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Thoughts on Stubbornness

Stand Your Ground . . . without Driving Yourself (and everyone else ) Crazy.

“But Eleazar stood his ground . . .”
II Samuel 23:10
A key to a ______ life is knowing when to stand your ground versus saying, “It’s no big deal.” (Help me fill in the blank.)

Kampala, Uganda is on edge. The U.S. government shared a warning of an impending “Westgate-style” attack in Uganda. We were in the city yesterday and the heightened security was evident everywhere. (The security guards with their wands were actually checking you!)

DeDe and I entered the Ugandan DMV. (Now that’s a whole another story). The guard said, “Sir, she can enter, but you cannot.”

I felt a moment of irritation, but happily it passed. I shrugged. “It’s no big deal.”
I returned to the Land Rover where I could keep an eye out for DeDe coming out.

This blog began taking shape. How many times in my life have I got upset about something that didn’t really matter, making a mountain out of a molehill.

Africa is a good teacher. She teaches you that most things we Westerners get upset about are “First World Problems.”
i.e. “No big deal” problems.
Let me be clear: there are plenty of things to stand your ground on.
There are mountains to die on.
There are situations when retreat is not an option.
Places a man (or woman) must stand up even if he or she is standing alone.

However, those occurrences don’t occur every day.
But those “no big deal” moments are part of daily life.
In Africa, many of the tests are when you are behind the wheel. It’s hard to describe the challenges of driving here. You’re driving on the “wrong side” of the road and sitting on the right hand of the vehicle. Motorcycles have no rules. Police love to stop any Mzungu.
Aggressive driving is the rule of the road.
Cars with UN or Government tags will run you off the road in a Nairobi moment.
But road rage is non-existent here. I’ve only had one driver shake a fist at me and he was another white guy. Go figure.

As DeDe and I face decisions (daily) on our work and time here, I’m reminded of the words of Jesus on standing your ground.

No one understood the difference between standing your ground and letting a slight go unanswered. In one of his numerous parables, Jesus quoted a land owner telling his servants, “Occupy till I come.”

As I continue this blog, we’ll discuss a church (no, two churches) named Occupy.
It’s a good word. Occupy. Has a great deal to do with standing your ground.

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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