Got Words? is all about marching to beat of your own drum with the emphasis on the creative. Yet, there is a struggle for those who do make their own mark on the world with a desire for their expressions to be appreciated, if not understood, by someone. Maybe not by the masses, but at least a few people who may share a creative, spiritual, or even sexual side you share (the list is endless). These are re-vamped posts from my old site that speak to inspire and encourage those on that journey.
For access to prior parts of this series, see links at bottom of article.
Marching to the Beat of Your Own Drum Pt. III
Written by LA Jamison
Edited by Shari Staten
When I was in the closet, I was friends with a guy named Chad. Chad lived in Canada and he was struggling with being in the closet.Of course, we didn’t refer to the issue in those realistic terms. To Chad and I, the issue was about whether God was approving of us living a gay lifestyle or not. Both of us had experience in Churches where being gay was on par with any other sin of the flesh (envy, stealing, alcoholism, murder) or worse. We were tied to these places of worship and bigotry by the music that moved us so deeply and the eloquent, manipulative nature of the words in the teachings we heard about homosexuality. Being “moved” doesn’t begin to describe the overwhelming sensation experienced while singing praises to contemporary rhythms and melodies followed by theological motivation to live right. We felt transformed and spiritually filled in these places. How could those who were so surely connected to God be teaching us the wrong “songs” about God’s view on homosexuality?
If either of us had doubts, the other would call on a sermon backed up with misinterpreted scripture. At other times we would call up experiences of powerful worship and what that worship must mean in these places (that saw being gay as a dire sin).For us, that meant something was wrong with us—deeply wrong.C had had been molested by his father and thrown out to the streets as a young man. He later had the misfortune of being coerced into an affair with an ex-gay minister. So much for “praying the gay” away. Chad had gotten to a point that I wasn’t. He had enough. He saw the manipulation and the coercion of the ministries he had been part of and shut it all down. Chad chose to stop listening to his Christian music, stop going to his present Church and remove himself from ex-gay influences. He explained that he wanted to hear God’s voice and his own voice for himself so that he would know what was real. I was very concerned and didn’t know what to make of my friend as he shut down what I considered important avenues for God to speak through.
This is something foreign today in our 24 hour access to friends, news, music and more to stay “connected.”Cell phones, tablets, Facebook, twitter…oh my! The list is endless. It is harder for us to pull away now more than ever and yet this was a common practice for Jesus himself. Take Jesus as your Lord or as a character in an age old story: the message still can change your life. One of the most famous stories in Scripture is that of Jesus walking on water out to the disciples in a fishing boat. Peter makes a brave attempt to join him (Matt 14: 22-34). However, before Jesus ever got to such a spiritual centeredness to walk across water, the scripture says he did something very important first: “...and after he (Jesus) dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.” (v.23) It is interesting to note that while Jesus was away the disciples on the boat were wrestling with a wind storm. Isn’t that our fear?If we disconnect from the world and even our ministries, won’t things fall apart? Yet, while the men were out on the boat wrestling with the winds in their own strength, Jesus was stealing himself away to get into God’s power which ultimately saved them all from the storm. So, what was the result for Chad stealing himself away?He came out of the closet and went on to find the life he was meant to live. It is sometimes the people, places, and things in our lives that are most precious to us that we need to disconnect from to get in touch with ourselves and the Divine. The good news is it isn’t forever. It is only for the time necessary to determine when you are on the path.Your higher power may show you that you have been listening to the wrong voices. By going to the still and silent places, we become even more deeply connected and rooted within.Who doesn’t want that?
Another example comes from a student I used to work with that was autistic. This student had a difficult time remaining in his seat all day without severe meltdowns that ultimately sent him home. I was sort of naturally gifted to follow my intuition and started taking the kid to play in the gym hallway with a ball or take the student on periodic short walks around the school when needed. It was something that the staff hadn’t seen before. The child was such a frequent meltdown that the teachers had him were relieved that this seemed to make him happy and that it progressively worked its way into him staying in classrooms longer. However, we also got tremendous push back and were accused of breaking the rules by teachers (who were not his teachers) for not being in his classes the entire time. People looked at us as if we were robbing a bank as soon as they lost site of how stressed out this kid was before the activities calmed him down. Fast forward years later: this student grew to be in classrooms full days and full periods from about 20% of the time to 85% of the time. He knew how to calm himself down. In addition, some of the staff who were supportive later began taking walk breaks not only in the halls but outside of the building on lunch because they have learned how healthier it is in general to take a walk break and have some time for reflective activity. These are mentally and emotionally healthy individuals. When you get to that inner or a divine voice, in some cases, you are going to meet with resistance, even within yourself. The levels of resistance vary. You may get a little resistance or a lot but just like we do on a windy day, we must put our head down and push through the wind and rain to reach our goals. Just like my student and I, you can glance at the kudos or disapproval but focus on what you know you need to do for yourself.I speak as someone who faces the “a lot” of resistance. Isn’t it better and healthier to know you can take care of yourself than feeling you must copy or rely on others? That your goals and identity are shaped by you and not someone else?
So, if you are ever unsure what God is really telling you or you are confused or stressed out by the messages you are hearing in the world or even through a ministry, do what Jesus did. Steal yourself away for quiet reflection.It may be a few moments, a few hours or a few days. This is where and how you will get in touch not only with your own drum beat to walk in life but perhaps even a bit of the divine. I believe the two are closely intertwined but no matter what YOU believe, this will help you get in touch with yourself when you take time out for yourself. When you come back, you will be walking on the choppy waters of life instead of always being overcome by them.
Add your comments below, I would love to hear from you!
See Part One Here
See Part Two Here