Wednesday, February 12, 2014

When The Light Gets Into Your Heart

But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Genesis 3:9-10

“We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all.” 
Andrew Clark - The Breakfast Club

"Fear will keep the local systems in line."
Governor Moff Tarkin

Will you stand above me?
Look my way, never love me?
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down
Will you recognize me?
Call my name or walk on by?
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down, down
Don't You Forget About Me - Simple Minds

If you've read many of my previous posts, I've been going through a pretty transforming time in my life. It's amazing to see that over the course of my life, there's been an underlying process that God, the Extraordinary, is putting me through: dropping my guard and becoming what He wants me to be. Considering all of the hurt and pain I have caused to so many others, that means there's a lot more work that needs to be done. By reflecting and talking to good friends about this, I see it all goes back to the Fall. Since then we've been putting on facades, hiding our true selves from the pain and hurt that is so prevalent in the world today. I carry the curse of Adam. Sadly, I've passed that on to my children and grandchildren. I've deeply hurt my friends and family because of that. Through it all, like everybody else, I try to hide behind a mask of "I'm OK". Really deep down, we're all scared, hurting and trying out best to keep up our appearances. All this does is create distance from others and most importantly from God.

Don't you try to pretend
It's my feeling will win in the end
I won't harm you or touch your defenses
Vanity, insecurity
Don't You Forget About Me - Simple Minds

My friend Phil even observed how this generation of children who are growing up with social media and smartphones are even more disconnected from others. The depth personal connection is covered up by another layer of protection as one can only publish what one chooses to expose and even become somebody completely different. I do find it ironic that I'm making this observation on a blog - my hope is that those who read it would engage me personally so that this is an open door and not a sound bite.

But I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Romans 7:23-25

What's going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
That I'm still a man in need of a Savior 
In The Light - DC Talk

My experience is that putting up our guard and not allowing anybody (including God) inside creates this duality. We become conflicted inside. We do things that we don't want to do but do them anyway. I think of the lashing out I did on my family and the times I chose to be passive and not stand up to do what was right. A lot of that was because I was too concerned with what others thought. It's a survival technique that leaves you feeling empty and conflicted inside. I spent quite a few years living my life this way. I really grieve that I was like that and still fight those tendencies day to day.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world...
John 3:18

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:8

I wanna be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation
Cause all I want is to be in the Light
In The Light - DC Talk

So what's the solution? Dropping your guard. What I've realized is that my fears are far worse than reality. I see that God has defined me good and yes, righteous. Not because of what I've done or who I am, but because of who Christ is. To me that was the transforming moment. Charles Swindoll has a great book (written in a much lighter tone than me) on this process. I highly recommend this book. I will say that there feels like a huge light that goes on inside when this reality hits you. You are loved, accepted, rescued, saved and blessed. As the layers of walls around your heart are taken down, you will feel a "lightness" inside. I am winning over my fear of others and fear of rejection. To keep with the John Hughes theme, I stopped being the cynical, smart mouthed younger brother in Sixteen Candles. I felt like I had something that I loved that I could share with others - the love Christ has for me. My deepest regret is that it has taken 49 painful years to get just to this point. In my wake are so many broken relationships and pain.

So my hope and prayer for us all is to bring our hurt out into the Light. He can heal whatever pain we have. It's a long process (obviously I'm a slow learner!) but well worth it.

Tell me your troubles and doubts
Giving me everything inside and out
Love's strange so real in the dark
Think of the tender things that we were working on
Slow change may pull us apart
When the light gets into your heart...

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