Sun. Jan. 5, 2014 – NorthEast Community Church – Norwalk, CT

TRUE CONFESSION TIME – Although NECC is not a Catholic Church – it is part of “my tour”. I have been attending NECC for about 2 years now on a somewhat regular basis. It is held at West Rocks School, which seemed strange at first, but I have gotten used to it. Everyone is welcome there and for me it is kind of like my “bible study” part of the week.

I think the biggest difference for me is…..The Catholic Church grounds me in my structured faith journey that is comfortable and familiar whereas NECC challenges me to think out of the box a bit and to think about what it really means to be a true Christian. I kind of like the “compare and contrast” thing I have going on…..or maybe it is my true GEMINI self that enjoys both sides of the same coin! I am learning that it is the same God and Jesus hanging out in different places!

Anyhow……..No mention of the Epiphany today at NECC which was interesting…..Instead, the kick off to the new series was “TAKE HEART”. The pastor talked about being in the “storm” of life sometimes and figuring out whether it is “fear” that keeps you there or “faith” that helps to move you through it. Interesting!

The passage he referred to at one point was John 16:33: “I tell you all this that in me you may find peace. You will suffer in this world. But take heart (courage)! I have overcome the world”

I sat there thinking of the fear that keeps me stuck in places. Then that age old question came to mind – “IF YOU HAD NOTHING TO FEAR, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR LIFE?” I love this question!

I sometimes think I would do nothing different than what I have already done with my life, but then, if I am really honest with myself and really push myself, I might have to admit that I would do everything on my bucket list, if I really had nothing to fear!

Without fear, I would quit my job, travel the world, hike the Appalachian Trail, jump on a plane and go to Iceland, write the next best novel and spend my days at book signings, go to Africa to visit an orphanage, do missionary work in various 3rd world countries, and spend every afternoon with a different friend sipping wine or tea! My list goes on and on, but…….it is:

• Fear of no money that keeps me going back to work each week!
• Fear of losing my job that keeps me from writing a quick good-bye note to my boss and going off to hike the Appalachian Trail!
• Fear of conflict that keeps me from telling people what I really think all the time!
• Fear of going to jail that keeps me honest on the roads or keeps me from the excitement of robbing a bank!
• Fear of missing out on my children’s lives that keeps me from running away and traveling this country.
• Fear of losing time with my family and friends that keeps me from jumping on a plane and getting lost on the train systems of Europe stopping in quaint towns along the way.

We all have these fantasies I think (or maybe I am the only one for some of these!), but a healthy dose of fear also keeps us in check. It helps us face our responsibilities. It helps us all to play by the rules of society. It keeps the trains running and the planes flying. It keeps us in check with our families and friends most of the time.

That being said though, sometimes my “True Self” gets lost in the “fake self” because I fear what I may lose or may not gain if I let my guard down. Fear becomes the great protector against failure in a strange way and ends up holding me back sometimes. I do need to make sure that my fears remain reasonable so that they don’t overpower my rational side and hold me back from fully living life! I don’t want fear to let me forget where I really want to go in life or what I really want to accomplish. As the pastor said today, sometimes you need to truly believe in the bigger plan, the author of your life, and then work with Him to really have faith in the process in order to push through the fear and ultimately really live.



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