Afraid to Love

They say that honesty and confession are good for the soul. Whoever “They” are. I suppose I should give it a try.

I work pretty hard at my faith. There are plenty of reasons to chuck it out the window. I’ve talked about a few of them here already. Life can be cruel and hard, and doubt always prowls in the shadows.

I don’t doubt God. I don’t doubt that He is good and loving and actively involved in everything that goes on in this creation of His.

To be honest, however, I am scared of Him. I’m afraid of His love.

If you take time to really understand the scope of God’s love, how foundational it is to everything He does and says, it’s mind-boggling. When I think about the enormity and totality of that passion, desire, drive, dare I call it infatuation? all focused on me, I’m overwhelmed.

And not in the good way.

I’m terrified. I want to hide from that terrible, consuming love. It’s too much for me, who can barely handle her own feelings and rejects the feelings of others.

God’s love is a consuming fire. I live in fear of being devoured by it. I know that His love transforms, taking away the garbage and refining the glorious. I know that, I don’t doubt it, and I’m petrified by it.

Maybe it’s because I don’t think I’m worth the effort. Perhaps I’m addicted to self-loathing, and this would kill the buzz I’ve “enjoyed” for so many years. After all, humility is a virtue, isn’t it? “Lo, I am a worm before Thee” and all that. Why did hair shirts ever go out of style?

But the Bible doesn’t support that mindset. In fact, it contradicts it. Even in Olde Testamente days, before Christ removed God’s wrath, God called His people to loving relationship. Dozens of Psalms talk about God’s transformational love and desire to have personal time with each one of us. The prophets constantly repeated God’s heart-broken lament that we didn’t want Him.

A love that big is almost worse than the wrath born of rejection. I don’t know how to let myself be loved like that. I haven’t done enough to earn it. I don’t control it. It’s based entirely on God and His character. Though it pours over me, it has nothing to do with me.

Emotions have always been hard for me. I can simulate them easily from my years of acting and my desire to not be mocked in public. But actually feeling those emotions lies outside my comfort zone. I’m much happier (ironic) with intellectual matters.

And yet.

God is not mind. God is not logic. God is not fact or reason or process or sensible. God is love.

Love is not orderly or predictable or straightforward. Love can and sometimes does cooperate with those attributes, but the nature of love defies control. It’s messy and noisy and confusing and glorious.

So maybe my issue is that I want to be in charge, to dictate to God the terms by which He may approach me. I want a neat, sterile relationship, and God wants to sweep me off my feet and show me things I never imagined. He wants to transform me, and I’m scared of that.

This is a process I’m walking through. It’s taking time and effort and no few expressions of frustration. I don’t know how long it will take to get through this. I don’t know that I’ll talk much about it until I’m on the other side of it. Too many feels.

But I felt the need to be honest. Faith makes life a heck of a lot easier, what with connecting us directly to the source of life. But we each have struggles to go through, mountains to climb and conquer. I’m as human as anyone else, much as I pretend otherwise.


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