Why Faith Matters…..Vulnerability & Courage.

It’s been a privilege and really great to read the responses from others about “Why Faith matters” to them.  Guest blogging works!  But, I realize, as I conclude that section of my blog, I haven’t given folks my own answer.  And honestly, I hesitate to do so.  There are a lot of reasons I suppose….I figure no one wants to hear that; it seems like I’m giving the “right” answer; I have to get the last word.  But if I’m really honest, the reason is….because I’m scared.

My whole life, I’ve struggled with the notion of being in control.  I think that’s why I loved sports so much growing up: I loved the idea that I could work towards success, and I seemingly had complete control on whether that success happened.  I could train harder and run a faster time; I could win more wrestling matches.  I like success, and the feeling of being powerful that comes from it.  I like knowing I was able to make that happen.  Disclaimer here: What I’m not going to say is that success and control are evil, that I saw the error of my ways, or that I’m ashamed of my pursuit of power.  I’m ok saying that because for the most part, my issue with control, power, and success didn’t work exploit or harm others (at least intentionally, or that I know of).  It was more because deep down, I wanted to supress that dark feeling, a really powerful feeling, that honestly….I was powerless.  I wasn’t in control….if people knew my weaknesses, if I showed them, I’d get exploited in the end. Scared.

And throughout my life, that has had a serious effect…mainly on my relationships with others.  Because in the end, I felt like letting anyone in, being vulnerable with others would lead to the inevitable conclusion that I’d be rejected in the end.  I’d be a failure.  To be honest, it’s why I probably didn’t acheive what I could have on the wrestling mat, it’s why a lot of my relationships in the past failed, it’s why the isolation I feel more than I admit to often turned into a reality.  I chose to close myself off, not take risks – because being vulnerable lead to exploitation.

That was a bit lengthy….but necessary for answering “why faith matters.”  Faith matters for me because the Gospel, the good news, is that we are assured of God’s enduring presence, a relationship, through all things in life – moments of death and resurrection, isolation and friendship, sorrow and joy.  That’s it.  The gospel message of the Christian faith is nothing more than this truth.  We’re promised no matter how we perform in the game of life, God will remain in relationship with us – one that doesn’t exploit or shame us at that.  To be certain, we experience serious consequences of our actions of rebellion, we are held accountable for our actions and attitudes towards God and other people, (that is a dynamic of not only faith, but with relationships in general) but the relationship remains intact always.  The point of faith isn’t whether God will bless me with his presence or not.  The point of faith is that has already blessed me with his everlasting presence. 

That’s comforting for me, hopeful.  I find life in that.  Faith matters to me because if I’m assured of that relationship, I can actually be vulnerable – with God, with others; in my life and in the world.  I can take risks in relationships, I can dare to use my talents and gifts to bring life into the world, I can be honest with others….and I can dare to expect the same from others.  In short, this faith in a God who is always present with us – fully revealed in Jesus Christ – compels me to be courageous in being vulnerable with others, because it’s in and only in being vulnerable can we ever expect to share true, abundant life with others. 

Faith matters….so that I might have the courage to be vulnerable with others.  So that I might be life-giving as a person, so that I might give life to others.

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