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Eric's Sunday Sermon: Shyness, Insecurity, and Courage
We Must Let Our Beauty Shine Through
There was this fellow that to my understanding has performed probably nearly 20 thousand times. He was a big “star”. Now it is my further understanding that before many performances he would puke from nerves of shyness. Performers call it “stage fright”. Yet he is a legend and part of an even bigger legend of performing artists. His name is Ringo Starr.
Now there was another fellow who for a time came upon great doubt in his belief. He literally retreated to a retreat to contemplate and of course pray. He was struggling with the intellectual part of being a Pastor. One could say the theological vs. the pure spiritual. He was bent toward the pure spiritual but associates chastised him enough to make him doubt. What we would call insecure. He faced that insecurity and arose where what is now called the “Witness Stone”. That would be Rev. Billy Graham.
Now it would seem that any real examination here reveals that the base problem is fear. Before I publish I have fear. Probably that gray area that is a combination of shyness and insecurity. That area where the two spheres overlap. And that is my boogey man. Charles Shultz was a pretty darn fine cartoonist. He seemingly confidently published thousands and thousands of the “Peanuts” series. He had lifelong fear of flying. But he made himself fly. He is credited with saying; “I know enough about fear to know if you give in to it, it grows. Pretty soon, I would be afraid to leave my house. Eventually, I couldn’t leave my room. We have to work against fear.”
Seems to me that what he is talking about is courage for courage’s sake. That may sound odd but if we think about it courage is a learned trait. It is almost like a muscle we must exercise to keep it in shape. Isn’t our brain really half organ and half muscle in the theoretical sense? But courage only works if the brain works in conjuncture with our spirit. There has never ever ever been a brave man who was not afraid. Without the fear there simply can be no bravery.
As with faith it is much the same. If one has never experienced doubt then the faith is empty. Otherwise what would the faith be? While we know worry yields us nothing it does do one thing, it requires us to “exercise” our faith. And yet as in all things both faith and courage must not be stagnant, it must continue to grow lest they become only a noun and never a verb.
Sometimes Love Requires Us To Overcome Our Insecurities
It would seem that we often learn as much if not more by teaching something than by studying it. For a recovering Bible Thumper as myself I found I learned far more preparing a sermon than I did studying the Bible for the sake of “knowing” it. And then the delivery and then weaving in the questions we want the parishioner to ask themselves. Every spiritual endeavor or relationship is fully personal. While our love is fully intertwined with all others that connection to the love/God needs to be as though we pray in a closet. If the relationship between a worshipper and the earthly leader is only one of accepting what the leader says as truth then the leader has failed.
It is cool to note here that Jesus taught in parables mainly. Requiring the students to “think” for themselves. Of course the Socratic method and even the Dharma do much the same. It seems to me that if a school teacher tells the child what to think it boxes in the child and does not really exercise her brain.
What does this have to do with shyness, insecurity and courage you may be wondering. The point is that if we know something it takes courage to overcome these things in order to have the confidence to teach. Not so far as arrogance for sure. And here is the real courage for those who teach and preach. One must be confident enough to include the direction to question the teacher. Again we see Jesus best at this, Socrates and Buddha close seconds.
Their faith and courage must be strong enough along with their wisdom to invite rigorous examination of what they say to be true. And very importantly they must maintain the constant courage to allow themselves to be corrected and taught themselves.
A strong point here is that our courageous teachers very likely have some shyness and insecurity in their knowledge. But they face that fear and have the courage to overcome it. As with any artist, athlete or academic what we speak of here is not some take it or leave it deal. When we have something to share we have absolutely no right not to share it due to insecurity or shyness. That is unacceptable in a world where good is sorely need to overcome the bad. In short we have a duty to be courageous, to face the demons and overcome. We must let our light shine lest we waste a gift from our creator.
Such Beauty In Nature, We Are A Part Of Nature
You Cannot Give Back You Mantle
Courage Without Love?
As discussed above I find that teaching is perhaps the best teacher. So is often my want I relate some moments of learning by teaching a youth and the reflections of an elder son. So they have these large elementary school circles outside. Awards are given. Some citizenship stuff but mainly academic achievement awards. Yes isn’t that cool that at our school they have winners and not just everybody gets to “tie”. Well needless to say the boy is an overachiever. But he runs out to get his award really weird like. So of course I asked him about that. The answer as expected was basically that he was too shy in front of the whole school. I tried to explain to him that being weird like that made everyone look at him more. That made sense to him. And he changed that behavior.
But then the hard part popped up at an opportune time. You know the drill, we relate how afraid he was to dive off the diving board but when he finally did it was fun. Same for diving into the waves, same for bike riding, blah blah blah. Then a perfect example of fear effecting us. He related that sometimes he wished he did not get the awards so that he would not have to go “out there”.
Isn’t that us big kids? Isn’t that me? Self-sabotage at it’s finest. The phrase “Lord take this mantle from me”. Sticks in my mind. The song above “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” if looked at in this light fits.
Something to think about here is that kind of braggadocios, bullying type arrogance. We see it. I railed against those people for years. I would challenge and “shout” them down. I would dislike them and probably I even gossiped about them behind their backs. Folks that seem to think the more repetitions and volume would make their opinions right and others wrong. I would use my sharp tongue and wit to “win” against them. And you can imagine this in the world of lawyers where I once resided. This I confess is true.
Until one day somehow, someway I realized it was just their maladaptive way of overcoming the fear of shyness and insecurity.
Let us try to overcome these fears with a courage born of love.