not at all far-fetched possibilities. 

When I felt ready to leave the restroom, I took a moment to straighten out my hair a little.  For their kindness, I decided that I should order something.  I also thought that would help me feel a little less dehydrated and dizzy for the remainder of my ride home. 

As I ordered, I felt the need, somehow, to explain to the cashier exactly what was going on with me.  He said, “Oh, I understand.  I eat food from that region of the world pretty often.”  Somehow, I felt the need to prove that I was neither drunk, nor strung out.  

I’m at home now, and have been for nearly two hours.  The cramping and nausea have subsided, but I still feel dizzy and weak.  

The physical pain is gone, but the questions still remain: 

What if I had been in a more affluent part of town?  

What if the only place open had been a finer dining establishment?  

What if the employees on duty hadn’t been two young, black men?  

Even being where I was, I half-way expected the police to be waiting for me when I emerged from the restroom.  If I’d have been in a different area, that half-way would have become fully. 

This is such a tough situation, because my demeanor tonight is often indicative of some sort of substance abuse or mental illness.  Similarly, Allie’s behavior and appearance on the show definitely resembled that of a homeless beggar.  

I genuinely wish I had an answer for how to discern with great accuracy whether a person is truly a threat to others or himself or not.  

Recently, I saw where a white man had tweeted something to the effect of, “I have to admit, I get nervous if I see a man board an airplane wearing a turban.”  

A Sikh Indian replied, “I have to admit, I get nervous if I see a white man enter a movie theater.” (reference the mass killing in the movie theater, or the universities, or the elementary schools…)  

So.  What are some NOT dead giveaways that a person is planning to harm you? 

1. He or she is black.

2. He or she is white.

3. He or she is wearing a clothing style that you don’t like, especially one that can be identified with hip-hop or country music culture.   

4. He or she appears to be “less than” middle class.  

5.  He or she appears to be “more than” middle class. 

I pray that we can all be more discerning and recognize real signs of danger; not based on skin color or social class.