Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fear Not!

A lifetime ago I was a huge Cranberries fan; the Celtic folk rock tunes of Delores O'Riordan and crew soothed my soul and stirred my inner artist. One song in-particular grabbed me.
Dreams - Cranberries
Click and listen if you like...I've got you singing along now...don't I; nothing like a little trek down memory lane. ;)

A while back I was spinning the ole' dial and this tune caught my ear. In seconds I was belting it out - even all the …Ah, la da ah...La’s. In my mind I was cruising the roads (in a convertible, no doubt), hair blowing in the wind, not a care in the world.  Feel good music that song is; funny how music transports us so quickly to another time...another place...another perspective.

One line reverberated through my mind for days; "Now I tell you openly you have my heart so don't hurt me..."  That one line...such raw transparency...such vulnerability elicited a pretty powerful emotional response from deep within.

From an early age, the lens through which I viewed myself and the world around me was smudged with rejection (both real and perceived). Wearing smudged glasses produces clouded vision…clouded vision is crippling.  For years, I limped around perceiving rejection at every turn…every decision informed by incorrect estimations…before long I was in some deep shout-it-out; all kinds of self-destructive behaviors dominated my life.  My life was at best a mess – at worst a complete failure.

But God (two of my favorite words), met me in my hurt; lifted me out the miry clay; and let me know I was worth it to Him.  Relinquishing my life to Him brought freedom and hope.  Over time, I grew in my relationship with Him; yet relationally (with others) something was not quite right…I found myself insecure, self-conscious and uptight.  What was that all about?

Answers can be found just about anywhere. (Reminds me of a Grateful Dead lyric…”Sometimes you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” I digress…) Hearing, Dreams, with “older, wiser” ears  came sort of as an answer - “You have my heart so don’t hurt me…” it dawned on me…this had been the cry of my soul most of my life.  “Fearful” is not how I would have described myself.  Yet, suddenly I saw it so clearly; my internalized hurt and rejection had morphed into fear…fear of future hurt and rejection…fear of things that may or may not ever happen… leading to continual self-assessment...never quite comfortable with myself; never quite comfortable with others.

On a deeper level I was awakened to the reality that I was making that same appeal to God – “Oh God, You have my heart…please don’t hurt me.”  If you’ve ever experienced any sort of disappointment or loss then you know what I am conveying here; anguish of soul; a deep longing to know that our hearts are safe – that God is good and can be trusted with everything – even in the hurt – even when life has been turned on its head.

Unknowingly, I was projecting onto God past hurts and rejections...fearing that He would respond likewise. Never would I have acknowledged that with my mouth, but as I considered my behavior that's exactly what I was doing. Blaise Pascal once wrote: "God made man in his own image and man returned the compliment."  Ouch!  My mind was divided, because my vision of God was clouded. I didn’t fully trust His love; I feared that He was not really who He claimed to be. Out of fear came the inclination to protect myself. Self-protection is an obstacle to receiving love which keeps the cycle of fear spinning. 

Yet, God’s word proclaims, “Perfect love drives out fear.”  It is His perfect love that melts away fear. His love drew me in. I allowed His perfect love to fill me. Letting go of my own understanding and past experiences, I came to a place of perfect rest and complete security.  Ahhhh!

It wasn’t a one-time fix, though.  All too often I forgo His love allowing fear to drive me…crazy.  Yet, all it takes is one glance His way…hearing Him whisper the truth, “My love will take care of your fear; I love you, let Me love you” and all is right. He has my heart and I know He won’t hurt it.  My anxious heart is calmed.

Once again…I am cruising the freeway (in a convertible no doubt), hair blowing in the wind, not a care in the world, song of praise on my lips…and in the rear view mirror - seven passengers giggling.   Ah, da, da da da, da, la...

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