Martin Luther King

Your Monday Muse: Finding Peace instead of living in Fear

Living in Fear Excerpt from “Life Coach/ Christ Coach”:  There is a very funny movie from comedian Albert Brooks, called Defending your Life, that is constructed on the theme that out of all the stories and trials of our lives, what we are finally judged on is our ability to live our lives without fear. We begin to see much of our own trials in life are surrounded by fear, and it becomes one of the major drivers of our behavior. And in the movie, the assumption is that if we live a life that is fearless, where we learn to take chances and damn the consequences, just living our lives to the fullest, we may conquer the inhibitions that hold us back and make us whole and well-adjusted and more perfect human beings. It is a wonderfully complex notion, and of course, one that is fictional. There are so many brave people who show us what life is like when we conquer fear. But the human condition is one where we acknowledge that we act bravely in the face of fear, not that there is no fear left! Most heroes will honestly tell you there is some measure of fear when they acted bravely. There is a funny scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where they trail one of the knights singing of his cowardice in fleeing a battle as he ‘bravely ran away!” So it is that we remember the sayings: “Discretion is the better part of valor” and ‘Choose your battles wisely.’  We have learned earlier of the woman who marveled at the calmness of the Captain who brought order and peace when all were fearful on a huge ship at sea in a storm. That is the voice of reason, … The gathering storm is not lessened when we learn to conquer our fear, but we can live to fight another day and to face the enemy bravely when we learn to conquer our fear. There is a saying in Spanish that translates something like, “A life lived in fear is a life half lived’ We know what fear is when it drains your energy and causes you to freeze. It is something we live with, and must learn to not simply conquer, but acknowledge and learn to do battle with each day. Remember the mantra from the English living through the blitz of London in World War II: Keep calm and carry on. Is this not what Jesus did, knowing the outcome that faced him? And we do know what the outcome of our lives will be as we must all face our own mortality. … life is seen not as a battle well fought, but a life well lived and the knowledge that we are given the freedom to let go. Living in fear is much harder than fighting with death, …” Accepting God From Life Coach/ Christ Coach Excerpt “….We can relate to the many, younger people and those who go to mega-churches in search of, what Tozer calls ‘the above-average spiritual experience.” They seek something deeper, and this is, in his estimation, defined as wanting more (FOMO) ‘because the average Christian life is tragically shallow.’ Perhaps we can lose the “Christian” in this sentence as all our lives may seem more inner directed and we are isolated from other things with the cell phones and internet connections that leave us wanting more. Searching and seeking, we look for answers and Christ is one who is there for us. Dietrich Bonhoeffer brings the point home with his reading of the gospel of Matthew 6:33 “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Anxiety for food and clothing is clearly not the same thing as anxiety for the kingdom of God, however much we should like to persuade ourselves that when we are working for our families…we are thereby building the kingdom, as though the kingdom could be realized only through our worldly cares.” Bonhoeffer tells us that the kingdom of God is so far distinguished from the earthly possessions that come our way, we need to distinguish them in our minds. …. Learning to accept the will of God and to try to understand how God is speaking to you in this life can be a challenge for all of us. Oswald Chambers said that God never speaks to us in dramatic ways, but in ways that are easy to mis -understand. We are left asking at times: “I wonder if that was God’s voice?” Oswald suggests we (first) ask and we shall receive. To say, “Speak to me, Lord!” and then to listen to what you are hearing. I know that I have been deaf to his voice at times, and at others, when I was receptive and took time to listen, I found some amazing answers to the hard questions. In my own life, I changed jobs and the new one didn’t work out. I was simply looking, and seeking, when a friend sent an email of a job description that sounded like the type of work I had done many times before. I knew that even though I had thought I would never return to the old work I had done for many years, that this was a good fit. And it turned out, they needed me and I needed them! I heard God’s voice in the simple and short email that led me to a path I had thought was closed to me. This happens at times, when God will tell you where you need to be or to go. I wanted a small dog a few years back, and went to look at a dog that needed a home. The heavens opened up and it rained so hard, I barely made it home in the downpour, with no dog and not even a chance to look at it. I thought, perhaps God

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Monday Mojo for Martin Luther King Day

  This week the Keywords are Character…Growing….Creativity. Character A fitting way to begin the week’s journey is with a quote from Dr. King, in honor of the celebration of Martin Luther King Day today. Dr. King often spoke of measuring a person through the content of his (or her) character. He said: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” In other words, character matters. We are all tried at times, and may even find ourselves wanting in some ways in comparison to others. That is not the ultimate measure of your own character.  We believe in the Christian religion that there is room for growth and spiritual awakenment, as witnessed in the story of the Prodigal Son. You will realize that character is something that may be strengthened and developed over time. And take heart in knowing that as we grow in our spiritual faith and mindful awareness of our world and those around us, so grows our heart and our character along with it.   Growing There is a reason that the name of the group I developed for the self-esteem journal and workshop is called The Growing Group. Just as we speak of growing our faith, developing our character, and enriching our spiritual lives, we are all sparks of the one source of origin that is our God. The Hollywood Comic-Book Movies that I write about have suddenly become very interested in developing what is called “Origin Stories.” People want to know where the heroes came from,  and about their parents and ‘back stories.” We all may be reminded of some wonderful origin stories in our own families that we’ve heard growing up. Some are integral parts of our own family lore. Others are just good stories! But with each tale of origin, we see an arc and a progression. As a writer, I recognize each piece of well written prose contains an arc of the story from beginning to end. As humans and spiritual beings, we all have an origin where we develop and grow. The opportunity for growth and development is part of our makeup. And it is what makes the human experience so wonderful and at times so divine. We all have that opportunity to grow with each passing day.   Creativity Creativity is something that is within each of us. The way we teach our children, the stories we tell and the work that we do are all part of our own Creative Process. Creativity comes in many forms. I have friends who are “crafty’ and I wish I could create the beautiful things that they do! There are others gifted with graphic skills, and some know how to ‘code’ (God Bless ‘em!) I love the idea that we are each imbued with a unique set of skills that is a divine gift and is part of who we are. We need to bless the creative spirit that we seek in ourselves, to honor that unique skill that is someone else’s creative spark, and also to nurture the creativity in our own lives that brings us joy and energy for new ideas and new beginnings.   Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven- Matthew 5:16 Mantra: This week I will honor the content of my character and those that I admire the most for their strong characters. I’ll work to think of ways to grow my faith and beliefs in positive ways, and to create something that I know I can do well.  

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