...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Trusting/Faith When I Have Learned to Distrust

The biblical sense of faith is more accurately stated as the unword faithing. We don't "get" the faith we need for our journey at one time. We don't "have" the faith required to complete our life immediately. Trusting is about taking the next step we need to take, not about finishing the race.

I once thought differently. I used to approach God as an "it" I could grab, that being filled with the Spirit was having it all locked up, possessing everything spiritual, securing all that God had for me forever. I now know that is not only unreal and unhelpful, that is not faith. Call it certainty, call it control, but not trust. And like that unfortunate phrase we sing," Because He lives...all fear is gone," we often present faith as the eradication of fear, doubt and questioning. But some of our best decisions are made and carried out in spite of fear and doubts.

People filled with the Spirit, the Guide, are those taking their next steps. For the disciple Peter, trust was about taking the next step on a stormy lake (Matthew 14:31). But if life has taught me distrust more than anything else, relearning life isn't easy. How can I trust God, especially when people who claim to represent God have hurt me? Many who have started their faith journey with good intentions of serving others have become injured in the process. Like the servant parable in Julian of Norwich's Showings, we didn't choose to become wounded servants.

The next step for those whose trust has been damaged is to take the next step toward healing and wholeness, knowing God is life and love for you. The leap is not just a leap into the unknown, the darkness, it's a step, guided by the Spirit, into God's love and grace.

Taking a Prayer Walk is this week's practice.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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