I simply see the word written on paper and my mind floods with painful memories of times I’ve been in the heat of it. Words like: death, disease, divorce, disaster come crashing into my mind as if to remind me, “Ah yes, you have met fear before. In fact, you have quite a past history with this character.”
But is this relationship- this history built- with fear what God intended me to know, to become comfortable with? Often, I toss my hands in the air as if to say, “woe is me- this is just the cross that I bear”. I take the blows of the fearful situations because I assume they are just the consequences of a messed up world.
I take this mindset and get comfortable with it as if to wear a pair of shoes that don’t fit. Let’s face it, shoes that don’t fit are terribly uncomfortable but, if it’s all you’ve got, you settle in them anyway- especially if they “make the outfit”. The good Lord knows I don’t mess up a good outfit with the wrong pair of shoes.
Could I present you with a new idea about fear- a new pair of shoes if you will?
I don’t know that, as Christ followers, we need to go around wearing these shoes that don’t fit. If we are going to be wearing shoes, it gets to be the shoes that are “fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6: 15 NIV) Interesting that the exact contrast of fear is peace, huh?
What if the meaning of “fear” has been tainted and twisted by the enemy to scare us and keep us in bondage to that thing of which we are scared?
What if God does want us to fear, but we have become so saturated with sin that we can’t even locate the authentic meaning of what fear is- the origination of the word by Him, through Him, and for Him.
In Philippians, Paul talks about fear by saying, “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling…” (Philippians 2:12 NIV) Or how about the English Standard Version which says, “…show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”
What if the authentic meaning of the word “fear” has less to do with a result (of a situation) and more to do with a response (of reverence for our Savior)?
Ponder this up and pray this out.
I sat in the kitchen, folding laundry, sipping coffee, tears streaming down my face. I’m scared. I want to know what’s next but I don’t and that scares me. Naturally, I cry. Most often I cry in the face of fear because I know what lies on the other side of a fear becoming reality.
I hate the idea of experiencing grief again. It is such a temptation for me to allow my mind to settle into fear instead of crying out to God in the midst of fear. But today I’m so tired of settling into fear. Today, I’m reminded that I’m free in Jesus name. So today I went against my instinct to settle and cried out to God to show himself mighty where I feel so weak.
I told him I’m scared of pain and asked him to show me how to have hope here.
I told him I’m scared to grieve again and asked him to show me how to trust (his continued faithfulness) here.
I told him I don’t know how to stop focusing on the “what ifs” and asked him to help me learn how to rest in the “even ifs”.
I’m so tired of living and doing life the same way I always have- in fear. I’m tired of trying to control life circumstances that are so uncontrollable anyway. I’m tired of reading the scripture and being moved by them but not changed by them.
Don’t you want to read these ancient words that are ever true and see them come to life? I do and I’m tired of tolerating anything less than all he has to give.
It’s occurred to me that I don’t know how any of this can happen if I first don’t cry out to God for help.
I think of times I ask my children questions that I already know the answer to, but I want to hear the answer in their own words and from their own heart. It’s in this space with them that we learn each other better, know each other more, and love is demonstrated where it couldn’t had they not talk to their mom.
I understand that God is different because he already knows our heart but there is something powerful that happens (for us) when we cry out to our Creator in complete vulnerability.
We must cry out to our Father.
Cry Out: to utter inarticulate sounds, especially of lamentation, grief, or suffering, usually with tears, to weep; shed tears, with or without sound, to call loudly; shout; yell (sometimes followed by out), to demand resolution or strongly indicate a particular disposition
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.