Fear is a funny thing at times. It can save your life if you are running from a bear or it can stunt your life if you are running from God. You see as a young man, in junior high, I had a wonderful conversion experience. I understood that God was out there, Jesus died for me and all I had to do for forgiveness was truly acknowledge this information. I did truly acknowledge it, in front of my family and the rest of the large(for New Mexico) church populace.
The God of my childhood was a very imposing figure, he was a great miracle worker but he was also scary. With Zeus like attributes portrayed at times and the teaching that many of our problems were brought on by God because we failed to meet his standards. How many times was it implied that this persons marital problems or another couple’s problem birth was because of some hidden sin in their lives. Even beyond these things there was the thought that God just might 'Call' you to be a minister or, even worse, a missionary going to Africa. This last one seemed to hang with me.
Fear kept me inside myself, I never learned how to love Jesus back, I never learned how to love anyone back. My parents divorced while I was in junior high and we moved around so much I never fit in to the small towns we lived in. I built up walls and barricades so that no one could ask anything of me that I did not want to do. I didn’t ever really put myself out there and allow relationships to grow beyond what I could handle and control. I went to church but that was about all, no small groups, no close Christian friends. Most of all no way for God to show me he was not scary, because I was not listening.
I got married after college, a truly wonderful Christian woman. We let the physical relationship go too far because she really loved me and was in-love with me. I did love her but really I was afraid to love too much, to love all the way. Our marriage was pretty good but I still had limits that I didn’t even know where there. I had walls up to protect my heart from pain and walls up to protect me from 'Gods plan'. The walls stayed up for nearly 20 years of marriage. I loved my wife, my kids and Jesus, but I was afraid to let them too close, . I mostly did what I wanted to do, many times to the detriment of my wife and kids and DEFINATELY to the exclusion of God in any real capacity. Eventually this led to mistakes that could not be overlooked. My personal fear was not touched by God or my wife in nice easy ways, no, it had to be broken. When, finally, my pornography problems and infidelity were brought out in the open the process began I saw that I was hurting others very, very badly. I had to watch the woman I love being TORN UP inside for nearly two years, I had to watch my daughter get nearly forgotten as we tried to repair the damage my fear of giving up control had caused. I had to come back to Jesus, ON MY KNEES asking him to help them with the pain I had caused. I had to beg Him to save my marriage and I had to beg Him to remake me into a good man. Slowly but surely it happened. My wife saw the changes, my relationship with my daughter was strengthened and my relationship with Jesus was rebuilt. I resolved to listen for what God wanted me to do and be willing to take on his work and YES he sent me to Africa.