Question: Mary from Oklahoma, writes:
Have you ever been scared? When people criticize your ideas, how do you remain courageous enough to keep your faith?
Answer: By Eric Alexander
Thanks for your question Mary! Early in my life I was pretty bold in sharing my ideas. Then as I got older and into high school and college, I found that it was much easier to be accepted by the tribe if my ideas were in harmony with theirs. I greatly regret falling into that trap, and I spent the better part of a decade trying to fit in and be who everyone else expected me to be. It was miserable to be honest.
When I hit my late 20’s it was as if a fire alarm went off in my soul. I went to theology school and realized that the more I buried my truth, the more unhappy I became. Conforming to the tribe just made me sad and anxious, and it eventually came to a head. I made a commitment to myself of authenticity.
So absolutely I have been scared, I still am sometimes. But now in hindsight I know that burying my ideas and hiding who I am ultimately just makes me more miserable. We just have to be true to our own spirits in this short and fleeting life we are given. So it’s ultimately pretty easy now to keep my faith, because I have experience to know that living by faithfulness is much healthier, even if in certain moments it is experienced as pure dread.
Q and A originally published here – As a member of this online community, you’ll receive insightful weekly essays, access to all of the essay archives, access to message boards which will connect you with other believers in exile, and answers to your questions in our free weekly Q and A.
About the Author
Eric Alexander is an author, speaker, and activist. He is a board member at ProgressiveChristianity.org, and is the founder of /9-guidelines-of-jesism/”>Jesism, Christian Evolution, and the Progressive Christianity and Politics group on Facebook. Eric holds a Master of Theology from Saint Leo University and studied negotiations at Harvard Law School, and authored the popular children’s emotional health book Teaching Kids Life IS Good.