Although I cannot state that I always wholeheartedly agree with many of the assertions and suggestions prevalent in modern psychology, or, more particularly what I have come to refer to as “self-help pop psychology,” there is one which I have found through experience, and particularly throughout my own unique spiritual journey to be both useful and effective as a coping skill on those numerous occasions when “Life Happens” – that of the “daily affirmation.”
We’re all familiar with them, and most of us who have embraced the concept of the value and power of positive thought surely have our own. And in the event that we do not, there are a myriad of options to select from which already exist out there. Whether it is the words of wisdom of the famous “Serenity Prayer” which forms one of the core tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous and the plethora of 12-Step Groups it has spawned (“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”), the vast array of those written by authors such as Dr. Wayne Dyer or Deepak Chopra, or even the humorous spin on the concept by Al Franken’s memorable Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley (“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” Although it may have had the intent of poking fun at the concept, is not a half bad one.) In some instances, an affirmation may even manifest itself as a catch phrase, as in that of famed cartoon character Popeye’s “I Yam what I Yam” (which, now that I think of it, isn’t half bad either.)
Knowing of the term, yet unsure of what is being said in recent times about the utilization of the daily affirmation as a tool useful in personal and spiritual growth or developing and maintaining a positive outlook, I elected to do a search on the topic, and discovered the following definition by author Kaylie Holbrook:
“Daily affirmations are statements that you make to yourself to reinforce a positive idea.”
I can agree with that description. I would also go to the extent that I think a daily affirmation can be seen as a “mini-prayer,” or at least, that is how I view the one which has been for quite some time and still remains my daily affirmation of choice. In reality, it is often more of an “applied as many times as necessary per day” constant affirmation, depending on the day, and it comes from the Psalms, Psalm 46:10 to be exact:
“Be still, and know that I am God” -Psalm 46:10
Or, as I silently repeat it to myself when I do, simply, “Be still and know.” The thought of this, my personal “daily affirmation” seemed rather relevant to me as I write this, being that the matter I want to discuss here is the concept of doing what many individuals-LGBT and otherwise (and speaking from experience, myself, at least in the past) – have found to be a daunting and formidable challenge: that of fully developing a deep sense of trust in God.
As a bisexual man and a radically liberal Christian, and even before I had acknowledged and accepted my sexual orientation and had no real sense of spiritual beliefs, there was a time in my life that the words “God” and “Trust” seemed as incompatible to me as the concept of being both bisexual and Christian. And regardless of one’s sexuality or sexual orientation, given how life can present itself and all of the conditioning many of us may have regarding the nature of God, the concept of “trust in God” may seem like an impossible hurdle, one of those mountains that it seems as if no amount of faith can move.
However, as Jesus so profoundly and clearly stated in Matthew 17:20, “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” However, in order to embrace those words of Divine Wisdom, it is first necessary to locate that first spark of faith. Finding that mustard seed can, for many of us, be akin to locating the proverbial “needle in the haystack,” and for me it definitely was. But in retrospect, it turned out to be the best discovery that I ever made.
I can only speak for myself in this instance, but my own personal faith journey after years of a complete lack of trust in God or even electing to acknowledge what I today know to be the ever Present and glorious reality of God began with exactly that: the tiniest mustard seed sized granule of hope and faith that there was a possibility that maybe, just maybe I could trust God.
And it was a huge leap of faith for me: keep in mind that at the time I first made that mental leap of faith based on that small glimmer of hope, I had arrived at one of the lowest points in my life many years ago. I knew who I was, but had elected to bury that underneath a massive cloud of fear, doubt, worry, guilt and shame manifesting itself as self destructive behavior and bad and irresponsible decisions – alcohol can do that to you. I knew then deep inside as I had my entire life that I was bisexual and had been born that way; my attraction to and desire for the same gender was as genuine as my attraction to the opposite gender, and that I was different from most of my adamantly heterosexual friends. Even most of the girls I had dated at the time knew, and encouraged me to embrace and accept this part of myself, but I feared that it was just not possible. And for certain, knowing what my natural sexuality and sexual orientation was seemed to completely eradicate any possibility I might have entertained for any sort of feeling of being loved and accepted by God, let alone daring to embrace the loving teachings of Jesus and considering myself to be a Christian.
Yet, for little more than a moment, I prayed to God honestly for what would be the first of many times in my life from that point on. I made the decision to let go for just a second of any of the lies anyone had ever told me about God and the Nature of God as being a harsh judge, and entertained that possibility that maybe God HAD made me as I am and for a reason, and would hear my cry for help, and quench my longing for a real sense of spirituality and meaning in my life. To make a long story I have told many times before short, God Answered. Over some time, mind you, only because God had to break through all of my own self inflicted walls of doubt which were gigantic at the time, but God Answered.
As anyone who has ever had the courage to take that leap of faith, that bold step I am referring to can likely attest, the first step of a journey of faith is just the beginning. It started out small, as a spark, but just began with my not being uncomfortable with the idea that perhaps God could not be limited to the narrow spectrum of beliefs I had been instructed were the “only” or “correct” way in the past, but rather taking things one step at a time.
Like many, I experienced various stages of growth in my faith, with many missteps along the way, including relapsing into all of the old fears and ideas once again. When I maintained my belief, but life did not go as I had hoped, or my expectations I had held were met with disappointment, I unfortunately slipped back into my old patterns of thought, and began to question everything once again. I had allowed myself to be surrounded by several legalistic Christians who took this as an opportunity to attack my faith as “counterfeit” as it did not condemn or judge anyone based upon sexual orientation, it did not take the Bible as literally true, verbatim word for word, it did not acknowledge a finite hell of punishment for non believers, nor did it believe in the concept of “End Times” theology or Armageddon and the requirement for a constant personal battle between spiritual forces of good and evil, and it could not subscribe to all of the dogmatic beliefs being touted as truth by conservative evangelical Christianity. I falsely allowed myself to be convinced that there was no potential for ever reconciling my spirituality and sexuality for a brief time, and decided to repress any thoughts of who I knew I truly was, and resign myself to abandon who God really Made me to be in order to do what I had been deceived into thinking was necessary to experience God’s Love. In reality, that type of negative thinking did not cause me to experience anything remotely resembling the love of God or any type of love at all.
And I remained in this fearful state, this sense of desperately longing to love God but constantly feeling on the defensive, as if I could only have trust in God if I adhered to an outdated, man-made set of rules supposedly intended to make us “acceptable” to God, until God intervened and shook me out of it by enabling me to step back and discern that the real counterfeit faith was the one I had allowed others to define for me, rather than the trusting, child like sense of faith rife with possibilities I had entertained when I had found that glimmer of hope within my own metaphorical “mustard seed.” I kept hearing that still small voice from within my heart, where what I felt to be the True voice of God had always attempted to speak to me calling me forth to break free of all of the self imposed rhetoric and fear I was allowing others to influence me to engage in and truly embrace a new way of thinking about faith. Eventually, I did listen, and learned to put my trust in what I felt in my heart to really be the God I believed in deep inside, rather than settle for the limited ideas about God I had merely allowed others to create for me.
That’s when the real work, and the real sense of developing trust commenced, and although it was a challenge which required every bit of letting go of any and all preconceived notions and old ideas and holding on with every bit of faith I could manage to the concept of just putting my trust in what I felt in my heart about God and the loving and simple teachings of Jesus about the Nature of God I persevered. By allowing faith to guide me to be open to new possibilities, I was able to find a church, supportive friends and other angels disguised as other human beings who further opened my eyes and heart to the idea of a God of Unconditional Love Who not only did not judge based on a persons’ sexuality, sexual orientation or unique individuality but One who Created all of us exactly as we are for a purpose and a reason.
While a great deal of my spiritual growth simply came from disciplining myself to listen to the still small voice within and trust in what I knew to be true in my heart, as well as reading new ideas and new information from new sources and listening with an open heart and mind to the ideas of others I might once have dismissed, a great deal of it came from the Bible itself. I was utterly shocked and amazed that for all of the vitriol towards sexuality in general which I had heard was attributed to the Bible and even to Jesus Himself was scarce and nowhere to be found. All I discovered in actually reading the Gospels and teachings of Christ were things that I had always felt to be common sense and a better way to live: kindness to others, compassion, forgiveness, mercy, gratitude to God. The Jesus I discovered there was God Incarnate teaching of the power of love and positive thought, of encouraging us from having the most joy possible from the life God Has Given us while showing others the same measure of love which we ourselves would desire, of living a path of Love and Compassion rather than fear and selfishness-not a condemning judge. I began to develop a greater and more meaningful sense of trust in God one small and courageous step at a time, even if there were instances or occasions where those steps were made with some nervous apprehension, trepidation and trembling.
Just as it was with another obstacle, which was one of the most challenging and formidable in my faith journey ahead, and that was the process of finally reconciling my spirituality and sexuality and finding that deep sense of peace with God and sense of trust in God. As I began to feel safer in this new environment, I finally embraced the courage to come out as bisexual, and begin the process of embracing and accepting who I am as a gift and a blessing rather than living in a hell of guilt, shame and repression.
Even though I was in the midst of those who were far more accepting than some of my peers in the past, I found that there were many who were very apprehensive of certain aspects of how I felt. I knew at this point as I always had of my true sexuality and orientation; I had already sometime prior mentally been through the process where I came to the point of clear understanding that no matter what type of life or relationship that I found myself in that I am neither homosexual or heterosexual but fall right in between.
Although the textbook definition for a bisexual tends to be a person attracted to both genders, bisexuality is as diverse or even more diverse than spirituality or Christianity and all of the various definitions people attribute to those. Everyone who identifies as bisexual can have a different experience of what it is to them personally. For some, it is merely acknowledging that an attraction to both genders exist, for others it means gender of one’s partner being immaterial or irrelevant, and for me and for others it means the need for simultaneous intimate relationships with both genders. Like some other bisexuals, I acknowledged that bisexuality for me meant that I felt the sincere need for both a relationship with a woman and with a man, and the consensus of more than a few was that to truly be able to honestly live that truth in my life was either inappropriate, incompatible with being a Christian, or theoretically and logistically impossible. And for a time, I harbored this fear as well. I was frightened that that I was faced with either repressing half of who I was and betraying myself or even worse, betraying my faith. I was miserable in the delusion that I had to “make a choice” that in my heart and soul I knew I could never make, and I knew that I would never choose to abandon my faith in God, nor betray the commitment I had made to God and to myself to never enter into a commitment with someone and then betray their trust by having a “secret” or “discreet” relationship with another, as I unfortunately had witnessed other bisexuals do. I knew I was not capable of that type of dishonesty or betrayal, and thankful for that.
I was panicked; I was unsure of how to proceed. I knew that whatever path I chose it would have to be one which honored God, was true to who I was and respectful of all others, as absurd as some might have found the thought or regardless of how they might have scoffed at the idea. Everyone I had spoken to was skeptical that God could ever accept this about me, yet somehow I knew deep down that I could not be alone, and that there was a way and an answer. After all, at one time I had been skeptical of the very allegation that God was about Love and not fear and legalism, and many of those who were detractors of my feelings and attempted to invalidate me at one time had been skeptical of the idea that homosexual relationships could be blessed by God.
This time, rather than repeat the same mistakes I had allowed myself to fall victim to in the past, I decided to continue my commitment to just let go, go with it, trust in God and I chose not to choose. It took every bit of trust I could reach deep into my soul to locate, but once again, I prayed and held on to that faith, which had grown from being the tiny mustard seed to a tree which had taken root and was growing a bit more each day. I honestly told God, “This is who I am; You have always been there for me even when I didn’t acknowledge it or show my appreciation and I cannot believe I would be made one way and be told I had to repress that; please show me a way to live the truth of who I am in a way which is loving and respectful of others.”
And once again, my fears, my concerns were naught, as my prayers were answered, confirming my hope that God already fully knows whatever it is we will need and takes care of things in advance, should we be willing to open up, take that leap of faith and listen. I won’t pretend that it was an overnight process or one where I did not have to exercise patience and call on every bit of faith I could manage, but everything ended up turning out more beautifully that I could have ever anticipated, once I was willing just to allow the faith that I had to nurture the trust I longed to develop. I was able to find support, in some cases while offering a kindness or support to another, and I found not only other LGBT Christians but heterosexual Christians as well who were accepting and understanding of how I felt. I finally arrived at a place where I had reconciled my spirituality and sexuality.
Today I experience not only the full comprehension that even though I am merely a human, or a human being having a spiritual experience, if you will and I just as everyone else has a myriad of things about myself I could improve upon and I do occasionally “miss the mark” and act out of fear at times in fashions which are less than what I feel Christ calls us to do in our dealing with others, I have, thank God reached the sense of peace and trust that only comes from knowing that God Unconditionally Loves and Accepts me just as I am and that my sexuality and sexual orientation is a complete non-issue and has no bearing on my faith or ability to live as a follower of Christ.
I know that not only is there nothing wrong with who I am in God’s Eyes, the unique person who I am is who God Created me to be. I am confident and secure that there is nothing abnormal or unnatural about my sexuality regardless of how aberrant some might consider it-God is so much Bigger than any amount of misunderstanding others might have about our differences from one another. I know that just as some are attracted to and need and desire intimacy with the same sex or the opposite sex, that I experience the need and desire for both and there is nothing wrong with that. I know that my loving, intimate, honest and committed relationships with both a woman and a man are joyful and blessed and while that situation may not be right for everyone, it works beautifully for both myself and my partners and I know in my heart that is how it was intended; I know that it is no coincidence that the woman and the man in my life are also bisexual and experience the same feelings that I do and I know and trust in my heart that everything happened as it did and is as it is for a reason.
And most importantly of all, I know that although my interpretations of what it is to be a Christian or a follower of Christ may not align with many of the traditional or orthodox lines of thought, and may even at times seem too liberal for more mainstream and progressive Christian thought, that there is a place for me at God’s Table and in this mysterious journey called life.
But not one ounce of this growth, this joy that I experience today could have ever transpired had it not been for my willingness to abandon my rigid walls of fear and doubt, and, for lack of a better term, to give God a chance and take that frightening leap of faith to just trust in God, trust the Process which God takes us through on our spiritual journeys, and learn to nurture that faith and trust and allow it to develop, flourish and grow. And it is for this that I remain constantly grateful every day.
You might be wondering at this point where exactly my value of the phrase “Be still and know” comes into play. While it did play a significant role in one of the many daily Scriptural readings I engaged in for strength and home during the aforementioned process of spiritual growth which spanned a nearly 10 year time frame, it has only been in recent years that it really became a part of my daily mantra.
I hope that what I am about to state does not come across as insincere or blasphemous in any fashion, as that is certainly not the intent, but I am of the belief that at times that regardless of how great a time of spiritual growth we might experience or how intense and profound our faith may have grown or be growing to be, once we find ourselves out of the “crisis zones” that even our personal relationships with God can drift, and we can allow the feelings we might have had during times of personal epiphany and awareness to be either obscured by fear or pushed away from the forefront of our consciousness in light of other life experiences. In my opinion, it’s not too unlike how people in a new relationship find that the “new relationship energy” (another pop psychology term and one of several that I am not all that fond of nor do I subscribe to) wanes, and we can find ourselves attentive to details we might have once ignored, questioning things we once took at face value, and wondering if perhaps we have invested more trust than we should have.
While that was not my direct experience, even after I had arrived at what I felt was a genuine and unshakable sense of trust in God, I did find myself on occasion experiencing times where old and false anxieties would resurface. Once in a while, in the midst of one of those days which are often filled with occurrences which can only be described as “Life Happens” (or even at times “another-four-letter-word happens”), I will find myself feeling temporarily in the shoes of Job and questioning why (yes, I know that’s overly dramatic but it is how I have felt on occasion). Although experience has taught me time and time again that it is a complete waste of time to “question why” on some things and that I am always better served to trust God in those instances, it is all too easy to get caught up in the moment.
It was in the midst of my house being completely flooded, employer furious at me about something trivial which was due to a complete lack of understanding of the situation, power being shut off unexpectedly, having one of the worst cases of the flu I had ever had, and managing the act of helping someone through an awful crisis of their own at the same time that I first embraced “Be Still And Know.”
I was terribly concerned about everything; I was indulging in worry. Once again I committed an act mentally that I had done before and regretted: In the midst of the pressure, the anxiety and the fear I implored of God, “Why are You doing this to me?”
And then I immediately had to smile (which surprised me, because a few seconds before that smiling was likely the furthest possible action I could have envisioned myself doing) as I had a moment of clarity. God wasn’t doing anything to me. No one was “doing” anything to me. It was merely an instance of life – or something else – “happening” and what I knew in my heart I truly needed to do was to call on my faith and trust in God to get through it.
What ran through my head as I corrected my thoughts from “Why are you doing this to me” to “Please give me the strength to deal with this or look within to find it” was the hymn I had sang in church before called “Be Still and Know:”
Be still and know that I am God,
be still and know that I am God,
be still and know that I am God.
I am the Lord that strengthens thee,
I am the Lord that strengthens thee,
I am the Lord that strengthens thee.
In thee, O Lord, I put my trust,
In thee, O Lord, I put my trust,
In thee, O Lord, I put my trust.
That was consolidated to just “Be Still And Know,” and today it remains my silent prayer, the phrase I clear my mind and meditate on whenever I am feeling any brief but however false ideation that the trust I have in God in my Heart has been breached, whenever I am dealing with anything challenging or difficult and it remains that way to this day. It helps me to stop being so concerned about the “what if,” become re-centered on “what is” and make the best of the situation, and trust that no matter how things might seem, if I will simply trust in God, even if that seems anathema to all I might be experiencing at the given moment, everything will somehow turn out okay in the end.
But my reflection on these simple four words is not merely reserved for situations so trivial in the grand scheme of things as “having a bad day.” It’s not reserved for feeling down because someone said something hateful to me out of their own fear, or getting a traffic ticket, or a check bouncing. It has enabled me to cope with far more dire and serious, much more meaningful times of crisis such as the grief and sorrow experienced following the loss of a loved one, members of my family being very ill and not having proper resources for medical care and feeling helpless to do anything to help them financially, times of illness, the empathy I feel for those in need or experiencing a time of loss that I can do little more than pray for or offer encouragement to, and times of serious reflection on personal matters such as taking a bold step forward to take another job in another city, or to make a commitment to a cause, or some other major personal matter. It has been weighing heavily on my soul recently as we are faced with a move across the country and leaving our home of over 20 years in order to care for immediate family.
And it is a Blessed Reassurance every time during prayer when I reflect on all of those who feel hopeless, hurting or in need or how I long for the day when people will collectively embrace the true message of Jesus to Love God through Loving One Another rather than using God’s Loving Name to persecute and divide one another and how desperately I wish and hope for the day when God’s Name is only used in reference to Love. No matter what the reason, it always seems to help. Even if it just enables me to look around and once again become fully aware of all of the wonderful ways God’s Love has manifested itself in my life and count all of the blessings while casting aside any negative thoughts and doubts that I might have temporarily allowed to obscure my faith.
While I know from firsthand experience that God will always provide for us and take care of our needs before we ourselves may even be fully cognizant of them ourselves, there is a great deal of truth to the saying that we too must do our part. At times, many of the dreams or desires we have in life are primarily in our control and dependent upon our actions and decisions, and rather than ask God to make things happen a more appropriate prayer is to ask God to help us make it happen. In all of Jesus’ teachings, I have always been of the belief that He is stating through parable that once of the greatest Gifts God has Blessed us with is the power and the energy of positive thought-which to me is one of the ways in which faith can be applied to enable us to manifest the very things we would ask God to assist us with. Although one of these can be alluded to in Matthew 17:20 which I mentioned earlier on, there are several others, gems in the Gospel ready for us to discover, as are all of Jesus’ teachings.
And it also becomes clear to me that faith must also be accompanied by trust and a lack of fear. Take for example the story from Matthew 14: 22-33, where Jesus is walking on the water and invited Peter, at Peter’s request, to come to Him:
“Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when Peter noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus immediately reached out and caught Peter, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?'” Matthew 14:29-31
While I feel the true message of that story is a metaphor to state that we too could accomplish something as seemingly impossible as walking across water, that we might be able to find the strength to accomplish what might have initially seemed to present an impossible task to us, should we just trust in God for the courage to reach within and discover the ability to do so, I feel there is something else meaningful to be found there. I think the other lesson being taught is that whenever we do give in to fear-when we allow it to interfere with our faith and trust in God, all that is necessary to “keep from sinking” in our fear, if you will, is an honest desire for God to help us escape it and the faith that somehow, that will happen; that we can trust in God to save us from our own fears and doubts should they become more than we could ever handle.
Fear is both an obstacle and detrimental to not only our faith, but also to our ability to trust in God, or anything else for that matter (and in my opinion, fear is the root of all evil acts, but that’s another story for another time.) I have had countless times where I would be moving through life just fine, trusting in God, being still and knowing just as proficiently as any other, but I remember many occasions when I too would look up and let the wind frighten me like Peter supposedly did, and start to sink and call on God to help me to pull it together. Time and time again, no matter what I thought I was afraid of, and whatever I had to endure, God did and still does get me through it. If I can’t trust in that, what can I trust in?
On the surface level, in day to day life, the very act of trust is a scary, if not outright terrifying proposition. If you don’t take my word for it, just ask anyone who has ever entered into a relationship, a business partnership, or bought a used car for what seemed like a price that was too good to be true. Although we do have the benefit of learning from experience in our dealings with others, we never really can be absolutely certain what another individual will do. Just as God Blessed us all with free will, to make and accept full responsibility for our own decisions and reap the benefits or suffer the consequences depending on the weight of those actions, we are limited in that none of us can control the actions, thoughts, and decisions of another. And while God will never let us down (even if at times we can temporarily suffer the false illusion that exactly that is transpiring), people can and they do. At times we even can feel out of control of our own actions, and let ourselves down, and in both instances, that damaged trust must be rebuilt.
Certainly, as relationships develop be they personal, business or other, we grow closer to another and get to know them, that trust can grow stronger. And as mentioned, it can be rebuilt. In my experience, our relationship with God is no different. Although the Mysterious Ways of God can perplex us at times, should we find ourselves feeling as if that trust has been breached somehow, as we grow stronger in our faith and our relationship with God, drawing from past experience and letting go of fear so we can draw closer to God, that trust can be redeveloped stronger than ever. In cases where past experience or previously held fearful ideas about God has caused our concept of trust in God to be met with trepidation at best, taking the leap of faith to consciously pursue that passion and desire to cultivate that trust and build on it while recalling all of the wonderful joys we have experienced in our lives and feeling reassured that they were, as are our very lives, a gift of God can build trust where we previously deemed it impossible to do so. We can reflect on times when we thought the world was ending only to find out everything was fine after all, we just did not have the vision to see it. We can reflect on the doors that open when others had closed. And we can reflect on the moments where everything turned out better than we ever could have anticipated or hoped for; I know God has a few of those at least for all of us.
Trust in God and Faith in God to me are one and the same; they are complementary and need one another to exist. I honestly believe that faith would come first, and be the first prerequisite, having had to take that leap of faith to let go and trust God in the first place at a time when others told me I should approach God as unworthy, fearful, ashamed and begging forgiveness. But it was a first critical step for me, as I feel it could be for anyone who might be apprehensive about trusting God.
But as with any meaningful relationship I also feel that developing trust in God is critical and necessary to move forward and truly know God, even when it might seem impossible. And if it does seem impossible, consider this as an incentive for trying: how many relationships have been destroyed or the potential joy of them missed out on completely due to a fear of putting one’s trust in another?
And then consider this: whereas other human beings have the potential to betray our trust and let us down, God never has, never would and never will. Relationships come and go; business partnerships come and go, and all matter of interpersonal relationships built upon a foundation of trust come and go-some leave us with good memories, some with not as good, some are merely learning experiences. A personal relationship with God, however, does not go anywhere – it can only grow stronger and better over time. If you are going to trust in anything, is there any question that it should be anything other than the Creator, the Source of All, the One Who Created you as you are and Loves you Unconditionally as you are no matter what, without question and only desires all of the best life has to offer?
While there are some who may be able to relate to what I am saying and who might agree upon the value of trusting in God no matter what, I am sure there are some who might be reading this and saying, “Easy for you to say” when it comes to the idea of putting your trust in God. Perhaps you are convinced as I once was that God was out to get me, or that God would never accept me as I was, let alone help me to be at peace with who I am or live my life joyfully at peace with that and free of all of the old guilt, fear, shame, low self esteem and self destructive thoughts and ways. Perhaps it just seems too good to be true that you could know that God Loves you as you are, and that there is something Real to trust and believe in, the Source of all, a God Of Love Who will give you strength beyond strength which you never knew you had to live the life you were intended to have more abundantly, conquer all of the fears which have prevented you from living fully and freely, face the times when life does not always seem to be going as you hoped with courage and confidence, and just to reassure you when times are challenging on a vast or minuscule level.
And make no mistake, that concept of allowing oneself to take that leap of faith and trust in God may be a frightening proposition, and the process may not always be easy, but I can attest with confidence that it is extremely worth any imagined risk our minds could attempt to deceive us with and prevent us from making that step. It was the best decision I ever made in my life, regardless of how scary it was initially. Having that trust is at the core and foundation of my faith, and it was the best thing I ever did to grab on to the mustard seed of faith that I could trust God and hold on relentlessly. It transformed my attitude from long ago of dreading each day to looking forward to each day with anticipation, knowing that no matter what the day brings, God will always Be there for me and take care of me, and that I can always trust in that regardless of how the actions of others, circumstance, or even life may be seeming to let me down. Time and time again, I have learned that no matter what I thought I had to worry about or afraid of, there was never any reason to do anything other than trust, be still and know, and continue on with the faith that I could. Over time, I have learned that taking that chance to trust in God is always the best course of action, every time, on every occasion.
And it could happen for you as well. Don’t trust me on that, but if you can, take my word for it. Reserve all of your trust for and put all of your trust in God. If you’re apprehensive, be still and know that God’s Unconditional Love is the one thing you can always trust in no matter what, and that you can no matter what fears you might have experienced about doing so in the past: the fears are not real, God is. Whether or not you elect to have a “daily affirmation” or “constant affirmation” like mine of “Be Still and Know,” take action to reinforce one new, positive idea: the knowing that God Loves you and you can trust fully in that love forever.
As a result, you just may find the miracles you have been praying for, the hope you have been longing for, and the peace of knowing God Loves you as you are that you have desired are closer that you ever imagined possible.
John Campbell is a native of Alabama.