Monday, January 07, 2008

Fear and Trembling

I had a conversation with a friend about the issue of salvation: who's got it, can you lose it, is there a "once saved, always saved" security we can lean heavily on? Or is praying the prayer once not quite finding the narrow road?

In that same conversation, the topic took a turn to how well this friend knew me. I thought I was pretty well known. That wasn't the case. I've been accused before of being mysterious, even cryptic. That comment refueled this old thought that perhaps I don't open up as much as I think. Or maybe I live too much in my own head and it results in this perception that I'm sharing a lot more than I am. Regardless, the fact remains that I'm not well experienced by others. Sort of sounds like my dad. I am my father's son.

All that to say I want to be known. I want to be approachable, want others to experience the person who is me. I think it is hard for others to do that because I can appear self-sufficient, not needing the inclusion of others. That's just not the case. I feel like I don't have the permission to demand others' attention. I feel I'm a nuisance.

Funny how cruel one's insecurities can be to oneself.

Fear and Trembling... How one should work out one's salvation. I just finished Bell's Velvet Elvis and he had a thought about how the christian life shouldn't be a pusuit to make life easier. Christian living is usually more difficult than not caring about morality. I think I fall victim of the desire to stop and have a break from the struggle. I start seeking things that I feel could assuage my personal struggles (mainly loneliness).

You know it's a funny balance between seeking the Lord and seeking deeper relationships. I convinced myself my infatuation with a young woman friend was healthy, well timed, righteous even. The problem is when it becomes too important, my pursual of the God relationship suffers. I was humbly reminded of that fact when I started to brood over that conversation's outcome. I was not in a good place. Making things work out with this girl had somehow become more important than my relationship with God. I want to believe she knew that on some level and responded the way she did because of that. A double-edged sword if that's the case (that she wouldn't want my walk with God to suffer on account of her) because I'd like her all the more for being that way, a way that prevents us from getting closer but fuels my desire to. Did I mention I analyze quite a bit?

It's in moments of humility like this that I can't help but turn to God and thank Him for grace. I'm pretty screwed up, yet I know in my heart that doesn't discourage my Father in Heaven from loving me madly. When my Heavenly Daddy sees me, it's like he sees Christ. There's no disappointment. I just got a picture of Dori the fish from Finding Nemo. She started afresh a moment after an event, unaffected by the past. Like if I spit in my God's face, a second after repentance I'm embraced as his beloved.

Love without a grudge.

I'd like to think I'm working out my salvation with fear a trembling. I was wrecked when I realized what I was doing with my friend. I was wrecked when I realized the old man was coming out in me to try and secure that deeper relationship. I was that way in my first romantic relationship... there's no pretty way of saying it. I become manipulative. I phrase things a certain way. I have a personal agenda. It's not the love I desire to give to my friend. It isn't kind but self-seeking. Please forgive me.

I think I'll wrap up this confession with the Word of God in I Corinthians 13, which speaks of love and sets my heart ablaze in the joy of God's higher ways...

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

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