Unsubscribed

Over the past couple of days, I've been engaging in a ritual that I enact at least twice a year: Mass Unsubscribing---or, to put it another way, the Cleansing of the Email.  

Email marketing is sneaky.  You buy a few things online, or at a store that requires your email, and the next thing you know your inbox is full of advertisements.  

The result: You end up receiving hundreds of emails every single day that are nothing but electronic junk, cluttering your inbox, and increasing the chance of overlooking the real messages that you need to see (like this one!).  

So, at least twice a year I go through the ritual of unsubscribing from very nearly every email marketing list I've been subscribed to in order to free me for a while from the clutter and electronic noise.  It's pretty liberating. 

Wouldn't it be nice if in your low moments, when your self-talk has turned dark and hopeless, that you could just "unsubscribe" from them? 

I think that one of the most erroneous teachings to come out of the dominant Christian culture over the past few decades is the idea that you actually can unsubscribe from your fears, doubts, and anxiety... if you just have enough faith.  

This kind of teaching is nothing but bad theology wrapped up in self-help jargon and peppered with a hint of religiosity to make it sound better.  The idea that you can summon enough faith on your own to be free from anxiety, dread and fear isn't just false, it's dangerous.  

The only way to unsubscribe to all of the negative noise in your head is to first realize that there is no way you can do it on your own.  You will need help from people who love you, and from people who know how to help.  

You will also need to fully embrace the belief that you are not alone in this.  Not only are there loving people around you, you are completely surrounded by the love of God expressed through Jesus, who endured the worst the world has to offer to ultimately set you free from all fear.  

Author Adele Ahlberg Calhoun puts it like this:   
Following [Jesus] doesn't erase all sorrow.  Following requires a risk: the belief that not only are death and sorrow not the worst things that can happen, but they are something Jesus bears with us. 
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed right now, know that you are not alone.  Know that there is a way forward for you.  And know that Jesus is with you.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 

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