By Rev. Brandon Nagel, Senior Minister
One of our core beliefs in Unity is that the things that we focus on are the things that persist in our lives. For example, if we focus on living a healthy life then more often than not we tend to make the sort of choices that lead to living a healthy life. If we choose to focus on being happy, we tend to find moments of happiness in our lives. However, this principle is something that can also work against us. If we choose to focus our thoughts on fear and things that worry us, well… we tend to find more and more worry, stress and fear showing up in our lives. So, ultimately living a life that is truly fulfilling on all levels is about growing our awareness of what we focus our energy and attention on and then making the commitment to focus on what we want instead of what we see.
This year at Unity Church of Overland Park, we are "Livin’ the Christ Life" and as we explore what it means to live a Christ life, this idea of focusing on what we want to experience becomes really important. There are so many distractions out there and unless we consciously focus on what it is we want to experience, it’s easy to get sucked into a black hole of negativity. While I don’t want to assume, I will bet that you (like myself) occasionally find yourself in a space of worry, fear or some other negative emotion based off something you saw on your Facebook or Twitter feed. Russian influence in our country’s democratic process, war with China, racism, terrorism and more are all present and ready to drag us into fear and worry if we will allow them to do so. And once you have been sucked in, that fear can become very real and I at least struggle in getting it out of the way permanently.
So, what do we do about it? How do we remind ourselves to focus on the truth that we know spiritually and not allow fear to have power over us? Unity’s theology can make it easy for us to misunderstand our creative power. I'd guess we often think we should be able to pray away these negative aspects of our world. The truth of this process is much different. When I find myself in a place of fear related to world events, my prayer is not that the events change. I know that we are the ones who are responsible for changing the world. My prayer is that the fear that is triggered by whatever is going on has no power over me. It has always been my experience that fear paralyzes action and so anything we can do to help move past the fear is vital to our ability to make a difference in our lives. When I catch myself filling up with fear (or worry or dread or anxiety) I, as quickly as possible, say to myself, “I release the power that this (fear, worry, anxiety, or whatever) has over me and I reaffirm the power of God which is my truth.”
It’s not always an immediate shift, but the more I can remember to state that, or something like it, the faster I regain my composure and the quicker I am able to take the steps I need to in order to do what is mine to do. Because that’s the way this whole thing works, we are the ones responsible for creating the change we wish to see. So, instead of praying for God to intervene, pray instead to be freed of those things that are holding you back, those illusions which do not serve your highest good. I know that fear can be the most daunting of these illusions. It drains us mentally, physically and spiritually. However, if we can just remember to shift our focus away from the fear and toward the light within us, we will find we have all the power we need and more to overcome whatever it may be that we are facing. And so, no matter what it may be that you are facing; as you release the power it has over you, may the light of God surround you, enfold you and protect you.