Later today I am preaching at my church, Circle of Grace, and I thought I would post my sermon here, as it very much pertains to the principles I talk about on this blog. I even include my own blog name, because the words, "Hope is real" has become my own little mantra and has really helped my own recovery.
A month or two ago, I was watching the news and I had an “Aha!” moment. The news caster was saying something to the effect that it is okay to drop bombs, because you are afraid and I thought to myself, “That’s not right!” It’s not that fear is a “bad” emotion, but that there is a difference between feeling fear and acting on it. One can feel fear, but not live in it.
I know this, because I distinctly feel fearful everyday. I wake up with fear! Living with several big disabilities-fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, schizoaffective disorder and an eating disorder does limit my life in ways that I cannot fully anticipate. When I get up, I do not know if I will be able to complete whatever it is that I am supposed to complete that day-due to the fibromyalgia, I may become too sore to walk, with the chronic fatigue, I may have to go to bed early, with the schizoaffective disorder I may become paranoid, or have mood swings, or be too agitated to be able to socialize properly and with the eating disorder, which I doing really well with right now, but even so, there is always the possibility that I will become stressed and will not want to eat and will spend my hours obsessed with my food. Life sometimes seems like a bunch of scary unknowns with no relief.
The good news is that I can acknowledge my feelings of fear and move on-I do not have to wallow in it or let it consume me. I can wake-up fearful, but say, “I don’t know what my day will be like, but I know that something good will come of it.” This way of living involves joy and hope and love. It involves knowing that even if something negative happens that day that it is all ultimately, for good. Ultimately, I must get up out of bed. No matter what I am feeling, life will go on.
Acting on fear will only beget more fear. I know this with every inch of my being, because I have acted in fear many times, usually by running away from whatever it is I need to face. That is what so many do not understand. When people say, “We need to bomb, or hurt, or kill someone else, because we are afraid” they do not understand that those acts of violence are not going to erase or conquer their own fear, but will only bring about more.
We need to acknowledge our own fears and then move onto joy. Something that helps me is to be grateful. Jesus says in Matthew, “God will certainly care for you.” It is certain-God does not just care about us, but the Holy One cares FOR us.
I feel at this time of the year, I cannot preach about fear without mentioning my two friends, Bryce and Dan. A couple years ago, in September, they both killed themselves. Since then, I have had other friends relapse in their addictive diseases. People going through recovery often ask, “What do you mean, God cares for us! What do you mean, God only gives us what we can handle. Obviously, someone could not handle what they were given.”
My conclusion is that one needs to have an open heart, a heart that says that I am willing to believe in hope and joy and Love, even if I am at a point when I cannot feel those concepts intimately. I just finished reading a wonderful, inspiring book by Marcus J Borg called, “The God We Never Knew” and in it, he describes faith not as believing in something so big that it seems impossible, but in simply having an open heart and I have found that description to be very helpful to me.
Acknowledge your fear and then move onto your day. Open your heart to the possibility that hope is real. Trust in the Holy One.