Isaiah 12:2 – God is indeed my salvation; I will trust in the Lord and won’t be afraid. Yes, the Lord is my strength and my shield; God has become my salvation. 

The strength and shield referenced in this passage reflects the courage and openness it takes to recognize when we’ve veered toward becoming enemies of ourselves, thus enemies of our shared humanity. All has been forgiven by God for the sake of replenishing our love from the seeds of our core. The mistake(s) you made in the past? Forgiven. Divine forgiveness is not a pass “Go” card to march along as though the mistake was never made. It’s a compassionate invitation from God to recognize the inner turmoil we feel after recognizing we made a mistake. This inner turmoil, a sibling of our conscience, functions as a signal. When we look at our mistakes honestly and with curiosity, we can see…beneath layers of whatever-got-the-best-of-us is fear in the driver’s seat. Perhaps fear of being lonely, fear of failing, fear of losing something or someone, fear of pausing, fear of listening. And the deeper we trust the Lord to carry us with divine momentum toward salvation, fear evaporates. Anew, our intuition becomes fortified by self-respect and pragmatism, greater connection to our shared humanity, and infectious love that soars.

Dear Lord, thank You for leading us toward the science and experiential learning that demonstrates the functions of our emotions. Thank You for giving us options. As we reflect, observe, and pivot, please remind us that we are always uplifted by you even as we are learning difficult lessons. Fear has a function: for our species to survive, never to punish. As fallible humans, when we misinterpret Your signals, please remind us to remain open to reconsidering. We want to learn, and we need to learn. Amen.