So this post is going to be a bit of a rant, a bit of a hodge podge, but I think it needs to be said. I often quip about how I’m trapped here living in the 9th circuit of hell and after studying the problem for so many years, I’ve decided that a great deal of it has to do with fear, isolation, and toxic secrets. It often seems as if everyone in this area is just a rugged individualist, terrified of community, relationally immature, and so nobody talks to one another. Oh, we talk alright, but we talk to everyone BUT the people we really need to talk to.
Christian people. Christian people who should know better.
It goes something like this, rampant gossip, fueled by perpetual anxiety, fear, and chronic stranger danger. Wash, rinse, repeat. You know what happens when you’re always in that state of being?? You’re so busy listening to the voices in your head and the judgmental voices of your neighbors, that you can’t even hear the Holy Spirit.
This problem has really become a bugaboo, a blight on my potato, a disease that infects every aspect of my life, work, church, family. And it’s being taught in our churches! Yes, I said that and I’ll say it again. Fear, tribalism, and division, is being taught in our churches.
First let me say, fear is a liar. The Bible says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” A bit of a discernment short cut, a life hack here, but if it’s fear based, anxiety provoking, and full of chaos and confusion, then it sure isn’t from God.
The fastest way to get clarity, to bring order to our chaos, is to talk to God, and often to then go talk to other people. The people who can actually help you solve the problem. By the way the problem is never really going to be about, “those people.”
“Those people” could be wrong six ways past Sunday, but Proverbs 25:28 says, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” “Those people” are a problem for you because something in your own city is broken down.
I go through this myself, all of the time, so I’m not pointing fingers or condemning anyone else. This is like, just doing life. It is what it is.
We had a beautiful sermon at church, based on James, the power of the tongue, taming the tongue. I don’t wish to complain about the sermon at all, it was quite good, but I do want to complain about how it is so often received. It goes just like this, Oh, so I guess I better shut up, I probably shouldn’t say anything……….except of course to my server, my caregiver, my neighbor, my coworkers, and that strange woman in the grocery store…..
So like, by the time people are done committing virtual soul murder with all their fear and anxiety, and total voicelessness, the only one not in the know is the target of their wrath and frustration! By the way, I’ve been that target a few times, it is not a lot of fun. I now have trust issues. If I wasn’t doing “fine,” I sure wouldn’t be telling you about it…..
I just cringe at the words, “I probably shouldn’t say anything, but..” No, no, no, you should say something! You should have said something at the time. You should go say something to that person right now. Those kind of secrets are like left overs in the fridge, they spoil and become toxic very quickly.
A huge, huge problem around here is a lack of communication. People don’t talk to one another. People assume they know what’s going on. People don’t listen to one another. Gossip, drama, and anxiety can also be intoxicating, exciting. Life can get boring.
If I tell this to the right person, things might get fixed, but if I tell it to all the wrong people, things might get interesting…
Let me return to Proverbs 25:28 because I think it’s really important, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Why do we fear?? Often because we feel unsafe. Why do we feel unsafe? Because we don’t yet rule over our own spirit. Because we have not yet built enough confidence and trust in the One who protects us, Jesus. Men, women, will lead you astray like crazy, but He never falters, He never deceives us, and He never leaves us.
When we throw up walls, when we panic, when we pull away, it is often because of what is going on inside of us, internally. Christians really need to put on the armor of God, we need to strengthen our spirits, we need to learn how to protect our internal city, so that when we say the words, “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,” we really mean that, with every inch of our being.
Chuckling here, because I can be an incredibly risk adverse, totally avoidant, big chicken. A big part of the reason why I want people to learn how to let go of fear is because fear is a liar, it is a stronghold, it takes you captive, and in the long run, it often makes you less safe. If you’re afraid of water you’ll never learn to swim, right?