i'm not really a fan of bugs. i'd like to pretend that they don't bother me as much as they do, but i still have some fear of them. a stink bug has recently taken refuge in my room on my curtain, and i just can't bring myself to get rid of him(yes, it's a him, duh), mostly because i have this unjustified fear that he'll fly up my nose just when i try to grab(that's a nice way to say wack) him. for now, i've decided to name him Amos and let him roam free--if i make him my pet, he's less scary, right?
fears. oh, how i have many. i've been thinking lately about my religious fears, and i've discovered that they all stem from a similar branch. the fear of the calling God may place on my life. fear of the potential burdens, fear of responsibility. fear of not being worthy of or equipped for the call. fear of the expectations and fear of failure. fear that i won't even hear it or recognize it.
thinking about all of this at once was completely overwhelming. at first i tried to figure out the root of why i fear these things. but then i realized there was a more important question--how do i overcome them?
"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again." ~2 Corinth. 5:14-15
i've been fixating and focusing so much on myself, on my fears, that i've missed the more important conclusion--i don't live for myself. what would it look like if i truly lived only for Christ, if i was no longer self-aware and only God & neighbor-aware? i imagine that my concerns and fears would quickly disappear.
a few weeks ago, i discovered that my student ID still allows me to check out library books--woot woot! i'll probably check out more books this year than i did during my entire UVA education, but that's beside the point. i picked up The Screwtape Letters by none other than C.S. Lewis. the premise of the book is the main character, Screwtape, works for Satan and is advising another 'employee', Wormwood, on how exactly to go about winning souls for them. a particular chapter has intrigued me, and while i haven't yet finished the book, i find myself frequently returning to this short, 4-page section. here's a snippet, spoken from Screwtape's perspective:
"our Enemy[God] wants to turn the man's attention away from self to Him, and to the man's neighbors. you must therefore conceal from the patient the true end of Humility. let him think of it not as self-forgetfulness but as a certain kind of low opinion of his own talents and character...
the Enemy wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favor that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbor's talents--or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognize all creatures(even himself) as glorious and excellent things. He wants to kill their animal self-love as soon as possible.
His whole effort, therefore, will be to get the man's mind off the subject of his own value altogether. He would rather the man thought himself a great architect or poet and then forgot about it, than that he should spend much time and pains trying to think himself a bad one."
here's to working on dying to self, on living solely for and trusting solely in Christ. He's the only reason i'm on this earth anyways.