What kind of things worry us? Which type of people scare us? Who brings out hostility in us?
Nouwen reminds us that our fears and hostilities are not just reserved for those we might naturally be wary of. We can be guilty of fearing those who we see as an intellectual, professional, and I would add social, threat. Places that should be healthy seats of growth have become battlefields of not wanting to be the one to lose out, or to look bad.
A Large Crowd of Witnesses
12 Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. 2 We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side of God’s throne! 3 So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from sinners. Then you won’t get discouraged and give up.
Nouwen says no more here, but I believe such fear comes out of insecurity, of worrying that someone else has something better to offer than me, or that what I have to say is wrong, or that fundamentally I am not good enough.
But that is not what God says. God welcomes each and every one of us, and invites us to take part in his kingdom. We are each welcome to bring what we have to offer – our part is invaluable and without it the whole picture is not complete.
Yesterday Dorothy reminded me of this song, which seems to fit well here
Whatever we feel we have, or haven’t got to offer, God welcomes it and accepts us. We need not always be looking over our shoulder to check if we are good enough – because in him we are.
Do not worry about what others think. If they are sneering at your offering that is their problem – you are enough for God, as are they.
This year, lets keep the focus on Jesus
there is so much that worries me;
things I am afraid to say,
because of what others might think;
things I am embarrassed to share,
because my offering doesn’t seem as good;
parts of myself I keep hidden,
because I am afraid of what others will think.
Thank you Lord,
that you accept all I am,
and all I offer.
I bring it now to you
knowing that you
receive what I bring,
let go of me
This year for Advent – and into Christmas, some friends and I are using Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen. You’re welcome to join us on this journey. Feel free to comment here, or on Twitter using #adventbookclub
Also blogging on the #adventbookclub are: