Tag Archives: Fear

Fear

How very much fear can rule our lives – and we are unaware. We calculate what we say, how we say it, to whom we say it. We fear losing the respect of others, or get caught up in what they think of us. We fear losing our position, our job, or a friend. As a result the light that we are is held back; our unique way of being and flavoring our world is diminished. Not to mention that fear is death dealing to the spirit.

I am saint and sinner. I fly to the heights and I sink to the depths – and both are my teachers. Although I write, preach, speak and sing I am by no means a guru and far from perfect – simply a fellow traveler, expressing what is within and trying to make sense of it all.

Be who you are.
Say what you believe.
And let the chips fall where they will.
At least you’ll be living!


Supernova

Like a dying star
Convulsing – trying to hold on
The heat – intense as gravity folds in on itself and energy ceases
Unable to escape the intensity – I collapse inward and finally explode

Will I fall into the inescapable darkness?

Or find myself thrust outward in a burst of creative energy
Forced and forged by this seeming death
Exploding into newness – Supernova my name?

Elements strong and bright
Silver and gold are forged in this heat
Gravity’s intense pressure – beauty’s unlikely birthplace


Stay Connected . . . And Do It!

When I am connected to my Source, taking the time to pray, meditate and read all of a sudden it seems that life begins to flow, take shape and my work is given wings. Life takes off. Conversely, when I am not connected, I am like a hampster in a cage that runs and runs and gets nowhere – fast.

“God is able to make every grace abundant for you.” (See 2Corinthians 9: 6-10).

I have of late been taking some risks. At times I have been frightened, but I have to believe that, if what I am doing is in the flow of Divine grace – God will provide – and provide ABUNDANTLY. The important thing is that I stay connected and then, just do it.


Coming Home

I haven’t written in a very long time, largely due to the fact that I’ve been in the midst of a very stressful process of selling my house and buying another.  In the midst of this drawn out upheaval I have felt very much off center.  In the midst of the mess of boxes and dust all around me my spirit had difficulty finding any sense of equilibrium.  Now that things are pretty much in place in the new house, I feel my spirit coming home.

Isn’t life like that sometimes?  The ultimate goal of spirit, faith, a path, is to be at center even in the midst of the mess.  I wish I could say that I was there, but I am not.  Ask any of those who were around me in this process and they will tell you the disjointed, different person I was. Yet, again, isn’t that so often the case with us?  That being said, life gets messy sometimes and our hearts seek home – a place of equilibrium – good “fung shui.”

No matter how disjointed I felt in the midst of this process though, I knew that at the end of the road home awaited.  I suppose that’s a good thing to remember in the midst of the messes that can befall us in life.  In the midst of it, no matter how disjointed we feel – know that in the end, home awaits.

Even as my spirit settles into this new physical space that I will call home, I am aware that on this side of life we live in a mess, disjointed, our hearts seeking equilibrium.  “Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee” said St. Augustine.  Our hearts so fear the end of this life.  Yet, I wonder if, when being born into the next life we will discover the ultimate place of equilibrium and our hearts will finally feel like we’ve come home?  That’s our hope.  And the good news is this, we can begin to taste eternal equilibrium now.


Sometimes It Takes A While

NOTE:  Again, I have to apologize that I am not consistent in writing for those who read my blog.  I am in the midst of a move and things are very busy.  You might want to consult one of my previous meditations in the mean time.  I hope that you find what I write here helpful and uplifting to your spirit! 

 

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I so wish I was one of those people who are always able to walk with a sense of peace in the knowledge that they will be taken care of, that it will all work out.  I confess to you that I am not.  When something comes up, be it financial, a concern for a friend, work or the world, my first reaction is to get all upset.  I oftentimes get down on myself for reacting this way.  Come on, after all, I’m a person of faith ain’t I??  Would a person of faith react this way?  Does anyone else feel this way?

 

I hope one day to grow into being one of those people who always walk with a sense of peace and trust.  It must be a wonderful way to live.  In the mean time though, I have to realize that it’s a process.  These times are good practice for me to grow into being that person.  I am given lessons, again and again, to trust when matters are out of my control – and it’s precisely this “practice” that will lead me to a greater sense of trust and freedom. 

 

So, if you’re like me and get down on yourself for not reacting in a better way, give yourself a break.  It’s a process.  The fact is, after a few days of fretting about this or that, I usually do surrender to trust and regain a sense of equilibrium.  Sometimes it just takes a while.


Does God Really Care About Religion?

I question myself more and more as to whether God really cares about religious structures and institutions at all.  Does God really care about all these humanly created laws?  Does God really care about how this or that Worship Service or Liturgy is done?  Does God really care about what kind of music is used?  Does God really care about restricting people from access to the Table?  Does God really care about not eating meat on the Fridays of Lent?  Does God really care whether food is kosher or not?  Does God really care about proving whether one was “actually” married or not through an annulment before getting married again?  Does God really care about barring gay people from marriage, anymore than God would care about eating shrimp (which nobody listens to in the first place, even though it’s listed in the “abominations” in Leviticus – not to mention a woman being put to death who cheats on her husband, conveniently with no mention as to what is to happen to the man!).  Does God really care about ANY of this? 

 

In the end, does any of this matter?  Some I have met who are into enforcing religious law are among the most judgmental, mean spirited people I have ever met.  Conversely, those who have had the law inflicted upon them and internalized it live with the most abject fear of their acceptability in the eyes of God that I have seen.  Indeed, isn’t it “sinful” to have instilled such fear in the hearts of these good people?  What is of greater importance?  Living the letter of religious law, or building people up by being a loving, self giving person? 

 

Yesterday in my church, we heard the story of the man born blind from John’s Gospel.  In the end, who was really blind?  Were the blind man and Jesus the “sinners,” as accused by the upright religious folk in the story; or was it the religious folk themselves, intent on the letter of the law?  I can only imagine that the spirit of evil rejoices when people get all caught up in religious law!  Ironic that those who are not caught up in it, those who do not abide by it, or those who question it are the very ones called “bad.”

 

What’s more important in life?  I believe that sometimes religious law serves only to blind us to what is really important in being a person of God. 


Are You Afraid?

I think of various people in my life and the fear that they carry.  I think of friends who are unemployed, dealing with family situations, fearing for their children’s future, trying to make ends meet, trying to support a partner who is depressed, a friend who battles panic disorder – somewhat brought on by the “fear of God” instilled in her as a child.  I think of those in far distant lands who daily live in fear for their lives – people in Iraq, Darfur and Zimbabwe.  I think too of the fear that I carry within me about my future and my job as a gay man in church ministry.  There is a lot of fear out there and a lot of fear within.  So how do we alleviate some of this fear?
Trust.

Do you know one of those people who, despite life’s circumstances, continue to trust that God will indeed take care of them?  I know of a man who has been unemployed for almost a year now, recently divorced, trying to care for his three children.  He is one of the happiest, most peaceful, self giving people I know.  I’m sure he has his moments, but in general he exudes a sense of peacefulness and trust.  Wouldn’t that be a great way to go through life?  After all, does all our worry make any difference at all?

If I am in fear, can I take a step in trust today and live a little more peacefully and positively, trusting that somehow things will work out?  Can I see God as a loving, good parent who wants the best for His/Her children?  Easier said than done I know.  Some days it might be easier and other days more difficult.  That’s ok.  But just a small step in trust might help us get on with life and what we need to do.  And really, wouldn’t that be a much better way to go through life?


Outside The Walls

Take a look at Jeremiah 18: 18-20 and Matthew 20: 17-28.

Two prophets, once hailed and sought after, now ridiculed and plotted against.

I remain amazed at those who have the courage to speak up and go against great powers that be. Not those who just spout off to spout off, but those prophets in our midst who speak out of a conviction that is born of love. I admire such love and the courage that it takes to finally speak out. I can only imagine the risk involved and the trust that somehow in the midst of it all, God will provide.

The movie “Milk” illustrates this well. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. It shows the journey of a prophet, the ups and downs, the fears and the triumphs, and ultimately . . . the price. It shows a man who, at 40 years old, feels he has done little in his life. It shows a man with a growing fire in his belly, wondering about himself, wondering about the injustice that he sees, until after a very long time of gestation, finally he speaks out and takes action. And in a few short years his life and the lives of thousands are transformed. . . . All because one day, one courageous day, his silence ended and he spoke out.

Do I have such courage? Do we? I wonder. I really wonder if most of us remain quiet about issues that really matter to us so as not to ruffle feathers, in order to keep a placid, yet lifeless peace? Of course, some of us have much at stake. Corporate whistle blowers loose their jobs, people are thrown out of churches, excommunicated, loose their families, gain the respect of some and loose the respect of some who they thought would always stand by their side. When things heated up and He got arrested, even the disciples ran and hid. “I tell you, I don’t even know the man!” said one of His closest – Peter.

I want the courage of the prophet. And, I don’t want it. Can I pay the price? Can I trust enough? I don’t know.


Paralyzed

Mark 2: 1-12

 

Did you ever feel paralyzed, emotionally, physically or spiritually?

Sometimes life is like that. We get stuck. Moving forward seems impossible. I have recently been in one of those paralyzed seasons of life. Can I believe that the same Power that set free, healed and raised to new life can, even now, do the same?

When I am paralyzed I am without energy. However, I must put one foot in front of another and keep moving. I may not “feel” like it, but I must keep moving. Oftentimes we may not “feel” like doing something, but there is Power in just taking one small step to do it anyway. Love is that way sometimes isn’t it? Work is that way. Life is that way. We may not feel like doing this or that; but it’s important to do it anyway. And in the taking of one small step, there can be contained a Power that lifts and heals and raises to new life. Sometimes it’s just a matter of moving, just taking a step.

What paralyzes you today? What keeps you from moving, from taking a step?

Sometimes fear keeps us from risking a step in life. We fear the unknown and so settle for a lifeless sense of comfort. Yet sometimes we are beckoned to take one step, just take a step, just one risk and see where the path might lead. We may find ourselves freed from the paralysis of our comfortable, secure life and born into an adventure that promises no security, but gives birth to a lived life.

Take a step today!


Relinquishing Fear

This morning I began looking through Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love:  Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, which a friend of mine gave me the other day.  In the introduction I think she has one of the best definitions of spirituality that I have seen:

“The spiritual journey is the relinquishment – or unlearning – of fear and the acceptance of love back in our hearts.” (p.xxii)

I think she gets to the heart of what it is to live a spiritual path.  What immediately came to my mind when I read this sentence was a time in my life when I was really struggling.  I felt trapped and saw no way out.   All I saw was the downward spiral that I was in.  One day I knelt and prayed that I would somehow be freed, and even as I prayed I had little faith that this darkness would pass.  Soon after, however, I began to have more and more thoughts of what life would be like outside of this spiral.  This is what I began concentrating on and soon after, I found myself moving beyond fear to freedom.

It was only when my thoughts of fear were replaced with exciting thoughts of a new life, that I began to move to a new place of freedom.  Fear was replaced with possibility.  This is such a good reminder to me when I find myself struggling with whatever issue.  If I stay with thoughts of fear, I will remain trapped.  But if I place before my eyes a vision of what can be, a Power greater than myself will begin to move me in that direction.

Perhaps today, instead of worrying, instead of fretting over something in our lives, we might replace those thoughts with a vision of freedom, keep our focus there and see what happens.