Don’t ya just hate it when you forget to write down something you’ve heard that is profound and life-changing?
In 2006, I attended a round-table discussion of interfaith LGBTQ leaders during the Equality Forum. Lots of thought-provoking ideas were discussed. One in particular, at the time, was life-changing for me. The sad thing is that I don’t remember the exact details.
Essentially, though, one of the presenters said LGBTQ people of faith are in the position to have a huge, positive impact on the world because of the struggles and obstacles we’ve faced in order to believe, practice faith, and live authentic lives while the religious majority have rejected us. We’ve had to fight harder than our hetero counterparts, thus making our tenacity that much more fierce. At the time I heard this, I felt charged to stop wallowing in my fears of “can I be an authentic Christian and a practicing lesbian?” and begin taking steps towards practicing my faith as if there were no obstacles in my way.
I believe this to be true and possible, but not limited to just the LGBTQ community. (I think it would be arrogant to believe otherwise.) Whenever anyone challenges status-quo and (meaningless or outdated) traditions, dives deeply into the Divine, and experiences the power of individualized spiritual intimacy, he or she steps into the unknown – the path of walking by faith.
The unknown path builds faith, trust, and hope. It empowers individuals to dream the Divine’s dreams, and to take action regardless of internal and external factors. This alone is not only life-changing, but potentially world-changing.
Practicing and experiencing the miraculous appears differently on each of us who walk the path by faith. There is no right or wrong, better or worse. We are only accountable to the nature of our personal relationship with the Divine. One small action may have a ripple effect, extending beyond our limited point of view. Conversely, some individuals take huge actions by faith, while the world judges it as an act of personal interest as opposed to Divine obedience. It’s not the size (amount or extent) of our actions, but the simple process of walking by faith.
Remember the story of the widow’s mite? Jesus said that she gave more than the rich man because she gave all she had to give. Having an impact in our community does not depend on our possessions or resources, but on our willingness to follow the Divine’s individual call inside each of us. Faith in action begins with willingness.
Consider your personal experiences of being fiercely tenacious while the odds were stacked against you. Giving up was not an option, such as in the case of the woman with the issue of blood. In my early 20′s I adopted the word tenacious as a self-descriptor. Read any of my personal blog stories, and you’ll get a sense of the obstacles I’ve faced. Practicing fiercely tenacious faith does not depend on personal actions alone, it’s also a gift from the Divine. Hebrews 12:1-3 encourages believers to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Remember this in those moments of feeling defeated, powerless, and faithless.
Faith has always been a two-way relationship with the Divine, and not the sole result of our actions. If you’re not sure this statement is true, next time you find yourself in a hopeless situation, take the time to literally sit still and be quiet until you “hear” the voice of Peace. I’m willing to wager my entire self-worth and reputation on the faithfulness of the Divine. Not only because I’ve read the Bible and attend church, but because I’ve personally experienced God’s faithfulness and “heard” the voice of Peace in the quiet, still moments.
Regardless of our faith practice or belief system, no matter our orientation or gender identity, the moment we listen and follow the quiet, still voice inside of us is the moment we step into the unknown. Walking by faith leads to radical, internal and external changes. This is how the tenacious, fierce ones will have a huge, positive impact on the world.