Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fear Is One Of The Greatest Barriers To Coming Alive

Fear is one of the greatest barriers to coming alive.  It’s not fear of evil or being scared of big bugs that show up in your bathroom uninvited.  Fear of the mundane is a great obstacle that we must overcome.  It’s an aggregate of little things like not telling your boss what you think of an idea because of the imagined consequences.  It’s the not blogging about an issue because of backlash or not preaching a message because people may leave your church-in droves.  Every one of those decisions keeps us stuck in the grayness of not living.

There’s a call to wisdom involved in the process.  It’s going to take some inner fortitude to choose truth and life over status-quo.  There are people that have enough spine to do it and they do it Type A style.  They leave a trail of dead bodies in their wake as they live a life of coming alive.  I’m not so sure that is worth the trade-off.  I prefer living bodies and encouraged people. I’ve got to have somebody in my corner.  I start with God saying, “Perfect love casts out fear.”  I don’t know all that means but I know He’s in my corner.  My wife’s in my corner too.  She gives me encouragement to be alive, and, she let’s me know if I’m going Type A rather than walking in grace and truth.

Have you ever thought about that Thoreau quote, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away?”  The man’s companions are keeping up a routine pace; same, same, over-and-over, same, same, over and over….That’s what we’re up against.  There are few that will come alongside us when we choose life.  Few will salute, many will slander and insult.  Naïveté is sometime a good thing but on some end you must know that fear is the companion of most mankind.  Choosing fullness over fear will not make you popular but it will make you come alive. 

Monday, June 09, 2014

Barren Exposure and Deep Healing

I felt cold in a place that is usually protected from air, from cold and from exposure.  I thought, “Oh, no.”  My pants had ripped.  It is unnerving to be exposed.  A hole in one’s crotch may go unnoticed by others but I felt unsafe, undressed and unprotected.  I wasn’t naked yet I felt that way.  We prefer protected and private lives.  Being open and exposed opens one up to benefits and downfalls.

James tells the church to “confess your sins to one another.”  To which we respond, “What?”  The movie’s hardly begun and James has the main man handicapped with imperfection.  I know that’s not the self I choose to project; the fallen, imperfect, not-at-all-together self.  No!  I want you to see the perfect self.  Heck, I want to be the perfect person.  Instead my mistakes and dark-hearted failures flicker against my movie screen mind in an ever running film.  James is adamant though; we are a sinful people and we must confess them.  To God, right?  Yes but also to one another.

If you do this, says James, healing will come.  That’s the hook, the hope for a happy ending.  The process calls me to be vulnerable.  I scream out—that’s not me.  I want safe.  I want protected.  I feel the cold air and it frightens me.  I sense that the hero must suffer.  The treasure’s stored in a vessel that must be cracked to get at the gold. 

I located some duct tape and made a weak patch for my pants.  I spent the day guarded.  I made small moves and didn’t bend.  Yet God tells us that it’s in our laying open that healing begins.  Now we make small moves toward openness.  We seek solid safe relationships and we share life; grainy, stop-and-start lives on a messy screen.  We put it out there trusting that this isn’t going to be a one act, one-fix thing.  We’re in it for the long haul.  We’re shooting for healing, trust and openness not some temporary fix that keeps us cowering in the dark.