On Changing Your Mind

In the contentious presidential election of 2004, John Kerry was dubbed “The Flip Flopper” by George W. Bush’s campaign. After Kerry made numerous contradictory statements about subjects like Iraq, the war on terror, and economic policies, he was painted as someone who couldn’t make up his mind or decide where he stood on important issues. The nick-name stuck. Comedians used it as content during their late night show monologues, Bush supporters showed up to rallies dressed as the summer footwear, and you could even play an online video boxing game-- Kerry vs. Kerry. It made him seem weak, indecisive, and ultimately contributed to the demise of his campaign. This, of course, was not the first or last time this tactic would be used. We would see it later when both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would shift their views on things like gay marriage and the Iraq war.

While we can talk all day about the morality of politicians changing their minds and the possible ulterior motives of switching sides on an issue, I think that besides John Kerry’s failed Presidential bid, there is another casualty of this flip-flop rhetoric.

People are afraid to change their minds.

Most of us are taught from a young age that it is important to know where you stand on an array of subjects ranging from politics to religion to college football, and of course the more important issues like whether you prefer Coke or Pepsi.

Having strong, anchored opinions is not a bad thing. In fact, it is an integral part of our inner lives. Our opinions and beliefs about things shape the rest of our lives. They influence which churches we go to, who we vote for, and the businesses we support with our money. But when we set these opinions in stone and place them upon our shelves as a representative of who we are, we enter into potentially dangerous territory; because stone can easily become an idol.

My husband often says that we should be able to remember the last time we changed our mind about something. I think he’s right.

Evaluating our opinions and being open to shifting them is a sign that we are paying attention. It signifies that we are intentional enough to take in the information, read the statistics, listen to the stories and let those things shape what we believe.

I spend a lot of my time talking to people about gun violence and what can be done to solve the crisis that we are currently living in. This is one of those issues where I find that the opinions are deeply ingrained in the core being of a person. It’s not surprising. It is the definition of a “hot button issue”. And yet, it is critically important that people be willing to reevaluate here.

I used to be staunchly pro-second amendment, even after I was wounded in a shooting. I spent three years studying, learning, and listening before I started speaking out and advocating for common sense gun reform. I changed my mind.

What I have learned throughout my conversations with people, is that people are scared to change their minds. Because our opinions and beliefs help to form who we are, when they start to shift, we start to feel out of control. We feel we lose sight of who we are. We think back on all the time we spent defending and upholding our viewpoints, and we wonder what it was all for, and who we will be if it changes.

But you are still you. You are just changing.

Changing our minds does not make us weak, indecisive, or untrustworthy. Being willing to evaluate, and ultimately change our opinions shows we are thoughtful, wise, and aware of the world.

Maya Angelou famously said “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

I think the same can be said for our opinions. Hold them close until you discover new knowledge, new research, new stories. Then when you know better-- change, shift, and do better.

We paint those who change their minds as flip-floppers, as unsteady, uncertain, and manipulative. But maybe they just discovered that they could do better. And maybe instead of punishing, we should be encouraging people to follow suit.

Be open. Pay attention.

It’s okay to change your mind.

Master List of Podcast Recommendations

Recently on my instagram account, I shared about a new app I have found called Podcoin! Podcoin is a podcast listening app that allows you to earn points for every 10 minutes of podcasts that you listen to. You can then redeem your points for gift cards to places like Target, Amazon, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc. You can also choose to donate your points to charities for things like animal rescues, global warning, books for kids, etc. It’s a really great app, you should definitely check it out.

A few people messaged me to ask for podcast recommendations, so I decided to make a master list here of all the ones I regularly listen to, or have enjoyed in the past. I hope this is helpful for you, and that you find something that you enjoy.

If you have never listened to a podcast before, no fear! Here are some detailed instructions on how to search for and download podcasts.

I’ve tried to put them into categories as best I could, but a handful of them could definitely go in a few different ones. Also, I linked all of them below. So please click on the links even if you don’t need to because it took a very long time.

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True Crime

Crime Writers On (This podcast reviews true crime media and this is where I get a lot of recommendations for what to listen to!)

Criminal (Stand alone episodes)

Accused (Season One and Two)

In the Dark (Season One and Two)

Dirty John

True Crime Obsessed

The Shrink Next Door

Slow Burn

Gladiator

Dr. Death

White Lies

These are Their Stories: The Law & Order Podcast

Serial (Seasons 1 & 3, Season 2 is trash).

Educational/Topical

30 for 30 Podcasts (By ESPN)

Revisionist History

Freakonomics

On Being with Krista Tippett

Against the Rules with Michael Lewis

The Impact

Lifestyle

The Lazy Genius Podcast

Sorta Awesome

The Next Right Thing

For the Love with Jen Hatmaker

The Enneagram Journey

What Should I Read Next?

Religious

The Bible Binge

Risen Motherhood

That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey

Political

Embedded (Season one is my favorite & not particularly political)

Pantsuit Politics

The West Wing Weekly (Literally just recaps of West Wing episodes)

Daily News

The Daily (Released every morning by The New York Times)

Up First (Daily News podcast by NPR)

Funny

The Popcast with Knox and Jamie

Deck the Hallmark (They recap Hallmark Christmas movies! All year round!)

Wonderful!

My Brother, My Brother, and Me

General Storytelling

This American Life

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I hope you find something you enjoy from my list! What are your favorites? Anything I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!

Welcome Back

I’m back. And I’m so thankful.

Back in 2017, I took a hiatus from blogging. This has been my longest break ever since starting my first blog in 2009. I didn’t want to do it, but along with some external factors that made it the best decision, I knew God was telling me it was a waiting season— a time for listening and learning. He wasn’t wrong. Along with his nudging me to wait, He also promised I would return to this work. I didn’t know when.

Well, when is now. I wish the when had been back before I had a tiny newborn baby and wasn’t exhausted all the time and trying to write during 5 minute nap times and typing away on my phone in the middle of the night when the baby woke up and I can’t fall back asleep. But isn’t that the way? God’s timing is often different than our own, but always best.

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So you’ll notice a new website & a new set-up. It’s pretty simple— very few bells and whistles. But because I’ve designed a handful of websites, I knew if I didn’t do it this way I would spend hours and hours perfecting it and adding way too many unnecessary things and I would never hit publish. So simple it is.

I hope you’ll take a look around and visit the About page and the Connect page. You can also view the As Seen In page to check out the most recent project I’ve been working on. That page is also a bit of a step of faith. Hopefully someday there will be lots of places you’ve seen my writing— but if not, if it’s only here on this site and my other social media pages, that is perfectly great too.

I don’t know exactly what this blogging life looks like now with a little guy around who needs me 24 hour a day. I have no idea how frequently I’ll post or anything like that. I just know that I needed a space again to write and to share and connect with you when I feel led to. It may be months until I post again, though I hope that will not be the case. Hopefully that’s okay with you. The good part is that I’m completely not averse to failure. I love trying things and I’m just not that concerned with whether or not they’ll work out. (FYI, this makes me completely immune to accountability. I have no idea what this says about me.)

So dear readers, welcome back. I am so happy you’re here with me. Let’s do it.