I've been thinking a lot about fear lately. Fear of being wrong. Fear of failing. Fear of not being accepted. Fear of the future. Fear of straying from the status quo. Fear of looking at life from the perspective of someone who believes differently, lest you find it a tiny bit insightful and have to reevaluate what you believe.
This could just be my arrogant opinion. I could just be thinking this way because I'm in the middle of a season of doubt and want to think this way, but part of me really believes that a lot of Christians are living from a place of fear rather than a place of grace. They wouldn't call it fear. They would probably say they're submitting to authority, or perhaps, guarding their hearts and minds (from anything foreign to their core beliefs). I can respect submitting to authority along with guarding your heart and mind. Those things make sense, but my point is that sometimes I think that's the kind of lingo that is used to make excuses. An excuse to not actually think and wrestle through things for yourself.
Because when you take everything you've ever learned as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and you fight to keep any sort of outside influences from entering your heart, you become a brick wall.
You become very sure of everything. And it doesn't feel natural to leave questions unanswered.
I know this because I've been down that path and I used to be that person. I'm convinced that it's underlying fear at the root of this kind of personality. Fear veiled in confidence and knowledge.
Over the past few years I've been in a progression where I've slowly become less sure of a lot of things that I once was very sure of. As I mentioned in my last post, I think my time out of the country was a catalyst. I'm now at a point where I KNOW I don't know everything.
At first it was very uncomfortable. I felt like I needed to keep all of the plates spinning, and as they began to fall to the ground, so did I. I'm at a much better place now. I'm okay with believing things that aren't necessarily in line with some predominant Christian beliefs. I'm okay with questioning and opening up to new possibilities. I'm okay feeling a little bit of tension. Not because I want to bring about tension, but because I think it's just a natural byproduct of having a perspective shift.
I feel like I'm finally living from a place of grace, and if I can be honest, it's SO freeing.
As I was reading a Rachel Held Evans article, she shared some similar sentiments and did so beautifully:
“The bravest decision I'll ever make is the decision to follow Jesus with both my head and heart engaged-- no checking out, no pretending. It's a decision I make every day, and it's a decision that's made my faith journey a heck of a lot more hazardous and a heck of a lot more fun. It means that grinning monster, doubt, is likely to stick around for a while, for I know now that closing my eyes won't make him go away. It means each day is a risk, a gamble, an adventure in vulnerability and trust, as I figure out what it means to follow Jesus...”
Allow Perfect Love to cast out fear. Don't be afraid to take some risks and look at life from a different angle. Don't be afraid of seasons of reevaluation. Don't be afraid of becoming undone.
It's nice over here.