“Wise men say, only fools rush in; but I can’t help falling in love with you…”
I was listening to the radio the other day, and I was struck by a thought.Â I get struck by thoughts pretty frequently, and they usually hit me rather forcefully in the head, which accounts for the dazed expression I wear most of the time.Â But I digress.
I was listening to the radio, and the song “Consume Me” by dcTalk came on.Â It’s one of my favorites of theirs.Â The lyrics talk about giving yourself over to a consuming, surrendered love in beautiful, poetic, and (I think) accurate terms.Â I was struck by the thought that most people fear that kind of love, regardless of the object.
I’ve been talking a lot lately with my friends about the problem of “comfort Christianity.”Â I can’t really speak about other faiths, since that’s outside my area of experience and knowledge, but I can say pretty conclusively that Christ did not ask for or want half-hearted, part-time followers.Â Nor did He seem very interested in people who were following him out of a sense of duty or obligation.Â Christianity is a faith that is sort of predicated on that all-consuming, whole-hearted devotion to a personal God. It’s not a self-help program or a extra-curricular activity.Â It is, in essence, a love relationship with everything that entails.
I thought, as the lyrics washed over me, that the main source of comfort Christianity is fear.Â And it’s the same fear that makes people protect their hearts from falling head-over-heels, irrationally in love with anyone: fear, and lack of trust, and a desire to maintain the illusion that you control your life.
It further occurred to me that it is, after all, only an illusion of control that people cling to.Â I no more control what is going to happen to me than I control the tides or the sequence of stop lights.Â The only thing I can control is my response to what happens to me, to the people I meet, and the things they do and say.Â It’s like sailing (which I am abysmally bad at): at best, you’re effectively responding to the wind and moving in the overall direction you want to be going in.Â You can’t make the wind blow, and you certainly can’t make it blow in a particular direction.
But people cling to that illusion of control.Â I know more than a few people who believe they are committed Christians.Â But their commitment is to their own vision and their own purposes on Christ’s behalf, and that is a very different thing from being committed to Christ.Â It’s rather like buying your extremely active nephew a book, when he’d really rather have a scooter,
and blaming him for not appreciating the gift and growing closer to you.Â Well, you didn’t really bother to find out what it was he wanted from you, did you?
I can hardly point fingers, though, because I deal with fear of falling as much as anyone else, possibly more.Â It may not be in my relationship with my Savior where I feel the need to cling to my independence.Â Â I know that I’m called to love others without agenda, without reservation, and without a preoccupation with self-preservation; and I fail pretty sadly at that.Â I can make excuses and give excellent, rational reasons for the ways that I stiff-arm people.Â However, none of those reasons exempts me from my command to love others as myself.Â Deep down I know that I hurt myself far more than I protect myself by this distancing.