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nothing to fear but fear itself…

My last post relates to this one.

I went on a retreat this past weekend to a Benedictine monastery in northern Georgia. I felt compelled to get away from my daily distractions and concentrate on trying to actively hear the word of God. It’s a whole lot easier to listen when you cannot speak.  I thought I’d leave the prophet Isaiah behind and go in another direction. So I decided to read Luke. The first evening of the retreat I got as far as Chapter 1 verse 13 before the angel said to Zechariah, “Do not be afraid.” I tried to keep reading through the familiar words but I kept going back to them. Tears welled up in my eyes. What the heck was going on? Obviously, God was speaking to me about fear. But what was He trying to tell me? I decided to use a meditation technique I learned in yoga. I breathed in the words,” Do not be afraid” and as I breathed out, I thought the words “I am with you.” I fell asleep with those thoughts in my brain.

Later, I woke up with a start. You know when you suddenly jerk awake from a sound sleep with a gasp? It was like that. I looked at the bedside clock. It was 12:50 am. I had a thought in my head to look at Genesis 12:5, but its message didn’t seem all that pertinent.  I was half asleep and totally confused, and then it occurred to me to go back to Luke. “I will tell you whom to fear: ” it reads in Luke 12:5. “fear him who, after he has killed, has the power to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, he is the one to fear.”

Whoa! That got my attention, but surprisingly I fell back asleep.

I woke up a few hours later when I heard hangers rattling in the room next to me, and decided after a few unsuccessful minutes of trying to go back to sleep that I would get up and go to the 4:00 prayer vigil that the monks do every morning in the church. After chanting the Psalms and listening to some readings, there is a half hour period of meditation in the darkened church. The only light was at the tabernacle where the Body of Christ resides.

I felt sleepy, but I wasn’t fighting to stay awake, surprisingly enough. I just opened by mind and tried to listen, and in the quietness of that darkened church I heard God speak. He made me realize that I have been more afraid of God than I have been of Satan. I have been so fearful of what God might ask me to do, that I have been oblivious to the messages that the Evil One speaks to me on a daily basis!   I harbor more worry about disappointing God than even I realized. I have been so afraid of doing the wrong thing that I have been doing no – thing. And don’t you just know that the Devil loves that! That’s exactly what he wants us to do. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. That’s all he asks.

So, I came home, and I acted. I made a few calls to begin one project I’ve been thinking of pursuing and I enlisted the help of someone to assist me on another writing project that it’s time for me to say yes to. I’ll talk more about them later.

But for now, no longer will I let Satan rule me with fear of the unknown.  I know now that I have to act first and trust that God will reveal what I need to know as I need it. And I know that doing nothing is no longer an option.

It was all really very simple.

It just took a few hours in the dark in order for me to see the Light.

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