Tag Archives: Fear

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.


The Price of Speaking Up

Jeremiah 20: 7-9
Matthew 16: 21-27

Sometimes the truth is a real pain in the ass!

Were you ever in a situation, perhaps in your church, job or in a political situation, or perhaps in your own family, where people were talking about something with which you passionately disagreed?  Or perhaps it was a friend of yours or your own partner who was doing something that was hurting him/herself or others.  You knew in your heart that you needed to say something, but were afraid of what the reaction would be.  Your heart began to pound as you gathered the courage to speak up.  And then you finally did.  Chances are, there were some people that did not like what you said.

The reality is, sometimes people are not going to like us if we speak up.  We see in the readings from Jeremiah and Matthew how Jeremiah and Jesus are hated for what they say.  I’m sure both were tempted to just put up and shut up.  Life would have probably been more peaceful, more tidey.  Yet somehow, when we don’t speak up, something inside of us dies.  A Word inside of us dies and a person or persons who might otherwise be lifted up to a new way of thinking and being, go on their way living half a life.

It’s important to remember that when prophets speak they don’t speak in anger.  They don’t just throw around negative energy.  They speak out of a place of love and concern.

Am I willing to let go my ego’s desire to be liked, in order that someone might hear a word of challenge that may help them?  Do I have the courage to speak the truth in love?


Speak Your Truth!

Matthew 10: 24-33

“As for you, every hair of your head has been counted; so do not be afraid of anything.  You are worth more than an entire flock of sparrows.”

We think we’re alone, but we’re not.  We are known and loved through and through and we are assured over and over that we have nothing to fear.  “Do not let them intimidate you!”  Again, when we speak our truth, sometimes we will feel intimidated.  People will react.  But there is a truth in us which will be a blessing to others!  Remember that!  “What I tell you in darkness, speak in the light.”

Someone needs our truth, our perspective on life.  Someone will be changed, comforted and blessed by it.  If we remain in the darkness for fear of what people will say, the blessing that we are remains in darkness and lifeless.  We are like a seed that does not take root; so much potential laying dormant.

Perhaps today we could practice speaking our truth in, not focusing on “what people might say,” but focusing instead on what a blessing our truth will be for others.  And remember, truth is always to be spoken in love.  Jesus’ early followers were indeed intimidated, harassed, and even killed for the truth they spoke.  But countless others were given new life by it.  Maybe if we focus on that, it will take some of the fear away.


Lifting Up Gay Spirits

Matthew 11: 25-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you.”

I will never forget the absolute relief that I felt the day I realized in my heart and in my bone marrow that I was created and loved by God as I was! That moment, sitting in a small chapel in St. Louis, praying Psalm 139 in the darkness, will be forever etched on my memory. “It was you who knit me together in my mother’s womb. . . . I thank you for the wonder of my being.”

I didn’t even realize how heavy the burden was. I didn’t realize the weight of fear that I carried on my back, having taken in messages that I was sick, sinful, an abomination and the like since childhood. What a horrible thing to do to a child! And that is what we all are, children. My burden was indeed heavy. And it saddens me that the same messages are still out there and that there continues to be many gay people walking around burdened, fearful and in terror of going to hell!

If you are one such person, know that you are not alone and that you are loved by God as you are. Look around. There are many people like you that are gay, happy and faith filled people. You CAN be gay AND have God in your life! After all, you are in God’s image. You are God’s Word spoken in time, as you are, with a mission. You are “fearfully, wonderfully made!”(Psalm 139)

I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful spiritual director when I was coming out, who walked me through a process that lead me to that day in the chapel in St. Louis. Many don’t have that good fortune. And if there’s any passion that I have in this life, it is to be a help in the same way to gay people that struggle today. If you are one such person I hope that you find my blog, as well as other resources that are available, a help in lifting the burden of fear from your shoulders and gift that gives you a new lease on life.

Whoever you are, gay or straight, we all carry heavy burdens in life at times. A Power Greater Than Ourselves CAN lift those burdens. And that Power works in many different ways. The Power works through the internet crossing boundaries of language and country to bring people together. That Power works through the silence, whispering a word of hope to our hearts. And that Power works through flesh and blood, through the comfort of a human being that can help lift our burdens and free us from our fear.

I pray that all those who visit this site – whoever you are and whatever your state in life – find here a word that lifts your hearts and helps you to know . . . you are not alone.


Be Not Afraid

Jeremiah 20: 10-13
Matthew 10: 26-33

There is so much to be afraid of.  Terrorism, fundamentalism, the economy, the future for our children.  Fear of being rejected, fear of being killed, fear of dying.  I think my biggest fear these days is the fear of dying with my music still inside me.

Wayne Dyer, in one of his talks (I can’t remember which one) said “don’t die with your music still inside you.”  All of us have a song inside that we are meant to sing.  Those of us whose “song” sounds a little different (or maybe a lot!) need some courage to sing the song in the midst of those who would want that song silenced.  In the Scripture readings of this past Sunday found in the common Lectionary, we are beckoned not to be afraid.  That is the theme that comes forth like waves on the ocean in this Liturgy . . .

Be not afraid.

Be not afraid.

Be not afraid.

Don’t die with your music still inside you.  Sing your song and in so doing live not in fear, but in courage and freedom.  But,  . . . . we MUST be willing to pay the price!!  That’s the key.  Like Jeremiah, those who have sung a different song have had to deal with much rejection.  But imagine what our world would be like without those who dream and without prophets who lay before us a vision of what might be beyond the seeming confines of “reality.”