Friday, September 11, 2009

Fear and Trembling, Part XXXV

I love Kierkegaard. Especially on night's like this. If I'm not mistaken (don't quote me on this), he believed that we are all existentially responsible for ourselves. That we will made accountable for our choices, and that this creates a fundamental anxiety about freedom. We all fail, we all have guilt, we all fear death. And God. 

Lately, I've been thinking about the nature of my social anxiety, the sense of fundamental anxiety I possess in relationship to others, the debts I owe them, the death I fear from their anger or displeasure.

If I am not loved, I literally feel like I'm going to die. 

And this all began with a comment about emotional constipation a few weeks ago. R's pain. And, the cold water to the face realization that I have not shouldered my load, have expected the world, other people to help, pull me along. It is hard to face myself, to peer into mirrors. I hate my choices. I always have hated my pain, even while not understanding it. I hate "freedom" and would rather hand my decisions over to others.

The other night, in class, I had a panic attack. And, though I realized it's getting worse in me, it's also getting better. For the first time in a while, I entertained the possibility that the pain has some redemptive purpose. Maybe, just maybe, it is making me a better person. Slowly. So very slowly...Maybe it's burning away parts of my personality that need to disappear. Maybe pain is the only way to become holy. 

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, some whisper of hope that has not been there before.

Oh, sweet hope. 

The other night after class, and for the first time in ages, Romans 8:28-32? spoke to me.

Nothing. Not death. Fear. Abandonment. Shipwreck. Self-hatred. Sin. can separate me from the love that is in God in Christ Jesus. It struck me. I am more than a conquerer, not weak or insecure because God is behind the scenes making it all right. There is a larger hand guiding me. And it is glorious.

I never thought I would thank God for pain.

But if it's what He knows I need, I accept it gladly.


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