My thoughts today are not in a straight line. You’ll have to pay attention and, if you will, be a little more patient with my ramblings than usual.
So, what I’m thinking about is fear. And how I’m tired of it.
I’m tired of people telling me how awful things are – and hang on… they are only going to get worse.
I’m tired of words that separate us because of fear.
I’m tired of feeling “less than” or “less-holy,” “less-inspired” because I don’t see it the same way you do.
I’m tired of living on a tightrope.
I joke about the balance – how it’s my life word and how we will get through this “together.”
But I don’t feel like I’m together with very many people anymore. And I’m not sure how to make it all of us again.
I’m tired of being misunderstood.
I’m tired of wondering if I should say something or just shut up even though I know God loves me no matter what – and gave me a voice to speak love and truth.
I keep things hidden – I tell almost no one how I really feel about controversial issues. About how I don’t feel intense anguish about the same issues as other people I know pretty well.
But I do feel distant and angry when I witness how some people speak and act about those issues. And even more distant when it appears that demonizing and creating political fervor about intensely personal issues is more important than protecting the souls of those living with really tough decisions, holding those troubled hearts up in prayer.
And feeling that way about others feels dark. And ugly.
So I’ve been taking these things to Jesus on a pretty regular basis. I haven’t always felt super connected to Him, but this has been a couple of really good years.
I do, however, have some trouble hearing his voice the way many do. Hearing “words”. (Well, I think I did, once. I can remember exactly where I was when it happened. The conditions and words aren’t important, though – because I don’t think I really understood what He was telling me. And maybe that’s why He speaks to me differently.)
I am working on the practice of listening. And, good golly, Miss Molly, it ain’t easy. Sometimes, when I am stuck on a post or article or idea, I’ll lay my hands flat on my keyboard and just pray for help. I pray that I will get some guidance and wisdom beyond myself.
And then I might take a shower or clean the kitchen. I practice not letting my mind wander off, just clearing my mind from other thoughts and remaining open to God’s voice and peace.
I usually come back to my studio refreshed, at the very least, and ready to loosen anything that was stuck. And, usually, I find success. I find the words I need, or the focus for a post that seems scattered.
It’s not that I “hear” Him. I’m not suddenly inspired or awestruck by an idea. In fact, even at the most significant crossroads of my life, I don’t remember one time feeling that God had whispered in my ear. Even when I decided to retire, it wasn’t until I had a journal full of other people’s words and ideas and prompts and song lyrics that I knew – I just KNEW – those ideas were coming straight from God’s love.
I tried, again, to choreograph my life (read more about that here). I thought for sure I knew how this writing business was going to pan out. I was, again, dead wrong. Let’s just leave it at that.
So, my lovelies, I’m in listening and waiting mode again, waiting for signs of what’s next. But I’m not far from Him. And although I am just the slightest bit off balance about what is next for me – because I know it’s coming – I am not afraid. I’m curious, but not afraid.
I’m puzzled, but I’m not afraid.
I’m not sure Tim and I are ready for another rocking boat, but I’m not afraid.
I watch Audrey and Asher growing up in a violent and selfish world, but I’m not afraid.
I watch neighborhoods declining in economy and hope, but I’m not afraid.
I wonder how we are all going to weather the political and social storms that seem to be gaining strength and speed. But I’m not afraid.
Because here it is. Straight from the mouth of Jesus, “…in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
In fact, the Bible’s most frequent commandment is “Fear not.”
Jesus has overcome the world.
Please, stop telling me anything different.