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Chaos, Social Justice, and Facing Fear in order to Seek God's Face

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.  Isaiah 26:3 A warning in advance-in...

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My son, your fear will make you strong…a lesson in faith and trust (or first feeling broken and then redeemed)

I am participating in the Writing Contest: Writers Crushing Doubt hosted by Positive Writer

            For God is not the author of confusion but of peace ... 
1 Corinthians 14:33 (NKJV)

My Beloved let me sleep late this morning. It is one of the many gifts he gives me...rest. I committed to resting my temple today, I promised my mother I would, and have mostly honored that agreement.

Tired. Nonetheless, I arose thankful to see another day. Feeling overwhelmed, off put by brutally cold weather, and in desperate need of an infilling, I thank God that I no longer fight this feeling. I have learned to embrace still and quiet rather than snapping (or worse) at people I love. So, once I stopped being petulant, I remembered that quiet, that stillness is one of my deepest aspirations. I have often prayed for just this…Lord, I desire quiet closeness with You.  

I have made peace with uneasiness, I have made peace with my fears.  Formerly on days like this, I’d wallow and then determine to power through. Wiser now, armed with family and friends who lift and encourage me, I sit quietly with doubt, with my discontent, even with my fear, letting it have its way, listening it its lessons. 

I am frequently afflicted with what I came to know as Jennifer Pastiloff’s  “the imminent fear.”
The imminent fear. Of drowning. Of people not surviving. Of what others think. Of breathing. Of living. Of dying. It’s everywhere, really. If you look. 
It’s as big as the ocean and beyond, and it will get you if you stop paying attention. 
Pay attention.
Listen: that is your breath. Listen: that is my breath. Listen: that is the wind.
Listen. This is your life.

When faced with fear, for me, there are only two options, fight or flight, and here’s a clue to my personality...

I don’t run.

The last few years have represented my embrace of the journey called Life through Fear. Hear my declaration. Be Afraid, fear is often is prudent, but NEVER Lose Faith. Never let doubt of any kind keep you from pursuing your dreams.

Yes, this feeling is that thing-my fear; your fear The imminent fear. But listen to me my son, when you are afraid…naming your fear steals its power. Your fear is biggest when you fail to call it by its name. And then there is the thing that Jennifer didn’t write, the thing that fills my soul, that draws me out of myself, not out of my stillness but away from my fear…
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace.

God is not the author of fear, but of peace. He created us for joy. He created us for praise. He created us to step out in faith, to walk towards God-sized dreams he planted deep within us. He created us to succeed. So, hear me, now and always, embrace the lesson, even when it’s hard. Accept with grace your imminent fear along with the resulting lesson in faith and in trust. Learn to focus upon the achievements just beyond your reach. At first you may feel afraid, you may even feel broken, but finally redeemed. You will succeed. 

Now, go change the world, wrapped in God’s and my love.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A lesson in compassion you might not be expecting…

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9(NIV)
Just this week, I challenged a group of online friends to share the ways they respond when people or things they say or do really piss them off. They offered a variety of wise answers; I am grateful for the company of people who challenge me to articulate my faith and consistently live my beliefs. They make me better.

I did not offer my answer there, but here it is. When I am offended, that offense has everything to do with me and nothing at all with the person who may have, intentionally or otherwise, committed it. I am learning compassion. 

My lesson is not a version of compassion I know, and likely not the one you are expecting. Compassion has been defined as “love in action.” According to one writer, “true compassion reaches out to all people.” When combined with empathy, or the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes, the result is acknowledging a shared human experience that includes grief, loss, fear, and heartache and modeling a way to respond to it that changes you, and may change the way the world responds to you. It is restorative. (Haggai, I remain eternally grateful to you for living in your purpose. #AmenSomebody)

I am changing the entire world, in 2 ways:
1. I behave differently.
2. The world responds to me differently because the same stimuli no longer garners the same response.

As if to confirm that I am walking my right path, a friend posted this on her FB timeline; it bubbled up in my newsfeed.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love,
dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.
Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.
Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on,
wear love.
It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”
Colossians 3:12-14 MSG

Compassion. According to the Word of God, it’s my “basic, all-purpose garment.” I’m going to pull out my pearls and some cute shoes, my big girl panties, and rock the look.

Thanks. TGBTG.

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