Phlebotomic is a blog experiment that seeks to gather multiple perspectives around a common prompt, which is provided weekly.

Last week's prompt was "Beauty"...

This week's prompt is "Path"...

01 February 2009

My Greatest Fear: being fully consumed

Great fears always tend to have roots in self. However, Davide rightly captured the great driver of fears in the posting on "me." That really could be parsed and sliced into 5-6 separate posts, but I will discipline myself to not just draft his idea down the bloody turnpike...

Perhaps the unspoken fear that has tormented me the most is that of being fully consumed by the all-powerful, living God. The Bible describes God as an "all-consuming fire" and a jealous persona who desires nothing short of 100%. It's part of His awe-someness but also the real terror when you find your "own" life, identity, agenda and will being the fodder for this fire.

There have been numerous times in my spiritual journey when I became uniquely aware of the loss of self happening as I was being quickened to a "not I who lives but Christ in me" point of abandon. Quite honestly it is terrifying. Call it the cost of discipleship, call it full surrender, call it whatever - there's something scary about handing over the reins of your life, of becoming a vassal of a King...even one you trust entirely.

This fear - of not just being an ally but truly an employed vassal - has led me to intentionally sabotage the progression. Yes, I've tossed proverbial wrenches in the gears of my sanctification in order to stall and assess if I was really ready to be fully consumed. Perhaps it's why I felt affinity for Augustine so much, who transparently journaled, "O Lord, help me to be pure...but not yet."

My greatest fear is also the greatest handicap in life...a fear that immobilizes when approaching the perceived tipping point after which divine inertia will surpass personal ability to control acceleration or navigation. As if I ever did truly possess such powers!


  1. Along with the fear of reaching the point where God fully controls all aspects of my life, is the fear that I will never completely be what He desires/demands... will I even be close? I went to Church today, rededicated my week to Him, came home and sinned. I am sure He is pleased.

    By the way, I used one of your comments on my blog, I hope you don't mind.

  2. My Greatest Fear :: Past Decisions

    There are many types of decisions. The decisions that i am writing about are life-changing decisions. Decisions that impact not only you but maybe your family, your friends, and/or people you lead.

    I catch myself constantly wondering am i to strict on my daughter or was i to harsh with my wife? When paying bills did i make the right decision to pay an extra amount to that bill? Was i really to busy to talk with that friend or should i have thought about the discussion i had with a friend instead of simply giving a quick answer?

    I trust that i allow myself to be lead my the Holy Spirit and there are times when i realize afterwards that i should have done something else. I know that i can not control my life and can not live my life without God but... this is my fear.

  3. Even Jesus said He did nothing but "of my Father's initiative." Perhaps the risk, Problem Child, is in trying to touch base (i.e. connect with God) and then go make the right decisions and come back to a person turning in tickets from arcades - "did I do well enough with the time I had?" I know at times I've treated God like an air tank, and I take a big gulp and try to see how much work I can get done without hyperventilating. A far cry from a breath-by-breath, practicing His presence life. God is still sovereign...I am still a child.

  4. In a small group meeting tonight i have come to realize that a huge part of my fear is due to me not being fully dependent of God and what his will for my life is. How could i make a wrong decision if i make a decision that God would have me make although i find it harder to decide what God's will is in every aspect of my life. Maybe this is why i consider myself problematic and continually a child of God. I don't always get along nor understand God's will and will i ever? perhaps not.

  5. perhaps his will is not a is a state of mind or heart condition no matter where you are. maybe?

  6. Spiritual paralysis versus passive abandon to a sovereign fate is a slippery impasse to sit at. Both sides represent over-simplification and harm.

    The Bible talks about our spirit having union with His being less about reading smoke signals from the Great Spirit on High as much as not quenching His leading. It's life on the vine uninhibited versus mimic fruit exercises.

    Hearing God by Dallas Willard is a studly book on those very questions. i happen to have a copy available...

    Can we make the wrong decision? Yes. Can we quench the Spirit? yes. Can God be impeded? No. Mystery. Does He desire to consume every area of decision making? Yes. Does He desire us to be paralyzed in "committee evaluation" for each step of the day? No. Practice His Presence is a huge part. It's like it's pretty hard to get in trouble with another woman when you're loving on your wife...well, it's hard to go too far off track if you're abandoned in the heart of Abba Father.

  7. I would have to agree with the both of you. I have been noticing that my greatest challenge right now is my own personal relationship with Christ. I have challenged myself to resolve this and it is interesting that we are starting the 60:60 revolution at this time. This new study will really help me to build disciplines that i have previously over-looked or not placed enough importance on.

    Wanna lend me another book Michael? I am thinking maybe i should just go through your library and create a queue.... lol

    I have read Kyle and Michaels posts numerous times. Each time i conclude that if i am one with Christ then my decisions are made in Christ? I still find myself debating whether my decision is really what God's will is or if it is me telling myself what i want to hear... i guess i just have lots to learn.

  8. Maybe t is mre about being willing than "willful"...

    Phil 2:13 "He works in us to..."
    Heb 12:2 "Let us fix our eyes on..."

    Just a helpful nudge from one who has endeavored to be more "disciplined"

    Some of my "speaking" has turned to breathing and contemplation...


  9. One of the most powerful and fresh analogies for the concept of fully surrendering to God was penned by Ted Dekker in his Circle Trilogy (Red, Black and White). In the context of that narrative, experiencing full renewal/restoration and healing from a terminal disease required one to voluntarily drowned in a specific lake. As you sank in there were increasingly acute waves of panic as you felt your lungs being filled and your window of opportunity to go back to the surface closing...but right at the moment of lost consciousness, of full abandon - was where a wave of warmth came over as you were then born new.

    Sometimes the angst of Christ-following seems like how Dekker described the panic attacks of feeling your lungs filled with something that removes your independence...and, yet, is the very threshold to abundant life.

  10. Are retractions allowed on this blog? Cause if so i would have to retract my worst fear from Past Decisions to simply myself; kind like a do-over??? I am my own worst fear, how about that.