October 9, 2018

DAY NINE - 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


The Dangers and Downfall of Ascribing Intent...

Yesterday we talked about Jumping to Conclusions and this is very similar, and I think most of us do this without even really being aware of the fact that we are doing it! Which makes it tricky to stop... but once we are mindful of it, well --as I said on Monday, 'There's a chance!'

Ascribing Intent... 
  what does that even mean?

It means that we take everything personally... or more accurately, we take everything as a personal attack or slight or offense. It means assuming actions or comments were made with an attitude or rudeness on purpose, when in reality most often they were completely unintentional!

Ascribing Intent is when we make up an entire story due to something that has happened to us or around us and somehow we make it all about us.

That guy who cut in and stole your parking spot... 
  (Who does he think he is? Why is HE so important?)

Your boss who walked right by you at the store and didn't say hello... 
  (He looked mad, too! I'm probably in trouble. He's going to fire me, I just know it!)

Your friend who is not responding to your texts...
  (I wonder what I did? She never tells me why she's mad... she just ignores me until I apologize!)

The new neighbor who never seems to be friendly...
  (I wave and say Hello and it's like he can't even fake a smile and pretend to be neighborly?!)

The lady who was helped before you, when clearly you had been there first and was waiting longer...
  (Why did the saleslady help her first? What... do I not look like I have enough money to shop here? Am I not good enough? And why didn't the woman point to me and let me go first! She knew I'd been waiting here for help!)

See? It's SUPER easy to let our minds be creative and make up stories that ascribe intent.  Somehow, though, all the stories cast us in the starring role as the victim! We are always the ones being wronged and it feels like it is always intentional.

Now, in our rational minds, we know this can't ALWAYS be the case... but the storytelling is so immediate and reactionary that it is hard to realize how often we do it!

But here's what we don't know:

That guy and the parking spot?
  He was running late to pick up his daughter from her first day at work... he promised to be on time. Oh, and for real --he didn't even see you!

Your boss at the store? 
  He was mad --but not at you! This was his second trip to the same store because the first time he had gotten the wrong thing. He maybe should have said hello, but he was in a bad mood and he doesn't like to interact with employees when he's grumpy. 

Your friend?
  She's not ignoring you.  Her phone broke... it's killing her that she doesn't remember any of her friends' numbers herself and she can't get on social media while at work!

That new neighbor?
  Honestly, he moved because he is downsizing now that his wife passed away after a long battle with cancer. He can barely function due to grief and loneliness.  He is remembering how neighbors used to come to the door and welcome people to the neighborhood when he was a kid and wishing someone would do that now. 

The two women at the Mall?
  The saleslady was exhausted and almost done with her work day. Her mind was already going through her To Do List when she gets home and she was wondering what she was going to put on the table for dinner when a frantic looking woman approached her.  She just wanted to avoid any drama for the last 5 minutes of her shift! And the 'frantic looking woman' thought you were still browsing and she knew exactly what she needed, but her size was not on the floor and the sale ends today!

How often do we use our imagination to paint negative pictures or create offenses out of nothing at all? 

I believe this is what the Bible refers to as 'vain imaginations' and we are called to do with these? In 2 Cor 10:5 in The Passion Translation, it reads like this:
"We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One."
Deceptive fantasy, vain imaginations, arrogant attitudes... our thoughts run wild and we become like prisoners of war, but it doesn't HAVE to be this way!

We first must take notice,
   ...and then we take action!

To stop ascribing intent, we must first notice that we are even doing it! The more we notice, the more we realize what we are doing... and the more we realize what is happening, the easier it becomes to cast them down and take authority over our thought-life!

And if you are going to ascribe intent, why not use that imagination positively instead of negatively? This is what it means to extend grace and to truly Become Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt!

Stop by tomorrow and we will talk a bit about Empathy and Sympathy!

Today is Day Nine of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt! If you missed the kick-off and official 'Homepage' for this series, you can go HERE and catch up! You will find links for each days' postings, added daily throughout the month. If you'd prefer to have them delivered right to you, I invite you to enter your email address to the right ('Subscribe Here') and subscribe to the blog. That way, once a week, each post is delivered to your inbox in a single email over the weekend and you'll be sure not to miss a thing!


  1. Ah!!! The gift of perspective is so important. Experienced it personally at a much earlier hour this morning. Love your post today! These truth can transform our morning and the rest of the day. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much, Karen! Thanks for reading... so glad it was one of those timely confirmations!

  2. It's so easy to jump conclusions but it's so much better when we take the time to really learn what's going on etc. I'm loving the Passion translation.

    1. Amen... better - but seldom easier, right? And yet... ;) Thanks, friend!


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