When I was a kid, a guy came to my church to teach about personality types. Grant you, this was a fundamentalist Bible believing church. The very mention of personality types scared most people in our church. It sounded too much like the dynamic duo of psychology and humanism. Everybody hated that stuff like it was some kind of Poison Ivy sandwich.
I guess folks were a little overwhelmed with the latest fundamentalist craze. It was an intense study of the book of Revelation that paid particular attention the second coming of Jesus, blood flowing in valleys and the battle of Armageddon. Too much end time excitement had begun to take away people’s ability to sleep at night. I know it raised my nine-year-old bodies’ blood pressure. So a series of lectures without the words “left behind” was a nice change. At least it was for me.
“Moses had a melancholy personality,” the visiting teacher said, “What personality are you?”
The personality of Moses, I thought to myself. I was introspective and moody. But, seriously, how could I not be? I was a preacher’s kid living with the fear that
· If I misbehaved in church the deacons could fire my Dad.
· If I listened to rock music the Devil would snatch my soul.
· If I played with a deck of cards, I would singlehandedly be responsible for plunging the church back into the dark ages.
No wonder I felt a sense of impending doom.
It’s sort of like living on the bottom floor of a cheap apartment building. The walls and floors are so thin you can hear every single sound in the apartment above. The upstairs neighbor comes home late at night and pulls off his shoes. You wake up when the first one hits the floor. Then, you lay there in the darkness and wait. You can’t relax. You can’t fall asleep until the other shoe finally hits the floor.
That’s how I spent much of my childhood in the context of church. I waited for bad things to happen. I anticipated disapproval and rebuke. I tensed as i waited for God’s judgment to fall on me like acid rain. .
That’s not how I want to live the rest of my life –in a state of shock waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know a great deal more about God’s mercy. I have experienced His love.
I will not pretend that the world is no longer a scary place. Stuff happens. People lose their jobs. Dreams fall apart. Relationships come to an end.
But, if we are not diligent we may end up living in the turmoil of our fear instead of being present in reality.
Not a pretty picture.
God is in the here and now. Trust Him. Join Him.