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Fear, Love and Self-Preservation

May 2, 2005

Yesterday was our first Sunday (after last week’s intro) of our "Shut Up and Live" series.  After reading through The Barbarian Way together, we find ourselves at a place where we’re asking, "What’s next?"  What does it look like to begin moving from participation in a civilized religion to living a barbaric faith.  This week we talked about the movement from fear to love.  As Josh and I talked together about the things we fear, we both agreed that our fears were no longer about tangible things, but about intangible things.  There is no more fear of not having a good home, a safe place to live, the latest gadgets, security and certainty.  I fear less and less not having things that can be seen, those things we’ve always been told are necessary for living this sort of "American Dream" we’ve come up with.  Fortunately, I’m committed first to Jesus and second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) to my American citizenship, and am therefore free from the fear of not having that American dream come true.  The things I fear have deepened, they are deeply personal, deeply spiritual (not indicating that the two can be separated, because they can’t).  There is in me a fear of being known and at the same time a fear of not being known, yet these two fears do not cancel each other out.  They are, in actuality, very near to one another.

The fear of being known, the belief that if I truly share all of myself with people then I will inevitably be hurt, judged and rejected, stems from a lack of trust in people.  There is no need to delve into those things that have shaped this lack of trust in me, but there are a number of them, and probably more than I’ve been able to dig up.  Whatever those things are, they have lead me here, where I now stand, believing that God is more merciful and has more grace than his creation, and that people cannot be trusted. 

The fear of not being known stems from the belief that God created us to live in real community.  Therefore, if I refuse to learn to trust others and make myself known, allowing them to enter and share my journey, then I will never live the way God created me to live.  The two fears go hand in hand. 

How do I get from this fear and mistrust to being able to share real, full, God-infused life with others?

By remaining in this place I am only preserving an image of myself that is, at worst, utterly false, and, at best, only a fraction of who I truly am, a fraction of my whole Story.  Why try to preserve that which will be burned up in the end?

Perhaps this is where the answer begins:

When I truly UNDERSTAND and ACCEPT only God’s judgement about who I am, then his PERFECT LOVE  can drive away my fear of what people might say that I am. I think that is a good definition of FREEDOM. I’m not completely there yet, but I’m dreaming and stepping into that dream bit by bit.

 

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