An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat
Often, fear tells us there is something wrong that needs to be addressed or corrected. For example, I feared if I didn’t change my eating habits, my cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood glucose levels would continue to increase and I’d develop diabetes. Then I’d end up like my dad, who had a stroke and ultimately passed away. The message? Cut down on the processed foods and sugar, and exercise regularly. I did exactly that, and the fear I had that my poor health habits would threaten my health led to me making better choices and becoming healthier and stronger.
But often, we look at Fear as something to be conquered, something to be overcome. We look at Fear as something that can paralyze us. We fear not being good enough. We fear the past. We fear the future. We fear failure. And these fears can seem to be very real, especially if we play around with them in our minds.
I’ve done this. I’ve feared the past. I feared that my husband would be just like the men I allowed hurt me in my past, because, of course, all men are the same. And because of this fear, I treated him like he would hurt me as others did in my past by being defensive toward him.
I wanted to rid myself of Fear. After all, the most frequently stated admonition in the Bible is, “Do not fear.”
I found this to be a monumental task, and that if I spent time thinking about it, even imagining how I could rid myself of it, Fear became bigger.
But what if we looked at Fear as “an amazing act of the imagination,” instead of something that we conquer, says fiction writer Karen Thompson Walker in a TED Talk entitled “What Fear Can Teach Us”. What if we looked at our fears as stories?
Yes, stories. Stories with character, setting, and plot, with a beginning, middle, and ending.
According to Walker,
“…fears are…a kind of unintentional storytelling we’re all born knowing how to do.”
And don’t we tell the stories? In my own story, I’m the main character, of course. I see how stories have run their course in the past, and I’ve told my stories in ways consistent with how they’ve progressed in the past. In doing so, I’ve used my imagination as a breeding ground for my fears. I’ve wasted a lot of time doing that. And I can’t get the time back.
So why don’t I use my fears to tell different stories? I can come up with a different plot, definitely a different ending. My story doesn’t have to end up the way it’s always ended up. I can make different choices in my story. I can actually choose my actions and plot based on how I want my story to end.
So if I have a fear of not being good enough that, in the past, caused me to behave in ways that sabotaged my relationship, why not tell my story differently than in the past so that it ends well? In my narrative, I can imagine that I am worthy of having a great relationship. In the process of me using my imagination to tell a different story of my worth, I believe it. And then I make choices that contribute to that better relationship. I don’t sabotage my relationship the way I’ve done in the past because of the false story I’ve told about my worth in the past. I’ve now used my imagination in a positive way. According to Ed Finn in his article “The Spark of Imagination,”
“Imagination is a powerful tool for changing the world because it can simply rewrite reality as we perceive it.”
I can simply rewrite what I want my reality to be and change my own internal world, leading to a change in my external world, my relationship (or any other aspect of my life).
But essential to being able to tell better stories is to be able to read our fears. Is the fear real? Is the fear justified? If the fear is real, if it is justified, then I must take steps to address it.
But if, after reading or examining the fear, we determine that the “narrative” is “false evidence appearing real,” then we can rewrite our plot.
Prior to seeing Karen Thompson Walker’s TED talk, through much prayer and reflection, I’ve been able to change what I’ve imagined concerning my husband. I see my husband as the gift God gave me, instead of seeing him in the context of past relationships. As a result, our relationship has improved greatly.
But since I’ve begun writing this post, I’ve had the opportunity to address certain fears, and it really has been helpful to view them as narratives. Instead of reacting and operating on auto-pilot, I was intentional to think about how I wanted my story to end. I behaved differently, and situations didn’t escalate. It works!
What do you think about viewing your fears as stories? How would your situations resulting from fear turn out if you used your imagination to generate narratives that turned out well?
I have generally been a selfish person. Giving of myself has not been a trait I’ve taken to well in my life, at least not in intimate relationships. Sharing of myself, my true self, was not something I did because it exposed me in ways I didn’t want people to see.
So before Solomon became my husband, he met and courted that selfish woman. That selfish woman was okay with him if her needs and wants were being met. But here was the problem: I did not reciprocate meeting my husband’s needs, particularly his emotional needs.
Now you might say, “You surely didn’t love that man.”
To which I’d say, “Not true.” However, throughout my lifetime, I didn’t learn how to love in intimate relationships. Because I had been hurt so many times.
Let me rephrase that. I allowed myself to be hurt, many times because of my own foolishness.
No matter the source, whether through my own choices or someone’s choice to hurt me, I built a wall that became almost impenetrable. I felt I had to defend myself. Do things for myself. Protect myself. Be selfish. Who’s going to take care of me but me?
Needless to say, my marriage was full of clash. For many years. Because my husband would sacrifice for me, yet I would feel put out if I had to do the same for him. (This does not imply that my husband is a pushover by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, my husband is the strongest, wisest, most profound man I’ve ever known in my entire life.)
So it would appear that my selfishness should’ve helped my relationship, because after all, if I didn’t feel like helping and I did anyway, I wouldn’t be true to myself.
But it didn’t.
One of my husband’s greatest strengths is his ability to put the needs of others above his own, especially mine. Whenever I’ve needed something, he’s always been there for me, even when he has to sacrifice something important to him to make sure I have what I need. I’ve felt safe in those moments. And there have been many moments. However, I would often fall back in defense mode without thinking, allowing my autopilot responses to take over when I became angry or irritated.
I recently read something though, that I’ve started to adopt, and have reaped the benefits of doing so. Instead of thinking, “making small sacrifices for your partner when you don’t feel like it could be damaging your relationship,” I began thinking that if I do what my husband needs me to do, we’ll be better off. We’ll have more harmony. We’ll have more joy. We’ll enjoy each other much more. The love between us will grow. So I began to pay attention to little things he needed. Even when I didn’t want to do them.
And then I read a chapter in Og Mandino’s University of Success entitled, “How to Get People to Help You Succeed,” by Robert Conklin. Just so you know, it’s not about manipulating people into doing what you want. Robert’s premise behind the chapter is:
“To the degree you give others what they need, they will give you what you need.”
Needs are, as Robert Conklin says, different than wants, because wants can be fleeting. They are sometimes never satisfied. However,
“…needs are the deeper currents of one’s existence. They are meaningful, worthy, and not as capricious as wants.”
So what are some of the things people need in relationships? They need (this is not an all-inclusive list at all):
So meeting someone’s needs in a relationship goes beyond doing chores. If you look at it as merely doing a chore, and you don’t feel like doing it, sure, you’re going to feel like you’re imposed upon (at least I would, and have). But if you look at it as your spouse needs your support and cooperation in order to accomplish a goal, or to meet a deadline, or just to make life a little easier for him, then you go beyond the superficial, “This is my husband’s job. I shouldn’t have to do this.” You get to, “I’m helping him get to where he wants to go. I’m helping meet a need so he can do what God has called him to do.” And that, I believe, can help us get out of our selfish individualism. And that, in essence, can help us to get our own needs met as well. I know that when I am conscious of this principle, my relationship works better. I enjoy my husband much more. And he enjoys me more as well. I’m not saying I’ve got it all together, though. In fact, I still make missteps, and I feel guilty every time. But I pick myself back up, ready to discover how I can help meet my husband’s needs so he can grow and become more than he could become if I withhold my support, my cooperation, my recognition of him, my respect for him.
The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-4,
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
I think this is great advice for our relationships.
So can being more selfish be the key to a successful relationship? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I had a craving for some popcorn today. So I popped some.
If we’re popcorn eaters, it is probably fair to say that many of us would purchase microwave instead of regular popcorn. Why? The microwave variety is more convenient and takes less time to prepare. Just throw it in the microwave for approximately 2-4 minutes (or hit the popcorn button on your wave machine) and be done with it.
One day, I decided to buy a bag of regular kernel popcorn – the store brand, no less – to prepare for an at-home movie outing. It cost me less than two dollars. I prepared to pop the corn, placing a thin layer of vegetable oil in the bottom of a medium sized pot, pouring the popcorn in the pot to cover the bottom, putting some chunks of Country Crock on top of the kernels, and sprinkling some Old Bay seasoning on the whole thing. Once I prepared the popcorn, I put a top on the pot, turned the flame on sort of high, and waited. It took awhile for the oil to get hot enough to pop the corn, probably the same amount of time it takes for the popcorn to pop in the microwave. In fact, my daughter asked, “When is it going to start to pop?” because she wanted the popcorn right then. Finally, the popcorn started popping. That took a little while too. But when the kernels stop popping and I took off the top of the pot, I had beautifully popped, buttery popcorn with no burning! It took a little more time to prepare it this way, but it sure was worth the wait. I achieved a much better result. That popcorn was delicious!
So who the heck cares about popcorn and how it’s cooked? What does this have to do with anything?
Just like the popcorn, or anything else we microwave, we sometimes seek changes in our lives to happen quickly. Let’s take weight loss, for example. I gained 37 pounds during my pregnancy – nine years ago. Up until last year, I carried 20 pounds of that baby weight. But last year, I decided I wanted to become healthy for me and my family. Of course, I wanted to lose the weight quickly, but I knew if I lost it too rapidly, there’d be a good chance I’d gain the weight back. We know that sometimes significant changes need to be made in order to achieve weight loss (I had 30 pounds to lose), but usually gimmicks and quick fixes cannot be maintained. In fact, the American Heart Association stated, “Because most quick-weight-loss diets require drastic changes in eating patterns, you can’t stay on them for long.” So if we lose the weight quickly, we often gain the weight back, sometimes more than what we gained in the first place. Quick fixes usually don’t work, at least not permanently. But I made changes gradually, changes that I could maintain. I learned what I could and could not eat and when I could eat it. I didn’t starve myself. I ate plenty of food (sometimes still too much). I began to work out regularly. So I am now 20 pounds lighter than I was this time last year. It’s taken a year. And I feel good that as long as maintain my new habits and let go of the bad, I will keep the weight off permanently (I actually have 10 more pounds to go).
Let’s take another example. For years, I didn’t control my emotions. In fact, I carried suppressed anger that I allowed rear its ugly head in my marriage often. It goes without saying that if I wanted to my marriage to succeed, I had to make some changes. And I wanted the changes to happen quickly. So over the years, I prayed, praised God, worshipped God, read my Bible regularly. And when I engaged in these activities, I thought I was emotionally healed. I thought that God was going to instantly heal me of my emotional baggage. After all, when Jesus healed people, it was usually an immediate healing. And surely, after most church services, I left feeling good, believing in my heart God had touched me in some way. And He did.
Deep down, my soul was still sick.
Yet, I continued to pray, I continued to read and reflect, I continued to seek God for my change. And as I persevered, things began to change. I began to look at my husband through different lenses. I began to see the glass as half full. God revealed to me how to make the changes. It wasn’t pretty, but after some years, I’ve learned how not to becoming offended so easily, how to communicate better, and how to see my husband as the gift God graciously gave me. We’ve now been married 12 years. And our relationship is better than it has ever been, and getting better!
I have come to a different understanding of emotional and spiritual healing these days. God is the source of healing for me. But I don’t think God does takes a “microwave popcorn” approach to it (at least He hasn’t for me). As the Greek slave and fable author Aesop said in The Tortoise and the Hare, ”Slow and steady wins the race.” And for me and my emotional health comes in the form of being more attuned to my immediate circumstances and how I react to them. But it’s taken time for me to figure out how to become more sensitive to how I react to things.
My emotional healing hasn’t been a quick fix, as much as I’ve wanted it to be. It has been a slow process. Yet it sure feels good to have a different response and reap the benefits of that response today.
So for those of you who are seeking a change (or changes), it may not be helpful to seek the quick fix. Because while temporary relief may come and go, transformation achieved through effort and struggle is lasting.
“Time is a dressmaker, specializing in alterations.” ~Faith Baldwin
We pass them in the grocery store. We breeze by them in the office. We ride with them on elevators. Yet, we have no idea what the person standing next to us is really going through, what trauma they may have just experienced, what bad news they may
A spouse diagnosed with a terminal illness. Visiting a parent in hospice unknowingly for the last time. Wondering how Dad, who just had a stroke, will be taken care of.
These are a few of only millions of real situations people encounter and have to deal with each day.
What’s more, WE may BE the person who’s just received the unfavorable news or the bad diagnosis.
We live in a society where we’re so rushed and busy; it’s normal for us to focus on what we need to do in the moment (this is me). But what could potentially happen if we just slowed down a moment and stopped to think of those around us, to smile at someone, to just say, “Good morning,” or “Good afternoon” to the person standing in line before us?
I recently watched a video entitled, “Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care,” a video produced by the Cleveland Clinic (I originally saw it on the blog “On Being” by Krista Tippett).
The video started out with a quote by Henry David Thoreau,
“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”
Just for an instant, just for a moment.
I think sometimes that may be easier said than done. I know it is for me.
So how do we go about being people who can see through another’s eyes? How can we learn to show more empathy in our fast-paced world?
Habit 1: Cultivate curiosity about strangers (my husband does this so well) – this entails not just talking to the person next to you about the weather, but about “trying to understand the world inside the person.”
Habit 2: Challenge prejudices and discover commonalities – I know that I’ve made assumptions about people based on the way they look, and upon having a conversation with them, learned they were completely different than what I thought.
Habit 3: Try another person’s life – this is a physically experiential habit. In other words, do something that represents how another person views life. For example, if you’re a Christian, attend a Sikh service. If you don’t like the outdoors, spend some time camping for a night.
Habit 4: Listen hard and open up – really listen and make yourself vulnerable by exposing ourselves and our own emotions (I personally think you have to survey the situation to make sure opening yourself up is really “safe”).
Habit 5: Inspire mass action and social change – practicing empathy is not just for individuals. People can organize collectively to practice empathy to inspire social change. It seems the Occupy movement may have fit that bill, at least initially. But according to the article, collective change will most likely come about by teaching this new generation of children how to be empathic. As well, social networking is a vehicle that can be a catalyst for change.
Habit 6: Develop an ambitious imagination – this seems similar to Habit 3. According to the article, “We also need to empathize with people whose beliefs we don’t share or who may be “enemies” in some way. If you are a campaigner on global warming, for instance, it may be worth trying to step into the shoes of oil company executives…”
So here are six habits that we can develop to help us grow in empathy.
HOW DO YOU PRACTICE EMPATHY? WHAT ARE SOME OTHER WAYS WE CAN PUT OURSELVES IN ANOTHER’S SHOES TO POSITIVELY IMPACT THAT PERSON’S LIFE, AS WELL AS OUR OWN?
‘Tis the season of commencement. A time when graduates close one chapter of their lives to begin the next.
I started this blog in 2006. I blogged consistently for awhile, then hit a few snags. As is often the case, life got in the way. Not in a bad way, though. Demands changed. Priorities shifted. Then writing ceased. For years.
There were a few disingenuous false attempts to return. Yet, it wasn’t the time. I felt like I was forcing myself to live in a space where I didn’t belong. So while I missed writing, I had to stay on the sidelines.
Yet it is now Commencement time not only for high school and college graduates, but for me as well. I am returning to my blog, writing here at Women Walking In Wisdom’s Footsteps™. And I’m excited about the direction I sense God is taking me.
The tagline to this blog is “For women who are humble enough to seek wisdom, yet sensible enough to impart it.” So first, while anyone can read my blog, I direct my writing toward women, because I am one, and I know much more about women than I do men.
Second, I anticipate women other than me will contribute to this blog. In no way do I profess to be an expert on anything. However, I do believe that I can take the steps of women whose feet have been where I’ve been and have achieved some success in areas in which I’ve struggled.
I’ve often felt like I’m the only one who struggles in so many areas of life. Before I got married, I failed in my relationships. And those failures followed me. I should say, I packed those failures in a bag and carried them around with me every day. Just like Erykah Badu’s song entitled “Bag Lady.” She sings:
Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold on to
Is you, is you, is you
One day all them bags gone get in your way
One day all them bags gone get in your way
I said one day all them bags gone get in your way
One Day all them bags gone get in your way
I know a lot about those bags. But while I once believed I was the only one who experienced the pain of carrying that baggage, I now know, as I’ve worked through ridding myself of some of those bags, that I’m not the only one. I’ve learned some things as I’ve thrown away baggage, and I’d like to talk about some of that on this blog in an effort to help others.
As I share my experiences in the areas of relationship/marriage, parenting, health and body image, emotional intelligence, and spirituality, I hope my readers will also share not only their own struggles, but advice as well.
In full disclosure, I am a Christian. The foundation of my writings is God and Jesus Christ. However, I do believe that no matter your faith tradition, you can glean something from the writing here. I don’t say that to be arrogant at all. I just think that the wisdom imparted here through the women who read and comment can help others if we can all keep an open mind.
I’m excited to be back. I’ll post once weekly on Tuesdays. If I feel the urge to write a second post, I’ll do so. But for now, look for the first post this Tuesday.
In the meantime, click here to learn a little more about me. I look forward to getting to know more about you.
(If you like what you’ve read, please click here or enter your email address in the SUBSCRIBE BY EMAIL box in the sidebar to receive my blog posts by email.)
I usually don’t get too emotional about YouTube videos. Yet, one of my students sent me a link yesterday to a video that he said, “gave me the chills.” For this particular student to preface his email this way piqued my curiosity, so I clicked on it and watched. And most certainly, it was very emotional for me.
The video is a presentation of “Life Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” what many refer to as “The Black National Anthem.” The Rev. Joseph Lowery quoted from the third verse of the song during his benediction at the Inauguration on January 20, 2009 when he prayed,
“God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand — true to thee, O God, and true to our native land.”
As I watched the images, I couldn’t help but be propelled into a past that I only experienced on the surface (being born in 1964 living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin). I couldn’t help but to feel some pain knowing the injustices that were wrought on innocent people just because of the color of their skin. Yet, the video is full of images of power, in the midst of the injustices served, and in the midst of the hurt and pain I felt, I also felt proud for the progress we’ve made.
I think the video tells a powerful story. As my student shared it with me, I’d like to share it with you.
I remember when I first started blogging back in November 2006. It was fun. It was exciting. It was draining. It allowed me to uncover a writing voice I didn’t know existed. I have been grateful for the opportunities it has given me to get to know a few people out in the blogosphere that have given so much of themselves, people I’ve learned alot from.
Nonetheless, I experienced a block, and I neglected posting for a significant period of time. I thought about whether I had anything of any significance to say, and discovered that I really didn’t at the time. So instead of trying to post something of no value, I sort of disappeared. I sputtered a little here and there, attempting to make a comeback. But it just wasn’t there for me.
Part of me was dealing with the fact that I didn’t feel I had anything to say. But a large part of what I was doing was helping my husband get his book published. And while I posted back in December “It’s Here!” to celebrate his completion of the book, we experienced some production issues that took a minute to resolve.
Well, this time, it’s here!!! The book has been published and it has been released. Below is the new cover image:
Steppin’ Out Of The Darkness, “When Good People Become Great,” is an introspective, inspirational story about “personal leadership.” The premise is that it’s not what happens to you that matters most; it’s how you choose to respond after adversity strikes when life happens and after bad things begin to happen when least expected.
Moreover, Steppin’ Out Of The Darkness is a family friendly book containing lessons lived and learned by three generations of men.Not once did the author disclose the ethnicity of the characters in the story because he wanted each reader’s life experiences to color the faces of the characters.He did this to avoid forcing the characters to fit into a mold that may not apply to each person reading this literary legacy of faith, hope, and love. The book is 272 pages. It is only available through Generation Y™ Publishing, and you can purchase it through my husband’s blog, “When Least Expected.”
Well, I now have something to say. To celebrate, I have a new look for my blog (for those who were past readers here)! And what I’ve decided to do was write some reflections around Steppin’ Out Of The Darkness. To give you a little flavor before I get started in a couple of days:
“When life happens and the invisible fist of Adversity strikes, always expect the ‘Giver of Gifts’ to do the unexpected when least expected.“
To get a little flavor of the tasty nuggets my husband has cooked up in the past, take a look at his blog. Purchase the book. And let me know how you like (or don’t like) the new look of my site!!!
We live in a fast-paced society. We want things quickly. We want them now. We want to arrive at our destinations quickly. We want to lose weight quickly. I personally want those 15 pounds off RIGHT NOW!
Change can’t happen soon enough. We want to be more loving – now! We want to be more compassionate – now! We want to be more patient – now!
And what happens when it doesn’t happen – now? We are unkind to ourselves. We beat ourselves up. We say to ourselves, “This is just the way that I am. I can’t change.” And so we give up. We don’t give ourselves the space to just be. To allow God to do His work in us.
I read a poem the other day while I was walking down a hallway filled with high school kids. And after I read it, I could only say, “Wow” (one student actually thought I was talking about him – I had to quickly clarify). I think it expresses this idea that we must be patient with ourselves as we go through processes of change.
What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.
So building fires
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.
When we are able to build
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.
We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
simply because the space is there,
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.
He was told, “Go…” He was to leave the unfamiliar.
“In leaving the unfamiliar, you will be blessed beyond what you can imagine. Oh, and by the way, because of you, others will be blessed as well.”
So he dared to go. He left the comforts of his homeland. That homeland – where the deer and the antelope play. That homeland – where seldom is heard a discouraging word.
And in the process, this man trusted God…
Sometimes. A little bit.
Except when he put his wife on the block – at least twice – to protect his own interests.
Except when he tried to usurp God’s plan to fulfill the promise He made to the man to bless him.
Really, all he did was live life. Trying the best he could to provide for his family. Trying the best he could to raise his children. He had his favorites, though.
But in all his many imperfections, foibles, and missteps, God still blessed him. Even late in his life.
He demonstrated “great” faith – only once that I know of. Late in his life.
Yet, God didn’t demand perfection.
He just asked him to “Go.” And he went.
As I thought about the wonderful comments that so many of you took the time to share with me over the past few days, I sat here and thought to myself, “I really am in a good place.” I started out uncomfortable not knowing in which direction to go. But here’s what I take away from the story I heard above. I don’t really need to know in which direction to go always. The psalmist said,
“Our steps are made firm by the Lord,
when He delights in our way;
though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong,
for the Lord holds us by the hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24)
I believe that’s what God did for the man in the story. God directed this man where to go. So clearly, God delighted in the man way some kind of way. Even when he stumbled. Even when he made mistakes. Even though he wasn’t perfect. God held him by the hand and ultimately, this man arrived at his destination.
God spoke through your comments. And he said, “It’s okay. Be in that spot. I will show you the way, through your husband, your daughter, your friends, your students, the clouds, the rainbows, the rain… It’s okay. You can just be. For I am holding you with My own hand.”
Thank you for allowing God to bless me through you (you know who you are).
For those of you who’ve been reading my blog the past few days, you know that I’ve been struggling in a place that I don’t feel quite comfortable, a place I’m trying to make sense of. The wonderful readers of my blog gave me some wonderful encouragement and advice, and I’d like to share some of their wisdom, particularly for those who may be feeling as I am, not quite knowing which direction to turn, not quite knowing if the direction taken is the right one, not quite knowing if the road taken is the road one should travel.
Lisa Gates, author of the blog Design Your Writing Life compassionately commented on my post “Unsettledness,” and suggests I answer several questions. I’d like to begin by answering her first two questions as I seek to understand the direction in which I should go:
What could you learn by staying in the unsettled place for a while?
What is this unsettling trying to tell you?
I believe it will take a little courage to attempt to stay in this unsettled place as things unfold and clear up for me. I don’t say that arrogantly, as if, “KWiz, you’re so courageous!” It’s my nature to want things to have an explanation. But I’ve seen my husband live not having to explain everything or have everything make sense. In fact, that is what a life of faith is about – letting God have His way. And while, ultimately, He has had His way – which has resulted in so much tremendous goodness in my life – it’s not been easy to let go and let God orchestrate some things in my life. In fact, I’ll crack the door, peek out, and it is through those openings, I believe, God chooses to slip in and work. Why do I believe that? Jesus advised the people of a church that needed stern teaching and discipline in the book of Revelation:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him…” (Revelation 3:20).
It’s been difficult for me to allow God to be God in my life. Yet, He’s been good, gracious, and generous. I need to trust that God will speak to me in my unsettled space, comfort me in that space, and lead me through and out when it is time.
So in response to Lisa’s question, “What is this unsettling trying to tell you?” I believe it’s trying to tell me to trust that no matter where I am, I am not alone (thank you, Camille). I am not alone in my…
For some Christians, “doubt” carries connotations of the “4-letter word.” Like questioning God is a sin. I’m perfectly okay with it, though. God’s not struck me down yet. Because I believe it is in the doubt where one asks questions. And it is in the questioning that one gains insight and understanding. To me, to say you can’t or shouldn’t ask questions of God implies a bit of arrogance, and really, I can’t pretend I know a dash about God to say I know enough not to question. But in the less than a dash that I do know, He’s merciful, compassionate, loving. And He knows the doubt I have in my mind and heart. He’s not requiring perfect faith of me – or anyone else for that matter. And for that anyone else who wonders about questioning God, it’s okay. He expects the questions. He wants the questions. Will I always receive the answer I want? HA! Will I receive the answers I need? Most definitely – yes. And going back to the fact that I am not alone, very often, the answers come from the community of which I belong. And at the moment, Lisa, Camille, Anna, The New Parent, Paula, Susan, and last but not least, Manchild, are some of you who are “with me” in my unsettledness. Thank you.
As I’ve had the opportunity to think about these questions, I believe the last question Lisa asks me is very key:
What if being unsettled is where the divine will meet up with you and show you the way?
I believe God waits for this. And I believe this to be true.
I believe God spoke to me through all of you. Thank you for being gracious vessels.
I hope those of you who are experiencing a similar state will find comfort in reflecting on Lisa’s questions.