Crazy Fear

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2011 at 2:00 am

Submitted By: Gentry

I was five years old, riding my big wheel towards the neighbor’s house – can’t remember their names but can remember the plastic walking paths that protected their shag carpet – when I was almost paralyzed by fear. Did I eat those fertilizer pellets or didn’t I? I didn’t remember eating the fertilizer, but I didn’t remember not eating them either. What I did remember was that my mother had told me not to eat the fertilizer because it was poison. I was terrified by my possible ingestion of the fertilizer in the same way I would later be terrified that I might, or might not have, taken my Grandmother’s medicine. Which, for the record, would also make me deathly ill.

I drunkenly struggled to sleep in a bunk slung from the ceiling. While part of me was trying to forget that every girl at the frat party had refused me, the other part was paralyzed by fear. Shit, I thought. If Jesus comes back tonight – and remember that preacher back home talked of a disappearing hitchhiker who reported that Gabriel’s lips were on the horn – then I’m screwed. Because of the night terrors as much as anything else, on many Sunday mornings I would get up, still half drunk, and go to church. Drinking four nights a week, studying my ass off for three, and stumbling through sermons wasn’t doing it for me so, against Slowfo’s better judgment, I went to Bible college. I said I wanted to attend for at least a year so that I could learn more about my faith. Maybe. Or maybe I was just terrified of condemnation I would incur if I continued my pursuit of becoming a lawyer with few ethical standards and an overactive, though easy to self-medicate, conscience.

I could go on.

Why do I over study biblical texts before preaching?

Why have I refused to consider paid ministry in a traditional church?

Why do I usually feel as though I’m offending God and/or violating some self-sanctioned, woefully fulfilled Nazarite vow every time I tip a drink?

Why does my heart fill with dread every time I see my ESV and realize that I am not constantly reading scripture and so placing myself in the intersection where I can be transformed by scriptural truth?

Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear. I’m beginning to realize how completely it has circumscribed my life.

Fear of God might be the beginning of wisdom, but I’m beginning to look and long for the perfect love that casts out fear. The servant can be useful and even held in high esteem. But at some level his role is shaped by his relationship to the master and his fear thereof.

Jesus was a servant, so I’m called to be a servant too. Yeah, I remember some of the farewell discourses in John 14-17 too. However, I also remember after that after the foot-washing, Jesus also calls his disciples friends.

At the time, the disciples were about to be so terrified by the cost and consequences of Jesus’ redemptive love that they would betray him. Yet Jesus still called them friends.

Later in John’s gospel, Peter the betrayer is brought to restoration through the question: Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?

By God’s grace, I long to echo Peter’s answer with a demonstrative YES! Lord you know that I love you. For that reason I will lean into the risk, sacrifice, thrill, suffering, unintended consequences and reward that lies ahead for the disciples who live in love.

By so doing, I hope to break the yoke that has constrained me since I was five years old.

  1. Oh boy! Do I ever remember that day when you were 5!!! I was terrified that you had eaten the fertilizer even if you even thought you might remember eating the fertilizer!!! When you lived through the night we figured it was just another “Jeffrey-ism” to be tossed up to a vivid imagination and a 5-yr old fear. Little did we know it was the first of many such experiences that I could enumerate, but won’t do so on this venue! HA! But I’m pretty happy with how you turned out! ~ Love, Mom

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: