One of my biggest struggles through the years has been an all too common enemy: fear. While in my walk as a Christian I learned about not living in fear and my personal way of looking at life has kept me above the surface, there is a very specific kind of fear that continually tries to take hold of me.
The fear that as soon as I stray from the way I’m expected to go, disaster will befall me.
My life as a Christian has had some very marked stages. From being a new Christian wanting to please God, to being a youth leader wanting to set an example, to a youth pastor wanting to influence the lives of others, then a Bible college student wanting to get a deeper knowledge in the ways of God, to now a God-loving openly gay man. And through each one of those I got a huge amount of mixed signals thrown my way. Leaders throughout my life vehemently told me that God didn’t want me to live in fear, but along that beautiful message, there was a tiny asterisk. And on small writing was a troubling message: “as long as you do everything that is required of you. If not, you are on your own.”
This part of Christianity made me constantly feel like I was living under an imaginary dome, where if I went just an inch outside of it I would feel the wrath of God or even worse he would keep his love and mercy from me.
I was Simba and Christianity was Mufasa telling me that on that shadowy place over there, all bets were off. The main problem is that for me, the shadowy place was not a physical place and it was was way too easy to reach. As quick as making a decision on my own, against what I had been thaught by my fellow believers. As accessible as having a “bad” thought, or saying an unwarranted word, or even going one mile over the speed limit.
Every little choice I made could potentially kick me out of God’s will and move me out from under his umbrella of protection. What a terrifying and pitiful way to live life.
Our lives change and we grow but some things from our past have a way of hiding inside of us and creeping out whenever we least expected.
The fear of destruction coming into my life because of any wrong step I take is one of those things in my life. One that I’m learning to get rid of. Not because I want to be a bad person and break rules. Not because I want to bathe myself in iniquity (dramatic, I know). But because, I don’t think it is worth it and it creates an amount of stress I know I would be better off without.
Our journey is not meant to be lived as a game of whak-a-mole where if we pop-up out of turn God will smack us on the head with death and calamity. It’s much better to live in peace and joy knowing that hey, we are not perfect and that’s totally okay.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (I John 4:18 NKJV)