For God did not give you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. — 2 Timothy 1:7
We all know The Truth. We are made in the image and likeness of God and we are called to carry out God’s work in the world. In a nutshell.
But what is YOUR Truth?
This might not be an easy reading today for some. In fact, I was raised in a very dogmatic type of Christianity where there was no room for discussion of ideas outside of what the Bible said in black and white. I used to think that was an easy way to live. Until I learned that there is so much gray in life and I saw that I lacked compassion and I was unable to understand others who didn’t fit that mold.
When Jesus came out to His truth, from a carpenter to THE Son of God, it wasn’t without the presence of skeptics and haters. It says He was rejected in his hometown. People who THOUGHT they knew Him, tried to keep Him in a box. They didn’t know the truth about Him. They knew only a small part of who He was and when He stepped into His full calling they couldn’t accept it.
Did He cower to their disbelief? Did He question His calling? Did He go back to carpentry? Thank goodness the answer is NO. He allowed the haters to hate. He relied fully on what the Father said about Him, “You are my beloved Son and in You I am well-pleased,” and pressed ahead.
He wasn’t looking for external validation. He had an inner confidence that was unshakeable. And He left His hometown to find His disciples 25 miles away in Galilee.
So how does this apply to honoring your calling today?
You know deep down truths about you that no one else knows. You have gifts you are afraid to act on. You have feelings and desires you keep hidden. We all do. Why? Fear of rejection. Stuck in habitual patterns. Making a change seems too difficult. We don’t believe we’re worthy of living life to the fullest. Those are just a few.
Approval from others is not the goal of life. It is seeking God for alignment. Alignment with what you believe is true for you (which will always be growing and evolving), alignment with your gifts that God has given you and alignment with the calling He has on your life.
To live in a diluted way is to dishonor God.
I believe that all human beings are beautiful and have a right to live their lives without judgment. The Bible says you will know someone by their fruits. What does that mean? I believe that means we can tell whether someone is plugged into a positive God-source by the fruits they bear in their life.
The Bible calls these the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. If you are going to aim for alignment find that path that will produce those fruits for you.
When I was in high school I had a friend who I played basketball with. She was a stellar athlete and we became very close. She was funny and caring and was tormented and confused at the same time. She would say, “I was born in the wrong body. Someday I’ll show up at your door and be the man of your dreams.” She became suicidal.
I was scared to tell anyone. She cut her arms and wrote me love poems. We talked on the phone late at night and she shared her pain.
The Bible doesn’t have an answer for that other than ‘sin’. There is no language, no guidance, no scripture I could offer for comfort. Yet it was her truth.
She was only 14. She wasn’t trying to BE anything other than what she was. We fell out of touch and years later reconnected through Facebook. She is now living her life happily as a man. I was overjoyed to see that she was finally living her truth over a decade later. And she is happy.
That might be an extreme story to illustrate a very simple truth. You are who God made you to be. You don’t need to be ashamed of it. This isn’t just about sexuality, it’s about your talents and gifts you keep hidden. It’s about your fear of what others will think and your willingness to set aside that fear and come out anyways.
Be an artist. A singer. An author. Dare to put yourself in the spotlight and speak your mind. Run for office. Start a business. Whatever mountain it is that you keep coming back to, don’t ignore it. Faith casts out fear. Have faith and take the first step.
I’ll be honest. I was afraid to write this post because there are people in my life who will probably judge it. Christians can be some of the most judgmental people I know and that is one thing that kept me out of the church for almost two decades. Jesus didn’t associate with the righteous but those who knew they needed help.
I no longer identify with the opinionated, small-minded, out-dated way of thinking of generations past. Today is a new day. The light is brighter and the spirit is stronger than ever before. During my time away from the Christian faith I explored many other forms of spirituality and found a lot of good in the world and people who had transformed their lives through the help of God as they understand Him, everywhere.
Today I believe that the best way to go is to walk with love. Jesus is the way for me today, it’s the relationship I feel most comfortable in and I’m okay with you whether you see things my way, or not.
I fully accept others and their right to live their journey as they see fit. As long as they are operating in the fruits of the spirit, who are we to be their judge? I have enough learning and growing and changing to do in my own life. I extend grace and believe the best in everyone. I know that God is working with them in their heart too.
P.S. I inadvertently found this TED talk today. It popped onto my YouTube news feed so I clicked it to listen as I drove to the beach to pick up my daughter. My jaw almost dropped to the floor. There are no accidents. Divine. Providential. Unspeakable grace. May you also be as touched by this as I was. Thank you Ashley for this gift you have given the world. Your strength, vulnerability and honesty are raw and real. God bless![su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/oDJ0dRb4-XY”]
Day 12 Lenten Love Prayer:
God, I know you are everywhere at all times. You speak to the hearts of Your people and there is no barrier to the heart. The words may be different but the Holy Spirit is one and the same. Your eyes see the heart and You said we will know our brothers and sisters of faith by their fruits. Help me see ways in which I have been judgmental and arrogant. Help me to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with you. Give me faith to let the real me shine brighter than the false me I safely show others. Let alignment be my utmost goal. Help me to boldly step under the flow of your outpouring of love and gifts and share them in full strength to the world. May I be of maximum service to You. For I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Day 11 Scriptures:
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. — Psalm 139:14