"Often fear after a while produces only numbness, but love thrives on love."
I'm thinking back to last year when the fear of losing Josh made me completely numb to the world. I couldn't cry, I couldn't be angry, and I couldn't even be happy. It seemed as though I had tried for so long to make him see that he loved me that everything I did was done out of fear. So instead of "love thriving on love," we both began to operate purely out of fear this summer. Neither of us wanted to lose each other, but instead of showing each other love and thriving everything we did was out of fear. I was so numb that when he finally told me how he felt about me, I couldn't even receive his love that I had wanted for so long. The fear and numbness has taken over what had started out as purely love.
I think about how this relates to God and how I was taught about him. Growing up I was taught to fear God and that God hated luke-warm Christians. It was on a daily basis that we were taught about God's judgement and power and he became a figure that I was very afraid of. I often wondered why he even made us since he hated sin and obviously no one was perfect. After a while all the preaching and teaching about this big scary God began to go in one ear and right out the other. I realize now that is was a numbness out of fear that came over me. It was that same numbness I had this past summer only it lasted for years. I understand now how people can listen every Sunday in some churches and never experience a personal relationship with God. When your Christianity is based on fear, which mine was, there is no growth. I was more afraid of hell and being spit out of God's mouth as a luke-warm Christian, than I was concerned with his love and what he was like. At times I was sure that God must hate me because of all that I had done, and I saw no point in even trying to come back to him or even praying. I knew who God was, but I didn't know him as a loving God. I was empty, alone and yes numb to my feelings and myself.
I am thankful that I know a much different God now. I know a God who loves me and accept me even though I've made many mistakes. I know a God who I don't have to hide my past from; he'll take me as is. I know a God who continues to work in me and through me even though I still struggle to make him number one in my life. I know a God that continues to provide for me even though I don't give him back all that he deserves. Best of all, I know a God who is crazy in love with me and has been patiently waiting for me to be crazy in love with him!