Can we be honest here, for just a minute or two? Love is scary. I know, I know, perfect love drives out fear, but that doesn’t keep fear from being there in the first place. It has to be driven out after all. I think that the fear we experience when it comes to love, to diving off that cliff and hoping that someone special catches us, boils down to two things:
- Our Past.
- The Risk.
Number One: Our Past.
Our past, and the hurts we’ve experienced before, often teach us to be careful. Being careful and guarding our hearts is a good thing. Being so ‘cautious’ because of our pasts that it keeps us stuck in them is a bad thing. Here’s the deal: we can let the fear of the past entangle us, trapping us in the past forever, or we can choose to press onward, hoping for a better future.
Number Two: The Risk.
Actually putting ourselves on the line, sharing our hearts and souls, hopes and dreams with another fallen human being is scary.
Our hearts, as Saint Augustine said, were made for God. In fact, Augustine famously wrote that our hearts are restless until they rest in Him. Therefore, there is an inherent risk in trusting another non-God-being with our hearts. We know this to be true, but until we are in that moment, in that situation where we can either share our heart or hide in fear, we forget just how deep and profound this risk is. In a sense, we come face to face with the reality that we could lose this person in our lives forever by either not sharing our deepest thoughts and fears with them, or by not sharing them. If we share them, what happens if that other person can’t see past our sins? What if they decide their dreams won’t work with ours? What if that means we are forced, however painfully, to part ways? But at the same time, what if we don’t share ourselves with our significant other and they walk away anyway? Will we always wonder what could have been if only we’d had the courage to share?
Maybe it sounds cold, but I really think it comes down to two questions in the end:
- Do I want to let my past hold me back OR do I want to make a better future possible by my choices and actions?
- Is this person worth the risk? Do I (or can I) trust them with my heart? When I’m with them do they make me believe that the risk is worth it because I care about them and want them to know me on the deepest level? Is there something in that person that moves us beyond our fear and into hope?
I believe that when the right someone comes along, there will be something unexplainable in them that stirs up courage in us, that moves us beyond ourselves, beyond our fears and towards the source of Hope. That something unexplainable may not happen on the first date, but when the going gets tough and the soul-bearing conversations and revelations are to be had, we’ll either see in them something that gives us the courage to share…or not. In that (the courage to share or not share) is where God is leading us, or isn’t leading us.
Hard questions I’ve had to ask myself, but the answers, however painful they may be, are always enlightening and lead me towards Him and His perfect plan for my life. For the record, when we ask these questions of God, the answers never change. He never wants our past to hold us back. He is always worth the risk, because He risked it all for us on the cross. When we are with Him, He leads us to believe that the risk is worth it because He longs to know us on the deepest level, and He desires for us to know Him more deeply with each breath we breathe. I can’t answer these questions for you or for your relationship, but you can bring them to God, trusting that He will lead you to truth, to His plan, and to His heart.