And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.  And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.  And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified.  But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.”  And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
Picture this is you. You are so in the moment, so present, processing this crazy scene and the booming voice from heaven has just verified the thing you secretly doubted: Yes, this is the guy. The one you’ve waited for. Phew. Yikes! So many ramifications. You’re just having your mind blown, and then you are utterly terrified when the next part happens; the manifestations of Moses & Elijah and show up, your knees buckle and you drop like lead to the ground. You’re hiding your face in your lap just hoping to live through it and you’re already writing the story. My kids will never believe this, you think. It’s all true. He is who he says he is. This Jesus is God. Take me now, because I’m pretty much useless from here on out. Game; over. Can I go now? Then Jesus touches you and says, “Rise, and have no fear.”
Rise, and have no fear. Why would I ever believe that is possible? People say things like that to me sometimes. Don’t worry, Lynne! It’s going to be fine! But most of the time when someone bids me this wish, it’s something short of Have no fear; it’s really more like, Suck it up. And honestly, it depends quite a lot on who is saying the words. I want so much to take strong encouragement from friends, colleagues, even heroes and mentors, but the message gets augmented by WHO is giving me my marching orders.
For instance, I’ve been growing out a short haircut. And the picture in my a few things about me page is not recent – so sue me. I like that picture. The other day, my friend said that my hair looks great, and I look so much younger now that it’s longer. Inside, I thought, “Wow, that was so nice of her to say! I think that looking younger sounds like a good thing!” But I know that she doesn’t have to live with this in-between hairstyle that is unkempt-looking and is probably about to get severely chopped off on my next bad day. Her opinion was helpful, but, when my daughter says, “Don’t cut it.”, that weighs more. She has seen it all. She knows I’m feeling geeky about the grow-out, and she knows something I don’t know about the finish line. She loves me. I trust her. For at least a few more days, I will not chop off my hair.
When Jesus says, “Rise and have no fear.” to me and you, it is from a place of knowing exactly what our fear is doing to us, and how releasing it will transform us. He also knows right here and now that you and I are clutching fear, eyes squeezed shut, even though he is reaching out to touch and to speak freedom from fear into our lives.
There is a quote I love that my people all know because I say it annoyingly often. If you have never heard this short explanation of the phrase, give a watch as Oprah explains its significance.
When people show you who they are believe them (the first time). – Dr. Maya Angelou
We have a sense for who to trust, most of us. And we can look back at regrets and, if we let ourselves, we know the moment that we should have taken notes. That friend who you thought would be your BFF till the end of time, but who seemed to have a lot of trouble showing up when the worst things were happening to you – probably showed you they were untrustworthy 100 times. This has happened to me; I’ve believed what I chose to believe about people instead of what they were begging me to believe with their actions. In the end, when there was an end, I was the one to blame because I did know better. When people show you who they are believe them. Of course there’s grace, and of course people do change, but even then, they will show you that too. Believe them if they show you, and don’t if they don’t.
No judgement here. Jesus is more than able to show you who he is so just ask him to. Then believe him.
As I wrap up #31daysoffrailty for the #write31days challenge, this is what I want you to know about frailty – above all. It is safe to be with that perceived weakness, that thing you harshly call pathetic, and to be patient with it until it works out into the bold shape of strength in your life. It’s become the thing I am choosing because, friend, I want it bad. To live brave, to me, means being all there, all me, and to be caught up helping others do the same. Because being brave is not a solo act – and it’s no good just spent on me, myself, and I.
I pray for you now, whoever you are – and friends and family whose faces I am picturing – that YOU will be kind to yourself about the frail places you uncover, and give yourself the mercy it takes to transform them from dry seeds to fertile harvests of courage. I’ll cheer for you. You cheer for me. That’s how it works. Amen.
P.S. I plan to keep writing. Do you plan to keep reading? Watch for announcements this week and fun opportunities I’ve got cooking. Subscribe if you’d like to stay in-the-know. Thank you for your kindness. #Sabbathtime starts NOW. oxooxx