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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

God is Greater

You can fill in the rest in so many ways, God is greater than??? Everything actually, epsecially our own stumbling and bumbling to comprehend and follow Him. So much diversity here in blogland on grasping Him and growing in relationship with Him. Kathy Escobar has a great post about faith and doubt over at her place, *the carnival in my head*. She articulates how doubt can and does play a crucial role in bolstering our faith as opposed to decreasing it, and how faith is different than believing in the way we are told we should believe. Wow!!!!

I am wrestling with fear as i have for what seems like ever, and with God helping me in the process, as He always does even when i am not aware of it. I have had strong tendencies to listen closely to authority figures alot, especially ministers and teachers who seem to have solid answers in what true discipleship is. The dilemma occurs when several of those who are deemed authority figures clash in their own views of what constitutes *true discipleship* so then what am i to do??? Not trusting my own ability to think for myself and discover Gods ways for me have been crucial at times in causing me to shrink back or push ahead in some of the waves lifes ocean brings.

This struggle is like 2 in one. On one hand, I know i committed my life to Jesus Christ, I trust He is who He claims to be, that the Bible is His Word and is reliable, that His love, grace, forgiveness and holiness are constant and eternal. I believe He understands my own and everyones strengths and weaknesses and leads us in life. On the other hand, I fear that my understanding is flawed and I fail to believe and obey as i am needed to in order to make my salvation sure. I try to hide from challenges which may stretch me and open me to pain and wounds i do not want to experience. I question whether Gods love is unconditional or can i somehow think or do anything to cause me to be left out.

This in a nutshell describes my battle with fear,especially fear of death. What i love about what kathy wrote is that God remains there amidst all of this, even when I might be totally apprehensive of being accepted by Him. I also think being able to verbalize these thoughts and feelings in a public manner are very helpful and healing because it shows vulnerability and willingness to risk whatever reactions may come from other people. The psalmists lamented to God throughout their writings, and much of it was done in anger,fear,despair and a sense of hopelessness. BUT, after expressing all these things, they were able to find hope, encouragement and peace which seemed so far away before and during their sharing.

Fear may be around always, in one way or another. That does not mean it has to have a stranglehold on me. Thank you God for so many friends and others who have shown that to be true. Thank you God that You are greater than fear, and greater than my own limited way to handle it within myself, and You are always there to turn to, even when I may feel and think i am all by myself.

3 Comments:

At 7:23 AM, Blogger Gary Means said...

I'm curious, Robert. In all of this, what do you think God is saying to you? Or, maybe to put it differently, what do you think He is doing in your life? I know that you struggle with doubt and fear. I also know that you have certain foundational beliefs. If one were to posit that hose are the background in your narrative, what would be the active story? To carry this metaphor a little further, if God is a character in your story, what is He doing? What is His role? What is He saying? What direct ways is He influencing the direction of the narrative?

I ask this primarily because it's what I'm asking myself about my own narrative. What is He saying and doing in your life that is specific to you? Yes, "God so loved the world that He gave . . .", "God so but how would one write out "God so loved Robert that He [fill in blank]".

For years I have wanted to find a spiritual director. Yet, I haven't taken steps to do so. Perhaps that's because I wasn't sure if I would get a New Age spiritual director with what I consider to be bizarre ideas of God. Silly me. It's not like I would be signing a lifetime contract with the SD. But as I understand it, the primary function of the SD is to ask the question, "What is God doing in your life?" and to help the directee answer that question. I am not trying to fulfill that role in asking the earlier questions. Again, they are questions that I am asking myself. They seemed like they might fit your story as well.

How is your heart, your health?

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger Gary Means said...

I should add that whether or not you tell me the answers to those questions is of no importance. It's not that I'm not interested. Perhaps every post in here is an answer to these questions. But as I skim through them, I hear a lot about your fear, about your doubt, about what you think your should think or feel, and not so much about what God is doing. Maybe I just need to go back and read more carefully.

Man, I hope this doesn't come across like some condescending, know-it-all axxhole. If it doesn, then please forgive me. I see these questions because they what I am asking myself. Maybe it's the old "to a hammer, all problems look like nails."

Gary

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger Robert said...

Gary- thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to comment. I know how hectic life is for you right now. Your questions are razorsharp in that they cut right to the core matter. i think sometimes it is easier to talk about the stresses and struggles and impediments i have in trusting,obeying and seeing what God IS doing as opposed to just talking freely about what He is doing presently. He is helping me to realize He understands my weaknesses, no matter what they are. He is helping me to realize it's ok to challenge myself and rethink what I thought I knew and believed theologically. He is helping me to see how other people and events can play very pertinent roles in my growing understanding of Him. I do seek to have my posts be expositions of what He is doing in my life, whatever that may be. I know for me i have the problem of feeling like i can't be too positive or upbeat concerning myself in an outward way because i feel i don't deserve it and i fear i may jinx myself or cause something bad to happen again that is painful.

i hope this answers your questions. Thank you for causing me to reflect a lil deeper and closerr to home. i think i need to really focus and ask Him to show me just what He is doing and wants to do in my life. Let me know what you think of what i said in response.

 

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