Conjunction, junction, what’s your function.
Remember the old school house rock song?
I’m learning that certain conjunctions are incredibly important, and it’s changing the way I think.
I’m not sure about you, but something you should know about me is I’m an “or” and an “either” conjunction user.
I have a pretty strong personality and I usually will think in black and white terms. There are some definite strengths to it but I’m working through one of the weaknesses.
It’s my use of the conjunction “and”. Hear me out, because you might have the same issue, and it has a lot less to do with grammar than you’d think.
I had a very wise friend speak into me the other day and he asked a simple question. He said, “What if it wasn’t “either/or”, what if you started thinking in turns of “and”.
What does that mean practically? Well let’s say I hit a wall and feel like I’ve failed. My family, my job, myself. I tend to think; “Either it’s their fault or it’s my fault.”
Because of my struggles with confidence (I’ve written about those before) I tend to think the latter.
He challenged me to think in terms of “It was their fault AND my fault.”
For you it might look like “Either my political beliefs are right or my brother-in-law’s is”
What if you said “and”?
He’s probably right about some AND you’re probably right about some.
AND you both are probably wrong.
See I’m learning that it is very hard to force yourself out of your limited perspective.
“I’m either successful or I’m struggling.” “He’s either put together or he’s falling apart”
“I’m either inadequate or I’m competent.”
Sub out the word “and” for every “either/or” above. You get a much more grayscaled but also 3-D view of yourself and others.
See, if you looked around, you’d probably see the struggles you have are struggles others have as well.
The successes you have, when you take notice, you see others making as well.
I’m not arguing that we should be moralistically ungrounded. There’s right. There’s wrong. Absolutely.
My point is we tend to paint in broad strokes as a culture. We use “either/or” when often times the answer is “and”.
“I’m a conservative AND I still care about people different than me”
“I’m a liberal AND I believe in working hard and financial responsibility.”
“I struggle in areas AND those same struggles can help me understand my strengths.”
“My boss or job is unfair AND I can try harder.”
I don’t know where you need to switch out the conjunction but I know the function. It broadens your view. You realize that your perspective is not the only story being told, in fact, as a Christian, you learn to understand your story and the stories around you, all tell one story.