Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Fear

Nouwen rightly identifies fear as a main reason why we don't want to wait. "As fearful people we have a hard time waiting, because fear urges us to get away from where we are. If we find that we cannot flee, we may fight instead. We are aware of the many destructive acts that arise from our fear that something harmful will be done to us."

Take my mid-afternoon slump at work, when I want to bolt across the country. What fears am I fleeing? I am afraid of a meaningless existence, a life in which no adventure happens. I am afraid of never getting married. I am afraid the difficult things in my life will never improve. And these are not small fears. To fear meaninglessness is to recognize that as a human I was made for splendor, and to wonder if the God who made me this way will also satisfy this need, which is the same as wondering if He is good.

I may not be aware, as I sit there in my cubicle, that my agitation results from an uneasiness about God. But in my restlessness, I might do some pretty destructive things. I might be unproductive because I can't concentrate. I might go and have a stupid conversation with someone, a conversation in which I don't really love the person I'm talking to, because I'm trying to silence my fear. I might spend a panicky half-hour planning a particular future for myself that I'm never going to follow through on.

The alternative is to wait: to sit with my fear for a while, hold onto my questions without answers.

1 comment:

Kelly Sauer said...

I love reading your journey. I seriously, seriously love your heart. You always reach through to the real...