Friday, January 22, 2010

Fear of Man ... Fear of God ...

Each one of us has a unique path to walk with God, through the course of this life ... so while we cannot follow the pattern of another, we can share while en route, and at times something in someone else can shed light for us.

As always, consider what I, or anyone, shares as food for thought -- swallow only that which the Spirit feeds you, and feel free to spit out the rest...! :) Pa-tooie!

The fear of man has long been an oppressive theme in my life, like persistent background music ... and perhaps even more-so, the fear of God. Now, I know all the verses about the fear of God ... and I believe that when they're taken out of context, they can be a snare. AISI, the fear of God is the *beginning* of wisdom -- but a lousy place in which to live. I believe we're meant to mature into perfect love, which casts out all fear (including, I do believe, the fear of God).

In raising my children, I notice that in the early stages, they need the dualistic/black & white concepts to help them learn to navigate life ... to stay out of danger. So, "good/bad" and "yes/no" and "bad! hot! don't touch!" serves them well. But how pitiful would it be if I had to continue such a conversation with my 22 yo son...? By then, and long before then, I would want for my kids to mature into wisdom, guided from within, rather than relying on me, or anyone else, who is without.

I believe it's the same way with God.

Yes, I learned a lot of this from books... books written by humans as inspired/God-breathed as those who wrote scriptures.

But, even the very best and most enlightening books in the world won't effect a change in us, just by reading them, and not even by believing in them ... at some point, we have to *experience* God's love for ourselves. At some point, we have to have a first-hand encounter with the Living God, rather than having a vicarious/second-hand encounter based on the encounters of others. I notice that the Bible is full of accounts of folks having those experiences with God ... I do NOT believe that God intends for me to merely read *about* those encounters, and somehow suck off of them. I firmly and completely believe that those accounts are only to inspire ME to have my OWN experiential encounters with God. And God, I notice, comes to each of us uniquely ... meeting each of us where, we are, as we are.

Now, for me, and maybe not for you or anyone else, I had to "fire" the old God. Or, should I say god. God created us in His own image, and we've been returning the favor ever since. Mankind has infamously been projecting the very worst of his own fears/anxieties/anger/wrath/judgment/vengeance ONTO God ... in effect creating his own "god" -- a "god" who very much rules his mind. As a man thinks in his own heart, so is he. We also tend to take the worst of the parenting we received, and project it onto God (I often wonder how much of the scriptures were written from this projected-skewed-god perspective ... something only the Spirit can show each one).

Once I saw that I had fabricated a god in my own mind, I had to fire the dude. And I had to ask the Real God, the Creator of All That Is, the very Source of All Life, to "start me over." I desperately wanted to know what was of man, and what was of God; what is a lie, and what is Truth ... and this very expose God has been doing for me ... not in a single, massive download, but over time ... using my very experiences, circumstances, and relationships.

For God comes to me, cleverly disguised as my life.

Once the true nature of God became more and more real to me ... thus began the process of me seeing myself as He does. Amazing! He LIKES me...! I mean, I knew He loved me (though I often thought only because He *had* to, LOL!) ... but He really, really LIKES me (sheesh, I sound like Sally Fields...!). He's delighted with me. I often feel His smile, His words to me, "That's My girl!"

With that as a foundation, no, more of a permeation, the rest of my relationships with humanity, all of humanity, fall into place. On one hand, I realize that everyone is as goofy-messed-up as me (in the egoic sense). On the other hand, I realize that everyone is just as delightedly-loved as me. In fact, I'm seeing everyone as connected to me ... each an offspring of God (with which Paul agrees!).

Sure, there is no shortage of confused, lie-enslaved, love-starved, misguided folks out there (& I have my moments! my days! my years!), but I'm seeing that every 'attack' is really a misguided cry for love. And the Spirit can, and will (if I ask) show me how to respond in love to each person ... (again, no formulas - just listening within).

I guess, for me, when I finally *saw* how loved I am, I was able to lose the fear of man. Which is giving way to compassion FOR man.

In order to love others as myself -- I have to love myself -- and to love myself, I need to see myself as God does. Sadly, most of us ARE loving each other as pitifully as we love ourselves ... because we see neither our true selves, nor the true selves of others.

I don't know if any of this resonates for anyone else -- it's entirely possible that I just needed to type this out for me, alone. 'Tis ok, either way.

May we each come to know/experience God as He IS, and may you see yourself, and all others, as He does...!

Shalom, Dena


Don said...

What an insightful and complete conclusion of all your thoughts and in my own context the same path and experience. Fear replaced by compassion.

Now I continue to process that while still tethered in my pastoral ministry to a sweet bunch of patriotic and fearful american christians, and figure out how to love my enemies represented in Al Queda and the Islamic ego. In other words, how does personal transformation lead to societal tranformation?

Thanks for sharing your journey.

Pastor Don in AZ

MysticBrit said...

I believe that the things we think are the most 'personal' and 'private' are, without exception, those things that are the most universal.

So, yes, it does resonate, Dena, down at the deepest level where we are All One.

You speak Truth, as you so often do:)

Thank you.

Dena said...

Much thanks, Don ... I'm incredibly grateful and humbled to know that my thoughts (many of which do not originate consciously in me) resonate with others...!

I mean, I'm gonna sit here and ramble on and on anyway ... so nice to know that others appreciate it!

I quite understand your quandry ... as for HOW to deal with it ... well, only God knows the intricacies of the heart of each one ... and your own heart. I find that most of my own goals had nothing to do with what God wanted to do in and through, and around me, LOL!

Are you familiar with Presence International ... Tim King and Kevin Beck (can't keep track of who I know where -- it's a delightful Oneness-blur these days!)

Dena said...

Thanks, Harry ... I'm just well-connected! Got a Friend in a High/Deep place!

marianne said...

Very well thought out, Dena; and well articulated;-) Thanks.

Dena said...

Thanks, Marianne...!

And I always feel better when I get it OUT! :)