I’ve been walking a hard road over recent years, learning to live from a place of faith instead of fear. I recently wrote a post about the road of fear, and how my religious experiences as a child garnered more fear than faith!
Now, as I untangle all the old belief systems and build a new faith and connection with the Infinite, I am learning to trust – myself and the Divine.
In this Sunday sermon, I want to take on a challenging topic – challenging for me, personally, that is!
In recent days, I’ve posted about living in faith, rather than living in fear. When I am living in fear, I am focused on the external – what I might lose. When I am living in faith, the focus is internal, on my beingness and enoughness with Spirit.
As we continue to move up Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs, the motivating factors become weaker. So, while fear may be the strongest, with guilt and social acceptance being another strong external motivator, when you reach shame (internal), the power it holds over you lessens.
Nonetheless, shame as a learned behaviour is something that carries with you all your life! The effects of the manipulation and emotional abuse are scars carried until healing takes place on a deep level.
I’ve written a lot lately about how mission boarding school and growing up on the mission field has influenced my faith and my journey to practicing Presence. Today – I want to dive into the darkness of the journey from a culture of fear, into learning to lead from faith and love.
A topic I have been ruminating on recently: How many of my choices and decisions in life are made based on faith? What decisions were fear-based?
Where does the fear come from? Unfortunately – indoctrination.
I love it when I meet someone that just effortlessly is spiritually mature – they function and interact with others effortlessly, one foot in the spiritual and the other in the physical worlds. Spiritual maturity brings with it a level of inner wisdom that is impossible to imitate.
Nonetheless, from the outside, their emotional intelligence seems simply innate, as if they were born with it. Admittedly, I have no idea of all the inner work that they have done to get there! I wasn’t present to witness their perseverance in the face of difficulties – their dark night of the soul.
One of the reasons that I think Christians get such a bad rap, is that we only ever talk about our struggles behind closed doors – if we admit them at all! Perhaps if we admitted our struggles to those outside of Churches – especially the struggles with ego and learning to truly love, we would find that others were more accepting when we tried to share our journey with them!
But, if your upbringing in the church was anything like mine – God forbid that we admit to others that we have doubts about faith, God and “salvation”. You parrot off that you are sharing God’s love with the world, as you Bible-bash them into salvation.
Someone was asking, recently, for the best “self-help” and personal development book that others had read. One of the group members suggested “The Bible”.
I admit, I initially responded (internally) with “no, definitely not“. (Possibly even more along the lines of a visceral response of “hell no”).
A few days later, I was reading a post (somewhere on the internet) about how self-help books are no good and that if we are truly interested in transforming our lives – what we really need is more stories.
This morning I read Nancy Beach’s description of the final outcome at Willow Creek Church: “Nancy Beach: A Voice of Wisdom“. I found myself, once again, facing the anger at the injustices that happen within churches and missions! I wrote about this in February of this year, when NBC had a segment dealing with the abuse that happened in New Tribes Mission: Shadows of the Past.
The thought that came to me this morning as I read Nancy’s article was
This is a moment for overturning tables and complete disruption!