Monday, August 5, 2013

There is no fear in love

These past 10 weeks... have they been real?  Or am I to awaken to the sound of my alarm... once again 15, obligated to drag myself out of bed and into the banality that was so characteristic of high school?

Right now, as I sit on the steps of a landmark quite representative of my university ;) , admiring the peaceful sunset and watching families and pedestrians stroll by, I am tempted to believe that it has all been a dream.  Everything has fit together so well and I've been given so much... how could it not be?

Yet, my experiences this summer are marked by one distinctive attribute that is particular to real life alone:  imperfection.

To which I could add struggle and pain... but also peace and joy.

You see, my dear readers, this summer I experimented with a few things that had been quite foreign to me:  vulnerability and courage.

No, it hasn't quite been the fairytale my romantic nature so would have desired it to be, and yes, there was in fact hurt involved, but the truth is it is only when we test our boundaries and limitations and reach out for those somethings that always seemed out of our grasp that we truly experience life.

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
-Theodore Roosevelt

 I must agree with good ole T.R.  If we let fear dictate our actions because we are so scared to be vulnerable, we end up suffocating our souls.  We are never sure of our true potential.  We spend each day just trying to survive and we are never capable of thriving.

However, one truth must stand out in the midst of fear:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
- 1 John 4:18

Perfect love drives out fear.  

We are all broken.  We all have wounds and sins that mark our souls.  We all question our worthiness at one point or another.  But when we question ourselves and afraid of vulnerability, we must look to Christ on the cross.

It's so hard to fathom... God came down and suffered for US.  He endured ridicule and pain and ultimately died for US... individually.  How could we doubt ourselves, our worth, after that?

How much must God love us to have done all of that?  It's inconceivable (yes, Inigo Montoya, I do know what that word means ;) ). And the most amazing truth:  His love is there for ALL of us to experience, but we alone must choose to reach out to Him.  We must choose to be confident in His love and have faith in his healing.

Again, I recall the story of the hemorrhaging woman:

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

Matthew 9:20-22

So the take away message?
Don't be afraid to be vulnerable, because it is the key to experiencing life, growth, and most importantly love .  
And Christ's love in time will heal your wounds.

Live.  Be open to love, for after all, as C.S. Lewis so wonderfully put:

 “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

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