Fearless Living Faith

I didn’t grow up going to Church. I grew up with vague ideas about what God was, and what Church meant. I found the Bible later on, and felt the connection. I started going to Church and fell in love. But I still have a hard time speaking about the relationship I have developed with Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit out loud.

I need your feedback. What is a good, joyful, healthy way to deal with this? Were you raised with these words, and if not, how long did it take for you to bring it into your daily interactions and life?

Do you ever speak about your beliefs with strangers?

If you are guided to pray with someone, or to pray in public, do you do it?

Do you have a group that you speak to about your relationship with God, and Jesus? How does it feel to attempt to put these inner workings into words?

 

The reason I ask is because lately I have embarked on something that is bringing up SO MANY emotions in me. It is a local Church group. This evening I am going to my third meeting. This is not the first time I have been in a Bible study group or Church group, but it is by far the most intimate gathering, and one which requires the most interaction from participants. The facilitator is a wonderful lady who really asks us to speak up. We go around the room speaking. For me, an introvert who thrives on sitting in the back and listening, this is a challenge — to say the least.

At first it was too much of a challenge.

I wanted to quit.

But I felt something happening… some kind of growth, amidst the discomfort. One thing in particular that I have noticed, which I wanted to share here, was how completely difficult and scary it can be to speak about personal matters with a group.

This morning my Bible reading was this:

“Children let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us.” –1John 3:18-20, 23

These encouraging words strengthened my desire to bring my study and readings into my daily life. Writing Amish Fiction is my humble beginning at this. It is a way to create an intersection between my inner life with God and my everyday, “outer” life. It is my attempt to bring faith into my living.

This verse asks me to believe in the name of Jesus, and love my neighbor. I am guided to let my love of God extend out into the life that I live here on earth with my brothers and sisters. For years, I’ve been working on my private relationship with the divine, instead of my relationships with other people. I have a very comfortable, happy relationship with Jesus. Jesus is with me all through the day. Jesus speaks to my heart. I connect with Jesus each and every morning through writing, which for me feels like a form of prayer. I ask Jesus what he would like me to do. I ask his advice. I bring him my worries.

For a long time, I did not know if I was writing to God, Holy Spirit, or Jesus. But the answer that I kept on feeling was Jesus.

Jesus is my bridge to connecting with God and the Holy Spirit. Jesus speaks my language — a human language. He knows what it was like to be human.

In the activity of speaking about this relationship out loud during my day, I find fear. What am I afraid of?

I am afraid that someone will think my relationship is silly and made up. I am afraid that someone will tell me that the way I am proceeding is wrong, or offensive, or juvenile. I am afraid that they will tell me that it isn’t working, and that I only imagine it is working. I am afraid that they will take it away.

When it comes time to speak in our group, and the facilitator asks a question and the women answer one by one and then inevitably the conversation turns to me, I feel on the verge of tears.

I sweat. I shake. I sometimes want to cry. I feel so extremely vulnerable. These women are wonderful, kind, spiritual women who gather for the purpose of supporting each other along the inner journey of living a life with God and Christ. And yet… the threatening feeling of baring these inner workings seems so real and so large and monstrous. It is as if the moment I finish speaking I want to crawl under a rug. When I get into the car afterwards, I feel the need to shake my arms and release some of the tension.

So, I bring this to you, dear readers, in hopes that you will share some encouraging words with me. Have you ever felt this kind of anxiety about your faith? What have you learned? Your advice would be greatly valued.

Faye.



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