Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lost in the Maze of Religion and Fear

Sometimes dreams make sense and sometimes they don't. I know many a folk who think nothing of their midnight visits from storyland and I know others who live and breathe on them as if each one was a secret message from God. If I was to be somewhere on the spectrum I would say closer to the latter. This morning I had a dream that meant something. It was almost like my subconscious was like 'Okay we're like real sick of this and even though you already woke up for the day we need you to see this!'

As I drifted back to sleep around 9:30am (oh yeah, be jealous) I found myself somewhere in a parking lot yelling over to my father. I was going on about how he didn't care about me (don't be fooled this is not the truth within the dream as when I woke up from my dream my dad had already sent his daily 'luv u, miss u' text). Back to the parking lot I found myself outside of work  and one of my co-workers met me outside and wanted to let me know his church didn't support me because... Although the words were never said I felt in my heart 'it was because I was white and too inexpereinced'. Once inside the building I found a Catholic mass going on blocking all the ways I would get to my office. The congregation was only old folk and ironically an Uncle of mine who went to Seminary-- As the Nun spoke- it was very clear I was disrupting the whole service and was asked to leave. Throughout the building everything looked like it was ready to be set for an afternoon party and it seemed as if no one cared to help set up. They all just lethargically stood there. No purpose, no drive, just in the lobby of the church barely mingling. I rushed throughout the building trying to make things work and again the mass kept getting in my way- I couldn't get to anything I needed. The last thing I remember feeling before I woke up is I am so sick of being caught in this maze of Religion and Fear.

...excuse me what? Where did this come from? I mean everyone knows I am have some simple fears about the new job, but those are valid fears. I really don't know anything about the city, ministering to youth, or case management. And what about the religion? Where is that coming from...

I sat up and looked at my girlfriend's stack of books and knew I needed God to minister to me. For some reason I didn't go for The Bible, I found myself immediately reaching for a book I had never seen before Nice Girls Don't Change the World  by Lynne Hybels. What a perfect moment God had me in, He shook me out of sleep and out brought my worries right to the front and in turn handed me words of truth. Sounds like our Amazing Father, doesn't it? Quotes from the books are as follows:

"Don't allow who you truly are to be lost, buried, or devalued. What is in you matters. What is most truly you matters. You have learned lessons, experienced pain, known joys, and gained a perspective nobody else has. You have an answer to the world's needs that is yours alone" (p. 63)

"A third thing I have learned about a good woman is that she sings her dong even if she's terrified. Whatever she's called to do, she does it, even if she's so scared her voice breaks, her hands shakes, and her stomach aches. She doesn't let fear stop her." (p. 65)

""Of course, fear went too and told me that every talk I had written was terrible. Every afternoon before I spoke I had to say to fear; 'Just be quiet. God has called me to do this and I'm going to trust God'" (p. 73)

"Fear always hides the truth, Fear magnifies our weaknesses and it hides our potential. Only God knew the real me and the path I needed to be on."  (p. 76)

"When fear says, 'what have you gotten yourself into now?' I say, 'I think I've gotten myself into the will of God and I am not going to back down.' When fear says, 'You are not smart enough, experienced enough, or strong enough to do what you are trying to do,' I say, 'Well, I serve a God who specializes in using people as flawed as me, so you might as well give up.'" (p. 77)

Sounds like just what I needed to hear right? A gentle reminder again that is saying 'HEY GUESS WHAT?! You can't earn God's love-- sorry baby girl- no can do.' But the book also added the much needed slap across the face that screams 'HEY, I made you this way on purpose remember? Don't you think I know what I got you into? Don't you know my perfect love casts out fear? Have I not told you? Be STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!'

I just absolutely love the way she ends the book. She speaks about getting out of her depression by choosing to take risks and stand up to fear- which is obviously powerful but what she ends the book with just gives me chills. The main thing needed to do so? A group of women, encouraging her and living life with her. She quotes: "I needed women to grab my hands and say 'Let's pray about this'. Then I needed women to tell me to rent a silly movie that would make me laugh hysterically. I needed women to say, 'You have gifts, and you feel strongly about certain things, and we are not going to let you withdraw from life. You need to show up!' Then I needed women to say, 'Lighten up! Celebrate! Go shopping and add a little color to your black wardrobe.' I needed women to say, 'Who you are is okay, and we love you for it'. I still need that." (p. 86)

mMmMMmm... Thank you Lord for this relaxing morning, and for the much needed reminders and reassurance. I pray that you will bless the women in my life that are those things for me. I pray that I will be able to turn fear down when he tries to speak and I ask that you pour favor and love over what is being done at YFC and we would all know that we cannot earn your love. Yet we can REST in it.

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