God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Believing in Yourself

As I was preparing for my sermon this week I was trying to figure out how I thought the rejection of Jesus in Nazareth related to my theme of self-esteem.  I know when I picked it I thought they fit.  But as I was stumped when I got in the car to head home from the office and a song started playing.  And I knew where to start. 
Made a wrong turn once or twice
Dug my way out, blood and fire
Bad decisions, that's alright
Welcome to my silly life

Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Miss 'No way, it's all good'
It didn't slow me down.
Mistaken, always second guessing
Underestimated, look I'm still around

You're so mean when you talk
About yourself. You were wrong.
Change the voices in your head
Make them like you instead.

So complicated,
Look happy, You'll make it!
Filled with so much hatred
Such a tired game
It's enough, I've done all I could think of
Chased down all my demons
I've seen you do the same
(Ohh ohhhhhhh)

The whole world's scared, so I swallow the fear
The only thing I should be drinking is an ice cold beer
So cool in line and we try try try but we try too hard
And it's a waste of my time.
Done looking for the critics, cause they're everywhere
They don't like my jeans, they don't get my hair
Exchange ourselves and we do it all the time
Why do we do that, why do I do that (why do I do that)?

I'm Pretty, pretty, pretty

Pretty, pretty please, don't you ever, ever feel
Like you're less than *** perfect
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel
Like you're nothing, you're *** perfect to me
The video for this song which can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocDlOD1Hw9k (MA rating); it is about suicide and bullying.  You can hear the pain in the lyrics.  Of someone who didn’t always feel like they belonged or believed in themselves.  Who has been told that she is different, but has reached a point where she mostly remembers to turn the other voices out.  She knows now who she is.  That those voices outside of her will still appear, but they no longer control her.  SHe wants to share this lesson that you are perfect to me.  I remembered this interview of Pink where she was talking about her song Stupid Girls, which is about the startlets who play dumb and dress a like and have lost themselves.  In some of the interviews around this song she spoke about not fitting in as a child.  She was not considered pretty, was not quiet, she wanted to sing rock and not be a pop princess.  Somewhere along the way, making her way out of a wild childhood, she learned to accept herself and what she was good at.  She learned and continued to be her.  In a world that says women are to be thin, quiet, and pretty; she didn’t fit the ideal being loud, bigger than size 0, and not conventionally beautiful.  Pink learned to value herself and helps us through her art to value ourselves. 
It’s not easy being different.  It’s not easy hearing voice tell you: you are not thin enough, pretty enough, quiet enough.  How do you learn to be yourself.  The story of Jesus’ rejection at Nazareth help us to see this too.  He has come to his hometown for the weekend.  Maybe he had come home to see his mom and visit family.  And while home he is present for the Sabbath.  As part of his practice, he heads to church.  Being the Religious raised in this congregation, they invite him to read the scripture.  I have been present for many of those invitations.  Every time we were home to visit Grandma my dad was invited to preach at his home church on his vacation.  So Jesus picks up a scroll and begins to read:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
   because he has anointed me
     to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
   and recovery of sight to the blind,
     to let the oppressed go free, 
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ Luke 4:18-19 
He then says this is what I am meant to do and be.  For the rest of my life, I will show you how this is about me.  He spends his ministry freeing people from captivity, healing those who are sick, opening the eyes and ears of those who can’t see the coming of God and sharing the coming of God here and now.  Then it seems to go seriously wrong.  The people are amazed by how well he speaks.  Can that really be Joseph’s son?  I mean he’s the one who pulled his sister's hair and took that apple off the tree.  He fought with my son in school.  He can’t possibly be “the one.”  When knew him when…So maybe when the people said, "Isn’t that Joseph’s son"; he was hearing all those voices that spoke about his unwed mother.  So he speaks about finding the one God needs you to be with.  Not always the conventional choice.  Remember the prophets sometimes did that.  They healed the outsider and took food from the stranger.  The people of Jesus’ hometown were not thrilled with this answer.  They dragged him out of town and were thinking of throwing him off the cliff.  But Jesus knows who he is and what he is called to do, so he passes on through the crowd. 
One of the important journey’s of our lives is to learn to love and accept ourselves:  to know who were are and accept who we are: beloved children of God.  We need to be able to hear those voice that tell us who we think we should be, but not let them define us.  One of the authors who has been influencing my thoughts is Brene Brown.  In her book, the Gift of Imperfection:  Let Go of Who You think You’re Supposed to Be and Embracing Who You Are,” speaks powerfully about becoming whole-hearted.  She argues one step is to be authentic.  We have to learn to let go of what others think about us. 
One of the stories she tells is about fitting in verses belonging.  We often try to fit in, conforming ourselves to the group.  So when you walk around a high school, you see all these kids who are trying so hard to be an individual and yet they all have the same hair, clothes, eye make up.  What we need is not to fit it but to find a place of belonging.  Brown tells the story of a scientist who learned to accept himself because his parents taught him to embrace his difference.  When he came home and told his parents he and his friends were translating books into Klingon that encourage him.  They took him to Star Trek convention and he learned that it was ok being himself.  He embraced his creativity and brains and learned to be himself.  His parents his accepted his geeky non jock self. 
The journey to hope involves learning to believe in yourself.  

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