“I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works, that I know very well.” – Psalm 139:14,( The New Testament and Psalms, An Inclusive Version)
Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” – The Gospel Of Thomas
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” – J. W. von Goethe, The Power of Commitment
I cannot recall exactly where I originally heard it, or perhaps I never actually heard it uttered, and it merely issued forth from my heart or subconscious. Regardless of the origin, it was one of those life and purpose defining moments of self questioning which always seem to occur prior to a monumental new beginning and embarking on another chapter in our individual spiritual journeys. And although the recollection of the precise source presently escapes me, I remember pondering the thought with an extreme sense of clarity. It came in the form of a question posed to me:
“If you knew in your heart beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were loved with an Unconditional Love, that there was nothing to fear, and that with faith, hope and dedication, there is nothing you could not accomplish, how would your life as it is now be altered as a result, and most importantly, what is it that you would do?”
Even though it has been quite some time since that thought initially penetrated my subconscious and took root, it is one that I have found myself revisiting repeatedly at various junctures in my life, or occasionally seemingly out of the blue. It generally surfaces during times when I might be indulging in a moment of what I would call wasted emotions such as anxiety, self pity, or the overall sense of spiritual malaise or temporary impairment to my deep sense of awareness of God’s Love for me and for all of us that can arise if I allow stress to get to me.
And once in a while, it can: as good in my heart that I know life to be, it can be filled with a multitude of external influences which can be conducive to stress. Giving in or surrendering to that stress, at least for me, can carry with it the consequence of temporarily obscuring my sense of balance, focus and clarity of awareness of how intrinsically good and at times perfect life is and can be in general, even with its ups and downs which can rival the most intense thrill ride imaginable. It can overshadow what I know in my heart and soul to be true regarding the wonderful abundance of Blessings God showers into our lives, even the sublime which we can all too easily find ourselves absent mindedly taking for granted should we allow ourselves to succumb to duress or allow our personal spiritual armor to be weakened under a burden or weight from what we have elected to perceive as some form of pressure from an external source rather than examining our personal reaction to such before responding. It can cause what I call those temporary lapses of reason where I for a few moments become so ensnared with whatever issue I might be facing (usually inevitably being something rather trivial in the grand scheme of things and not even resembling anything close to what truly matters) that I lose focus on the fact that God is with me, and there is nothing to fear regardless of how anything may appear to me on the surface in that moment.
And it can and has happened when I find myself in such a moment that I revert to the timid soul I was in my life before I truly and sincerely opened my heart and mind to God, uncertain of how to respond, and not feeling very certain about anything at all, for that matter. As I recall, in one of the worst moments of what I would refer to as “one of those days” (or to quote a childhood literary classic, a “terrible, horrible, no good very bad day”), by the end I had unwillingly cast myself in the role of victim, imploring of God as to why all of this was transpiring, why was I being persecuted so?
Thankfully, those times are few and far between. But when they do surface, one of the methods and coping skills I have discovered which enables me to cast away the blinders should I find myself faced with the type of conundrum is to reflect back on that thought. What I might be falsely thinking, or feeling at the moment is immaterial, and whatever set of circumstances I may be facing, be they a consequence of my own actions or seemingly for no particular reason at all: if I find myself staggering in spiritual balance, I dwell on how I would feel – and have felt – in the sense of knowing God Loves me with an Unconditional Love, and that regardless of appearances that there truly is nothing to worry about. If I cannot connect with the exact peace I wish to feel, I visualize and imagine how it would and will feel when I can again. And it still does provide a great deal of assistance in allowing me to snap out of whatever I allowed to get to me, take a deep breath, be still and know, and regain my balance-as well as a sense of what I would refer to as “spiritual confidence.”
It has taken me many years to arrive at that place in my life. In retrospect, I could have arrived there far sooner, but the important thing is that I have been able to reach that place of growth. I am not by any means stating that it was an easy process all of the time; but had I been able to embrace the idea of maintaining courage, faith and holding on even when it seemed as if there was nothing to hold on to – the idea of believing in something I did not at the moment have resounding physical proof of yet but possessed enough total confidence in to act boldly and with courage and not allow any perceived sense of being persecuted have a negative effect on me, I feel it could have moved much faster. But as I have discovered and learned over time, faith is a journey and a process, and a never ending one.
For myself as a bisexual man and as a Christian, I can attest from experience that merely developing a deep sense of faith, and trust in God, given my rather timid and overall generally “beta male”, non-assertive personality as well as all of the external persecution I faced earlier in life from those purporting to speak on behalf of God and deliver judgment upon me was a challenge in and of itself which was worth every moment. I longed with all of my heart to truly reach the sense of awareness that God Loves me and Made me just as I am and knew it deep down even when everyone and even the poison fear which I had for so long allowed to permeate and seep into the corners of my subconscious attempted to convince me otherwise.
As I finally was blessed, through having the courage to for the first time in my life to come to the God of Love I had longed to believe in and really know for so long, a God of Unconditional Love rather than human created dogma and legalism – the God of Love expressed through the teachings of Jesus, and taking the bold step of listening to my heart, and learning to find God within and everywhere rather than suffering the illusion that there was only one way, one strict method to know God, I felt a liberating wave wash over me. Yet, there was still another step I needed to take, and that was moving forward and through the process of reconciling my spirituality and sexuality.
I have always known that I am bisexual and that for me that means that I feel the need for intimacy with both a woman and a man, yet it was only through the honest faith in a Loving God that I was finally able to have the courage to cease locking and hiding this aspect of myself away and silently resigning myself to conforming to being “one way or the other” as I discovered that I was not alone in who I was. I knew then deep down as I do now that I feel the need for a committed and honest relationship with both a woman and a man as an expression of my being bisexual, and that there are others who feel the same. But it had to be honest, on the level, and mutual; I was unwilling to repress half of who I was and even more adamantly against leading a double life of betrayal as I see many bisexuals tragically resign themselves to as the only option. I simply refused to believe that there was not a place for someone like me, however misunderstood I might be by many.
Even though I am strongly against the idea of taking the Bible literally, there is such an abundance of spiritual wealth within to be found, which I continue to discover a bit more each and every day. As I was progressing through the process of reconciling my sexual orientation, sexuality and spirituality, there were a few verses which today truly stand out in my mind.
Psalm 134 is one of these, as it seems to be written by someone who is reflecting to God on who they are and how they are Created. The most profound statement in this Psalm to me is in line 14, as the Psalmist praises God for being “fearfully and wonderfully made.” I could definitely relate to that sentiment. Deep within myself, I saw who I was as something wonderful, and my bisexuality and my sexuality as a unique and beautiful gift which I merely wanted to feel at peace about. Yet the idea of being unashamedly who I was at that time did carry with it a sense of apprehension; there was the fear of how others would react if I were to be joyfully and unashamedly who I am and live the truth of who I am freely. Regardless, I maintained my resolve as the feelings of peace that God had Made me how I am far outweighed any fearful ones. As I reflect on that verse still, it facilitates my sense of knowing that regardless of what any others might think of my sexuality, my being a bisexual, or my relationships, I am still a precious Creation of God as are we all, and I was Made the way I was for a reason.
Another verse which stood out in my mind from that time is not in the Bible as we know it but which is quoted from the Gospel Of Thomas (which was excluded from the canon of the New Testament):
Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
To me, this verse could carry so many meanings, and on the surface seems to be a metaphor for not hiding one’s light under a bushel or something as simple as not holding back from what we dream to do, or being afraid to express what it is we truly feel. But to me personally, it simultaneously seems to speak directly to those of us who have struggled through the long and dark nights of the soul which can accompany the process of reconciling our spirituality and sexuality. I know that it had meaning for me in my own faith journey; and I can completely relate to the concept of the terrible gnawing that arose from constantly feeling as if I had to repress my natural feelings and keep them locked inside, remaining less than who I knew I was fully Made to be. I knew I could no longer pretend to be or conceal who I truly am, and it needed to come forth without my being ashamed or feeling any need to explain myself to or some odd motivation to apologize for who I was.
And as I was going through the process of coming out as bisexual, and knowing that meant for me the need for what many would deem as an unorthodox, however caring and committed pair of relationships with more than one partner, I did initially find it challenging to find acceptance from many others. Before others who understood and were accepting appeared in my life, I found myself down at times not having anyone to talk with my feelings about; either they were judgmental of my sexuality or they were judgmental of my being a Christian, or at times both. Even though this is not in context and more of a personal interpretation, Philippians 2:12-13 got me through some times when I was having a tough time finding others to talk to about how I was feeling: “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for God’s good pleasure.”
For those of us who were Created as LGBT and Christian, this is something I feel many of us can easily relate to. I know that for quite some time it was for me, at least. I was unsure of exactly where I should turn with my own unique situation. What clicked in my mind when I read that at the time was that I was seeking external approval from others when I should be rejoicing in the fact that no matter how anyone attempted to judge me I was fully accepted by God and this was between me and God. I wasn’t supposed to allow the opinions or suggestions or influences of others to define me or attempt to restrict me in a mold they defined. Most importantly of all, although validation from others would have been preferable to me at the time, it was certainly not a necessity or required for me to feel at peace with God and myself; after all, I needed to be truly free from any need to conform to the ideations of anyone about who I was Created to be. And as I took that to heart and began to comprehend, ascertain and truly understand and “get it” that God’s Love and Acceptance was all that I ever truly needed to be at peace with who I am, miraculous things began to happen. I encountered friends who were understanding and accepting who I could talk to as well as finding support in places and from sources from whence I never imagined I would or could.
Through these and many, many other wonderful spiritual insights I was blessed with in response to my honesty with God, faith and courage I did finally arrive at a total place of peace with my spirituality and sexuality. I knew that there was nothing unnatural about my sexuality, my orientation as a bisexual man was simply how I was Created, and I knew that there was nothing wrong with my expressing my bisexuality by being honestly committed to both a woman and a man. I was able to come out to others as who I was without being concerned what their reaction might be (even though in all honesty, I realize from experience that can be far easier spoken of than acted upon, and it has not always been an easy endeavor).
But despite what anyone might try to tell me, I knew I had the courage to truly be instead of being who others told me I should be. I felt freer than I had ever felt in the past. However, moving to the next level, and beyond that and becoming bold and courageous in my faith and feeling a sense of true purpose, belonging and empowerment was an even greater challenge that required courage in and of itself.
Old fears, and echoes of all of the holes others might have tried to punch into our sense of self esteem and well being can be quite insidious and in my experience, they are kind of metaphorical demons that don’t like to go away and be banished without a fight.
As I stated, it took some time for me not only to cease allowing the accusations borne of the fear and misunderstanding of others to create an at one time a seemingly impenetrable barrier between my fully knowing and experiencing God’s truly Unconditional Love for me as I am. I was able to completely release any old ideas about any aspect of who I was Created to be as being flawed or unacceptable to God and felt a sense of peace about all which accompanied that. But once I had let go of those fears, they seemed to insidiously manifest themselves in other fashions, often self-destructive ones: Sure, it wasn’t a sin to be who I am, but was I doing enough good works? Was I tithing sufficiently? Was I always giving enough of myself? Was I allotting and sacrificing and spending an adequate amount of my time in prayer, and was I praying for others in a greater proportion than I was for my own needs?
While all of these qualities are excellent to possess in abundance, I feel that God wants us to have a balanced and joyful life as we express them. I felt as if reaching a sense of balance was somehow inadequate, and that I had to have some type of self-martyrdom, some fashion of suffering or loss or lack in my life. Why was I constantly so worried that my expression of my faith was woefully inadequate? I was constantly berating and beating myself up if I was not always reacting with kindness, if I slipped and got angry about something or if I felt I didn’t do enough, rather than merely accepting that I am going to stumble in life, there are going to be trying times, and when I do I should strive to learn and move forward rather than dwelling on mistakes. I was experiencing anxiety over it that was not what I knew deep in my heart what God would want for anyone, and I knew Jesus advised us not to become ensnared in worry.
I snapped out of it one day when I realized the manner in which I was behaving was not unlike the prisoner who has been incarcerated for many long years is suddenly released and quickly finds himself returning to prison, as he has grown so accustomed to living in that veil of fear and in that way. Is that the kind of familiarity one would want? To me, it was not truly being free, and at the very least, a poor representation of “living boldly” in my newfound faith. What it turned out to be was all of the spiritual decay of those years when I had low self esteem and felt as if I did not deserve joy, and had fallen victim to the lies others had tried to embed in me asserting that I was as flawed as they had said. But how was I supposed to just let go of all of that? Was I supposed to just forget about all of it and live joyfully as if none of the fear had ever happened in the past (already full well knowing the answer)?
Around this same time, the question kept coming back to me yet again, building up with pressure from within my soul as I was determined not to allow any of the old fears to manifest in any form, and not to allow new wine to be put into an old wineskin, this time simplified and even more urgent: “If you knew you were truly loved with an Unconditional Love, and that there was nothing to fear, what would you do?”
There’s definitely truth and value about the concept of becoming child like to draw closer to God, and that was one key towards my learning to begin to let go of all of the fear and move from simply being to live with true courage, confidence in my faith and boldness. I thought about one of the things from my youth I still love to this day.
When I was a young child, I was one of those kids who dreaded going to the amusement parks. You see, I was terrified of the big rides, the roller coasters, the thrill rides. It was all my parents could do to convince me to go on the log ride at Six Flags, once. Fast forward to about 8 years past that time when I was on an outing with some friends in Junior High and they all went off to ride the big rides and left me by myself. I stood there, far below the twisted mass of steel and drops and loops, which looked horrifying, yet I continued to see train after train of people return alive, no worse for the wear, applauding and smiling despite having just endured what must have seemed like a brush with certain doom. I was safe, on terra firma, yet I felt as if I was seriously missing out on what could be a fun experience.
Long story short: my friend drags me on. I am absolutely terrified to the point where the ride operator asks if I need to get off and proceed to the embarrassingly named “Chicken Exit” but I adamantly refused. I thought for certain that my heart would push through my chest and that my fingernails would leave permanent indentations on the shoulder harnesses as the ride moved and up we went, until I thought we could not climb any higher. I thought I was going to cry as we crested the top and plunged with what seemed like terminal velocity over the first hill.
And I absolutely loved every moment of what followed – what had looked deceptively terrifying was pure unadulterated fun. By the end of the day I had ridden every ride that place had multiple times and was throwing my hands in the air instead of desperately clinging to the bar for dear life. It did not stop there, to this date I have ridden hundreds of the “big” rides hundreds of times, the more diabolically insane the better, from vertical drops to free falls to loops and whatever other creative ways modern technology has sought to appease the adrenaline junkies such as myself. In fact, I still go at least two times a month to go to the theme parks and have a great time getting on machines that some would never set foot near without a moment’s hesitation and eagerness. When others ask me if I am ever scared, I respond the same way: “No, because I feel confident that if I just follow the basic safety rules that I’m safe and I can have fun and enjoy the ride.”
And it struck me that there was a profound analogy there, which provided some insight into what it means to live boldly and with confidence in my faith. It helped to open up some new insight for me, as the ride life can prove to put any thrill machine out there to shame with its ups, downs, curves, twists and turns – yet, if I trust in God that so long as I do the best I can, I will be taken care of and learn to take each day on and enjoy it with eager excitement whatever lay around the next curve.
Let me begin by first defining what it is that I mean by becoming bold and courageous in faith, and what I feel that it means to exist in that state, or, at least what it means to me. I will start with some thoughts on that which I think it is not and why.
Confidence and boldness to me do not signify or entail any type of arrogance, nor attempting to claim or purport to know everything there is to know, in fact, quite the opposite has proven to be true in my experience. To me, living boldly in faith is signified by learning and growing in our faith through not only asking, seeking and knocking when we are striving to obtain new knowledge or insight, but having the courage to inquire of others who God brings into our lives as a result and then eagerly embracing the wisdom others have been gifted with as they pass it on to and share it with us-often in surprising answer to prayers we may have been holding in our hearts.
Boldness in faith to me is not thinking our way is the only way rather than a different way. Rather, it is signified in keeping both an open heart and mind, and meeting others who might feel prejudged, misunderstood or maligned in their beliefs with open acceptance, sharing what knowledge and gifts God has Given us which have proven to be beneficial to us with them should they turn to us seeking support, acceptance or hope. Even during those times when we may feel distant from or out of touch with our own faith, if we still strive to be still and know that it is there and merely give of ourselves in its seeming absence, it often has a way of coming back quickly and unexpectedly under those circumstances. I cannot count the times when I might have been feeling disenfranchised about something or another and in the encouragement I gave another or simply through spending the time to talk with them and share similar experiences we might have had and exchanging different insights on issues that I ended up finding my own strength renewed tenfold.
And certainly, living with boldness in our faith does not entail living with reckless abandon, either. It does not mean that we never take a chance or any type of perceived risk, but we are expected to act responsibly rather than carelessly and not take foolish risks or unnecessary chances as natural consequences can arise from such actions.
One of my favorite parables from the Bible which I feel best illustrates this point comes in Luke 4: 1-13, the passage relating the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert. After He is asked to prove He is the Child of God by performing miracles and tempted with wealth should He abandon His true self, and succumb to evil, in verses 4-9 He is faced with the following final temptation:
Luke 4:9-12: Then the devil took Jesus to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said, “If you are the Child of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘God will command the angels concerning you, to protect you’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone’.” Jesus answered, “It is said, ‘do not put the Sovereign your God to the test’.”
Although I feel that all of these stand alone as wonderful parables about the dangers of literally interpreting Scriptures and placing faith in God above all things, in my opinion they are just good plain common sense as well. What I see being most profoundly as the wisdom from this passage is that all of us as children of God, as blessed as we are, and however bold or daring we might be empowered to be by our faith, should never take our good Blessings and gifts for granted by acting irresponsibly or carelessly. While we live in a state of faith and courage rather than fear, I maintain that we should constantly remain aware that there can be consequences if we act out of fear rather than love or act irresponsibly.
In addition, I feel that even though we may as LGBT children of God are blessed with the freedom to be who we were Created to be without shame, fear or guilt, just as we should never live in a careless fashion which might result in putting us into some sort of jeopardy, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual, we also should never act with carelessness or wanton disregard towards any of the rest of God’s children. In 2 Timothy 1:7-8, the Apostle Paul states, “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self discipline.” To me, the self discipline means that a part of the boldness we can attain through truly embracing our faith and rejoicing in God’s Unconditional Love for all of us means that we show our gratitude for such by acting responsibly towards and with love, kindness, compassion for all others and forgiveness rather than perpetuating more negative emotions should they lash out in anger or fear or somehow fail to show us the same courtesy we would desire.
I realize this resembles a cliche from a Hollywood movie, but the adage that with great power comes great responsibility has an equal counterpart in this avenue as well: with the freedom to be who we are comes a great responsibility. I feel that perhaps one of the most telling demonstrations that I as a bisexual and somewhat unorthodox Christian can possibly offer in my faith is to act responsibly and respectfully towards others who may not understand the person who I am as well as to remain committed to living the truth of who I am with love and respect for all others. I refused to hide or repress my sexual orientation, but I also refused to act in any uncaring or unloving manner towards any others in my expression of it, and entered into my relationships with genuine honesty and love, which I still maintain. I remain committed to the belief that whether a bisexual person is faithful to one person or two, that everyone must be honest, sincere and respectful of one another and love and care for one another.
Those are some of my personal ideas about what being bold in our faith does not mean: boldness does not mean arrogance, it does not mean acting carelessly, and it does not mean acting irresponsibly or taking unnecessary chances. So what does it mean to me? And why is it important?
In my life, living boldly signifies that I am as equally unashamed of boldly proclaiming myself as a Christian and claiming my identity as a follower of the teachings of Christ as I am being comfortable with others knowing that I am a bisexual who is in a loving relationship with both a woman and a man. Believe me, I have witnessed even more shocked reactions from expressing my belief in God and Christ and the value which I place upon striving to apply the spiritual concepts and teachings I have interpreted from the Bible and the teachings of Christ than I have about coming out as bisexual and having more than one partner or any aspect of my sexuality.
For most people, it all turns out to be what I had hoped it would be: a non-issue which has no bearing on us being able to see one another for what we are: human and equal, and all children of the same God. I won’t sugar coat it: not everyone is always that accepting. But regardless of whether it is an issue or a non issue to who I know, what I have come to realize and am grateful to God for is that in the grand scheme of things, and in light of all of the work that all of us have to do in the world to make it a better place it is always a non issue.
It means that I accept my place as a child of God and realize that I as well as not only all other LGBT Christians but everyone truly deserves all of the Blessings God wants to give us, the abundant Life Christ came to teach us how to live, and all of the dreams and joys in life or desires of our heart we could ever hope to have. It means that even on the days that appear to be a “terrible, horrible, no good very bad day” that I can still find a smile in my heart and thank God for another day and wish another a good day.
It means that I am not afraid to take a stand for justice when I see someone being wronged, and having the courage to speak up for what I know in my heart is the right thing even when that might not be the popular response. In situations where I hear homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic cruel humor, being the person who does not laugh and states why and takes a moment to explain that words can sometimes bash harder and leave deeper, more lasting bruises than fists ever could. At times when people tell me I am crazy to forgive someone who has wronged me, it means I am joyful to hear them call me such. It means that the need to be “right” and have the “last word” is overridden by the need to be loving and respectful of my neighbor. It means I take the extra time to help the person in need who might call me in the midst of ten other things in a time of crisis, not because I feel like I have to or out of obligation, but because I truly desire to help another.
It means striving to always focus my energies on the positive rather than any type of negativity, even when it might seem trying to do so. I have let go of all of the old ritualistic and fear driven forms of begging prayer and supplication which I might have once engaged in, instead learning to communicate one on one with what I feel God to be, and my daily prayer always concluding with, “Help me to continue to live the sincere and honest truth of who I am with confidence and love and respect for others at all times to the best of my ability while helping anyone I can, and let every action I take, and every decision I make be based in love, passion, and faith rather than fear.”
It means remaining unafraid to be who I am and still maintain the faith that I was Created by God to be who I am, and whoever may not understand or attempt to convince me or another otherwise, there is truly nothing to be ashamed of or feel any urge to apologize for, but instead an abundance to rejoice about. And it means to dare to dream and realize that God has Blessed us with the ability not only to live free of fear but full of hope and inspiration to shine forth and be the very best we are intended to be and all that we were Created to be.
There are two additional teachings of Jesus which inspire me to emphasize the importance of living boldly in faith and to remind me of why it is possible to do so, even if and when circumstances might make us feel otherwise.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled underfoot”. -Matthew 5:13
I feel that what He is expressing here is that each and every one of us has our own unique “seasoning” if you will to bring to the mix of God’s diverse Creation. I see this as a call to action to not only discover that which it is that we are passionate about, but to go forth and be who we are and be so joyfully, so that our own unique gifts might enrich and inspire the lives of others, and further assist in creating the balance and harmony God wants to Create in the world. This is the verse just prior to Him referring to us as the light of the world, as we are encouraged to share our light with others. In living boldly without fear and with love and kindness, we can encourage and inspire others to do the same and play our part, whoever we are, in Creation.
As far as how we can develop a greater sense and maintain a sense of bringing the idea that we can live lovingly with boldness, there are two other verses which I feel are extremely empowering in building and maintaining the necessary spiritual strength to do so:
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the Dominion of God was coming, and he answered, “The Dominion of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For in fact, the Dominion of God is within you.” -Luke 17:20-21
Take note of the context: It isn’t on its way; it isn’t in some far off place; it is as close as being within us. It is equally within each of us, should we make the effort, or possess that tiny mustard sized spark of faith to acknowledge the possibility that whatever we want to accomplish or make of the life God Created for us, we’re already there and all we need do is look within for all the strength we could ever require. And with that kind of awareness, how could we remain anything but filled with excitement, inspiration and encouragement to make the very best of each moment, love the person who we were Created to be and not only pursue the desires of our heart but encourage others to do the same?
And for times when we might feel it is out of reach, I always try to remember to refer back to Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God” and know that even if I am briefly entertaining the part of myself which was fearfully made that everything will turn out alright.
There is a framed print on the wall of my office at home which I look to all of the time; although it is not a religious text, I still find it deeply spiritual in nature:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” – J. W. von Goethe, “The Power of Commitment”
What does this have to do with God? Everything, I think. If nothing else, it seems to illustrate the natural Laws that seem to take place when we commit to something with faith, and how even if at the time we may not truly know God yet, God is reaching out to us.
I originally bought it years and years ago, as I was first beginning my long faith journey, and made the commitment that I was never giving up on God or ever being untrue to who God Created me to be again. That journey remains one I am so grateful I am committed to. It continues, each and every day, and with it each day brings something new. And when I undertake some new dream or come up with a new idea for a new goal to accomplish, I re read it again and always find it inspiring.
Like the unknown Psalmist whose words in Psalm 139 inspired me so deeply years ago, gave me courage to really open up to God, and still ring true for me today, I am so grateful to God for being “fearfully and wonderfully made” as I am. I wish I could encourage and inspire others who might have been feeling afraid as I once was to take the leap to let go of the fear and move towards a life they have always longed and dreamed was possible but feared that it was not: one with a clear, peaceful unobstructed view of a God who Created and Loves them with an Unconditional Love; one where there is no doubt that regardless of sexual orientation or sexuality they are equally deserving of all of God’s Blessings and Love, and one filled with hope and joy, and all of the very best this wild and crazy ride of life has to offer. Because it really is possible, as all things are with God.
All you have to do is take that first bold step, trust and believe.
John Campbell is a native of Alabama.