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A phrase I like is, “We are God’s boots on the ground.” But unfortunately sometimes that can morph into the song, “These boots are made for walking and I’m gonna walk all over you.” When young, even to middle-age, I was so emotionally fragile, that I lived fear. In my teens I became funny and outgoing and talked constantly, so no one got much chance to say something that scared or hurt me. I built a wall of words that protected me from the world around me. Experiencing the Love of God expressed in Jesus helped in a way. Instead of just being comic relief, I tried in various ways to share that Love of God, Jesus. But it was a bit of a struggle because I had developed another unconscious weapon against the misery of fear, a fierce ‘no holds barred’ anger. I finally recognized that when I got really, really angry, I wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything. It was like a super-power and for a while, I treasured this awareness.  Sometimes I even emotionally danced with delight in the power of it.       Eventually, I noticed it was also an arrow in the quiver of Jesus. I remembered the money lenders in the temple and even his peculiar zapping of the barren fig tree. But I also realized that Jesus gave it up. He could have zapped the soldiers in the garden of Gethsemane, but he didn’t. He could even have zapped Pilate, but he didn’t. He could have escaped death on a cross, but he didn’t. So, like Oscar, the Grouch, I have worked on my attitude by trying to let myself consciously experience hurt and fear rather than ending up emotionally self-protecting with anger. Praying helps. Reading Scripture helps. Taking time for reflection helps. But most of all remembering, savoring, and just basking in the warmth of the love of God melts not only my need to protect from others, but even the need to deny my own human imperfections and failures. I am unfinished, but I am loved with no small print by the healing Love of God expressed in Jesus.  

Fear, Super Power, and Jesus, Oh My.


I’ve never freely chosen to hang out with people who felt compelled to tell me unpleasant realities about myself. In the last twenty years or so I’ve finally come to grips with the fact (i.e. unpleasant reality) that it’s my problem. Reality just is. And my need to remain delusional is not other people’s problem.
I remember when taking a battery of psychological tests as preparation for ministry, they pointed out that one of my main traits that might limit my effectiveness was that I was over sensitive. My gut level, completely serious response was, “Well if you know I’m oversensitive, why would you hurt my feelings by telling me that?”
It’s like I expected the whole world to protect me from reality, even when facing it and changing might make me a much more effective person.
It has been a great relief to become able to accept that we all have flaws and even limits; physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. And when I recognize one of them in my self (on my own or with “help”), sometimes I decide that it’s something I can’t change right now and that I and the rest of world will just have to live with that for the time being, but other times I recognize that it’s something that I want to change and now can, because of where I am in my journey.
So, the next time you get your feelings hurt, it might be interesting and even life changing to take responsibility for them and explore your choices in responding to the challenge of a possible, though uncomfortable, reality.