So there’s an image I’ve wanted to explore for a while.
(It’s not this one, though I like it…)
I call the image “the fear box.” (Not that picture. The mental image I have. Clear on that?)
It’s made of a type of protective, soft material, but very strong. We’re all raised in this sort of cage, and it’s a God-designed, natural, humble place where we recognize our limitations. We all like the feeling of comfort that the thick, restrictive walls give us. The boundaries of the box are so certain and sure and we instinctively know the fear box is good and needed.
For newborns, there’s nowhere safer than the fear box.
As we grow a bit, the boundaries begin to feel like restrictions. Our limitations aren’t as limiting anymore, though we know we still need the box…just maybe not so much or so tight as before. If we’re given help modifying and expanding the box, we’re able to grow and not get in too much trouble.
The many people who promote the benefits of the fear box—its safety, its certainty, its traditional trustworthiness—say you can know that you know the box is for your good.
And it is. You know it. You’ve lived in it your whole life.
But if those box-benefit extollers might also say that people who’ve left their boxes are called “outsiders,” and in a voice that conveys their true feelings, tell you how wrong the outsiders are and how much they need to be made right, you’ll feel a sliver of hesitation. But you’ll agree, of course. The lost need to be found. They need to know the wonderful safety and security you’ve known.
But there’s a love growing in you, a light that can’t be contained. And that sliver of doubt will let some of that light out. And eventually, whether the next day or after several years of fighting with yourself, you know you must leave the fear box.
And what will be more important than any other reassurance as you muster your courage to finally leave, is not how much you need safety and security and traditions, but how love is what’s in you saying no to the fear box. And if you can let that love out now and learn not to restrict it or temper it, it will guide you to your new home.
If love is there, nowhere is unsafe.
Another week has passed and very little writing on the novel was completed. The usual work and distractions kept me busy, but again, I could have made time, reserved some for it.
Some might say I should respect them less, get irreverent about everything that isn’t God. I don’t disagree. I’ve worked through many barriers and claimed the courage and empowerment to go where I need to and speak what needs words.
But I need to say Christianity isn’t perfect perfectly, winsomely, with the fragrance of Jesus. And this has kept me locked in fear.
Christians hold many things precious—churches, pastors, leaders, teachers and teachings, worship, the Bible, The Church, Jesus, God, Holy Spirit, doctrine, creeds, Christianity itself, and even Christian culture. All the resistance I know I’ll face, constantly reminded by a lifetime of experience, has kept me endlessly revising instead of printing.
It’s fear, obviously. And what works best on fear is not frustration, condemnation, shame, or any of my usual responses. But only love.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.”
Comfort comes swiftly to the loved.
It rushes in to prove yet again no pain or fear can break trust.
That trust is life itself.
The bigger, stronger, higher love will always help,
wipe the tears, and receive the feelings as precious,
wordless truth from the heart, the love box,
from which flow the springs of life.
Fear and pain don’t change reality, only love does.
Love is what’s true,
the ever-present reality to take all cares and keep them.
Love secures, always, always holds safe.
Come what may.
“Oh, love, never let me go…”
Must we be willing to break with the old to allow for the new?
Does progress require a sort of irreverence for tradition?
Life is built on an inherited box of foundations and advances. Respect them all. But also risk disrespect and “rebellion” to build what’s needed now.
Every author before you has felt this fear. Whatever this book will add to life, you’ve got to trust that love goes with you. It strengthens and empowers whoever is willing to receive it.
We can face everything that may come.
We can venture out.
Safe is where love is.
Praying you’ll know you’re held safe as you seek the higher purpose,