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Feeling Beat Up

December 13, 2012

“Sometimes we hold on to fear just in case we need it”

Have you ever felt beat up by fear? Like a shockwave that courses through your body and reduces you to a pile of humanity heaped on the mat? Perhaps you can identify with Manny Pacquiao here, crushed I mean absolutely crushed by fear:

As the heart becomes reoriented and ordered by love it must come into contact with places that are yet susceptible to disorder, and not just susceptible but actually habituated in disorder. These habits of the heart are those places within that move us but not according to love. We instead are moved by fear or shame, or both at the same time. We, in a panic, scramble to undo the wrong or perceived wrong. We try to conceal the truth of our disorder from others.

John the elder told us that “perfect love casts out all fear… because fear has to do with punishment.”

When the heart is ordered by love it is fearless and open, what Jesus called “pure” or what I’d call transparent. You can see who someone actually is because it isn’t being hidden. It’s the “pure in heart” who will “see God.” That is, it is those who with a sort of virtuous audacity believe that God’s love is stronger than their failure and corruption and so have given up on the project of hiding in their guilt and covering their shame.

Yet there are parts of the heart that don’t quite believe this. Massive continental shelves of unbelief shifting and grinding in the heart. This unbelief is constantly at work but isn’t felt until a seismic event occurs and one comes into contact with their unbelief. These events can be minor or major, but you know them when waves of frightened energy course through your body. A panic of activity ensues to compensate for this event, to get things “back to normal” but one knows that the shelves will shift again. The time between the shifts becomes marked by a nagging anxiety about the next panic of activity done to compensate for these frightening events (and by frightening, it could be as simple as a phone call from your boss which sets of panic alarms throughout your body).

seismogram

The truth is that though these events levy a heavy tax upon our soul, in Christ they are redeemed. They become wounds of love, forms of severe mercy which awaken our souls to our own disorder. When the soul is awakened to its own disorder it is one shade clearer, one degree of glory brighter, because it begins to see itself as it is, it “comes to the light (John 3:21).” The disorder brought to the light is healed and reordered by love, and slowly, ever so slowly fear loses its grip. The heart shakes free of its frightened slumber and begins to believe afresh that the “love of Christ transcends all understanding.”

 

 

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