Fear: A look in the Mirror

I had coffee with my friend, Sarah, today and God showed up. Sarah is such a wonderful friend to have when you need to process through things – she is an amazing listener and is great at asking just the right questions to draw you out of yourself and help you unpack things. I love my friend Sarah!!

Anyway, I went to coffee feeling really drained and tired. I went feeling physically unwell as well as emotionally unwell and I left feeling refreshed.

We talked about a lot of things, but mainly we talked about fear. I shared with Sarah the deep fear that I have right now around some of the decisions that I need to make. We talked about the part of me that plays the role of protector and follows fear as a way of protecting me from hurt and failure and rejection. We talked about accepting that protector side of me and acknowledging it without giving it an overly dominant and controlling voice in my life. We talked about whether I want to follow fear or not. We talked about a lot of things.

I went home feeling refreshed and hopeful. I still felt the uncertainty in my life, but I felt like I could look at that uncertainty and look at the fear and say, “This is true, I am scared, I am uncertain, but it’s not the whole story.” I can acknowledge these truths and feelings and also acknowledge a deeper truth… God is with me. When I got home I wanted to dance to this one particular song, but I didn’t have it anymore. So, I got on my old blog because I knew I’d written about the song once. I started searching for the post about the song but I couldn’t find it, instead I found this post I had written in 2003 about fear. It was so good to be reminded of these things I had written before…

As I looked back on my life (especially in the last few years) I realized that many of my decisions were made based on a paralyzing sense of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of not doing the "right thing", fear of not living up to the expectations that others put on me or I put on myself, fear of life, fear of love, fear of not being in control, fear of being in control, basically just FEAR. There are a lot of things that I've been realizing about fear: Fear is really just lack of trust and faith in God. If I really trusted the goodness, love, mercy and grace of my God and Savior, how could I fear? If I really believed fully His sweet Words then how could I fear? If I really had faith that He walks beside me and loves me how could I fear? The fact of the matter is, though, that too often I don't trust, I don't believe, and I don't have faith - instead, I choose to try to control my own life, and fear every turn in the road because I know I can't really control it. Fear clutches at my soul and attempts to strangle life and freedom from me. And it is only through surrendering all to God and finally coming before Him with open hands choosing to trust in His goodness that the grip of fear begins to be loosed and I can begin again to dance in the fullness of life that He desires for me. I can't say I've even begun to live life without fear; I can't say that fear no longer paralyzes me, but I can say that God is revealing to me His love - not by what is physically happening in my life - but by His cross and His Spirit which is at work in my life. As I realize more and more Christ's deep love for me, I realize more and more the absurdity of my fear, and the grip of fear on my life, on my joy, on my freedom, on my love, is loosened more and more. I know that I no longer HAVE to fear the future, or failure, or disappointment, or hurt, or rejection, or whatever. And now I think it really just comes down to "ok, Bethany, God has been faithful to you in the past - in your own recent past, He has walked beside you - In the distant past He has fought for you, died for you and in doing so given you life abundant - And in the future, which will one day out do all pasts before, He has promised you a hope, and life eternal. He has promised you that you will see Him face to face; that you will know Him even as you are known; that all tears, all hurt, all brokenness, and all fear will be erased and irrevocable joy will be yours eternally. With the blood that He poured out in the past, once and for all proving His love for you, He has given you LIFE, here and now, and in the age to come. Now, holding to that hope, holding to that perfect love, what do you have to fear? Christ is giving you LIFE - so open your hands, and receive all that He has to offer. Open you heart and start dancing - you don't have to fear that you'll mess up, you have a wonderful dance partner, and He will eternally be holding you as you dance through the ages of time, and the beauties of experiences. Now will you trust Him?" This is Christ's call to me; this is His challenge… I will listen and try to respond and reorder my life accordingly. I choose this day who I'm going to serve, who I’m going to follow. I choose this day who I'm going to fear. Lord, I don't want to fear my own junk any more - I want to fear You, and You alone. Show me your love more and more that I may know you truly and love you deeply. I hand over to You my life, my fears, my hopes, dreams, and desires, and I pray that you do with them as you will. Lord, I surrender! Help me to trust you more and more each day, that I may walk in confidence of your love instead of my own fear and doubt.

Lord, as I read these words again I acknowledge once again that I have let fear have too big a say in my life. I have followed fear instead of following you. Lord, I choose this day to turn. I choose this day to follow you and what you are calling me to instead of just blindly listening to fear. I am yours, Lord, lead me.

Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman