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Being Fully Alive is Courageous

June 4, 2008

Something that I’ve been meditating on recently is the fact that to be fully alive, you are going to feel both pain and joy deeply. There is no way that you can experience the full intensity of joy unless you’ve felt the depths of grief and pain.

I can testify to this as I lived my life numb to emotion for years. It was not until these last five years that the Lord has allowed me to experience His love and the depths of what that encompasses. Until I began to deal with the pain of the past, there was no way that I could feel the pureness and great depth of His love.

I can understand why so many people walk around numb and half alive…it takes work to deal with the past. You must seek out healing and you must receive healing. So many people do not want to take the time to dive into their grief. Or they refuse to receive healing when it’s offered. It’s scary and seems overwhelming. However, I can assure you that in the end, you’ll be better off.

Reading The Kite Runner on the plane to Colorado, one quote really stood out to me:

“I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.”

This can be seen in so many people and I can even see it in myself on occasion when the Lord brings something else up that I haven’t dealt with. We must constantly be allowing God to renew us and heal us and carry us forward. I always say this, but I’ll say it again: it’s a process. It is written, “Above all else guard your heart for it is the well-spring of life.” I will say confidently that most people do not live by that or take it seriously. We must take care of ourselves and allow God to tend to our hearts.

So many walk around half alive. I believe this is for several reasons: Either they do not realize it (as I did not when I was numb). They are too afraid to face the past. They are afraid of feeling love deeply for fear of being hurt. They are afraid to experience true joy and love because in order to feel the good they also open themselves up to feeling pain deeply. Some have been so hurt that they have locked themselves inside their own defenses. There are probably other reasons–these are just ones that I can articulate at the moment.

I believe that it takes true courage to feel love and pain deeply. Jesus, himself, did this. He grieved death and betrayal; He experienced and knew the Father’s love to such a depth that He could give His life and be secure in the hands of His Father. He loves deeply regardless of the risk that He takes in being hurt for not being loved in return. He loves without fear.

To face the pain is being courageous and fully alive. To love without condition is being fully alive. To receive love without a filter or defense is being fully alive. I want to love like Jesus loves. I want to love like the Father loves. And I want to receive that love.

Not dealing with the past and the pain keeps you numb and does not allow for one to be fully alive. Rather, it is just coping and passing through. Being numb robs you of the Life God has offered you. God calls us to be a people who love as He does and experience true Life and freedom. If we are in so much bondage that we can’t receive His love then how can we love others?

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