The sun peaks around the corner of the drapes where I didn’t pull it over far enough before I went to bed. It’s warmth and glow draw a line on my bed as I try to convince myself it’s time to get up, as in actually out of the bed.
I roll over and somehow my feet are faithful to hold me up this time. Whew, over that hurdle. I shuffle over to my dresser and pull out something to wear, from the clothes pile that’s still sitting there, I manage to get my shirt on not only right side out, but right side in front. This could be a good day!
I shuffle-yawn my way out to the living room where I find “my spot” on the couch, pull on my favorite quilt and try to settle in while I warm up again. As I reach for my Bible, my arm coming out of its warmness, I realize I’m wearing what I wore yesterday. Again.
At first, I do the eye roll thing and think of how lazy I am. Then, as quickly as that thought appeared a new ones emerge to replace it, “Who cares, no one can see me. I like this outfit, it’s comfy and I want to be comfortable.”
Now, normally this would be fine, and it totally cuts down on laundry, but in light of what I posted recently on Facebook, this takes on a whole new meaning. A much, much deeper one. It makes me think of the spiritual parallel about what we wear. How we put on things that are comfortable and familiar to us with the same ease of meeting up with old friends. We let our guard down and rest in knowing what to expect. Well, just like all sizes of clothing aren’t equal (ahem, so bummed about that shirt I thought would fit!) all friendships aren’t equal. Some of them, we should really examine and honestly evaluate to see if they really are true and healthy friendships at all, especially the ones on the spiritual side of things.
You see, while I’ve claimed to have mostly grown up very alone and very unknown, it’s actually only mostly true. Which means, slightly false. The false part being that I actually did have constant “companions”. Some of their names were Shame, Loneliness, Forgotten, Unloved and Ugly. They would invite their friends Anger, Bitterness, Rage, Unworthiness and Rejection over to play. My most constant friend though, the one who always showed up, never missed an event and was the most loyal to me, that friend, I have always called that friend Fear.
Fear and I? Yeah, we go waaaaaaaaay back. I mean, we’re talking as far back as I can remember, which is like, the 70’s. Fear was my first friend in the whole, wide world and has always been there for me. Whenever I wanted to do something, Fear was right their to talk me out of it. Always the protector, that faithful Fear. Whenever I wanted to trust, to be myself, to say something, to show emotion or to care for someone (or to let someone care for me), Fear was right there to help me realize I was being foolish. Wow, what would I have done all those years without Fear?!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t always do what Fear said I should do. In fact, there were times where I stepped out, did things without Fear and it wasn’t all bad. There were also the times when I didn’t listen, did my own thing, and I ended up kicking myself for thinking I could be right instead of Fear. Those were the times I was glad I had Fear around, you know, to protect me. Ahhhh, the comfort of the good ol’ days. Right, Fear? Right?
Funny thing though, since I’ve been a Christian and try to live the way a Christian would, I’ve come to realize a few things about my so-called-friend. Fear doesn’t like it very much when I talk about it either. But that’s ok. Let’s make this time one of the times we don’t listen and step outside of Fear.
Here’s a list of 5 things about Fear:
1. Fear is NOT from God. As a Christian, I am called to walk in faith, love, hope, grace. Not once am I called to walk in fear. The Bible actually tells us the exact opposite. Say what?! Yep, in 1 John 4:18 the Bible clearly states the God is love and that His perfect love, Jesus, casts out all fear. We are supposed to run away from anything that’s not from God and to cling to that which is good and of God (Romans 12:9).
2. Fear is an idol. Anything we bow our knee to, give ourselves to, give a place of authority or priority to; physically and/or spiritually; knowingly or unknowingly, is an idol (or at the very least has the potential of becoming and idol). Every time I allow or give in to choosing fear, it is a “sacrifice” to my idol of fear. The very first commandment (as in the 10 Commandments) God gives us in Exodus 20 & Deuteronomy 5 is: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” This is not easy to do, but when we see it, we must deal with it through repentance.
3. Fear is NOT my identity. All throughout scripture we read about who, and Whose, we are. Not once does it say our identity, who we are and who we were created to be, is that of fear. NOT. ONCE. It does say our identity is found in Christ and Who He is. God is peace, joy, hope, forgiving, gentle, loving, and truth. All throughout the Bible God is constantly referring to us like this: beloved, cherished, chosen, wonderfully made, sought after. Imagine if we truly believed this and walked in this truth daily.
4. Fear is NOT truth. I heard once that you could look at the word “fear” as an acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is based in lies. The Bible tells us in John 8 that the devil is behind lies. Since we know that the devil is evil and is out to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8) we can safely assume that we shouldn’t listen to lies and that we should then saturate our minds, thoughts and lives with God’s truth. Our focus needs to be on what’s true and real and not on what is untrue but is trying to appear real. We can do this by reading the Bible and replacing our lies with its truth.
5. FEAR IS NOT MY FRIEND. Period. The End.
When I was a child, I didn’t know Fear was not my friend. I was blinded, deceived, and it was all I had, all I knew. Over the years I have come to realize just how much damage Fear has actually caused in my life, how much it has stolen from me, how much I have given to it, fed it, helped it grow. By the time I was an adult I couldn’t see past the facade of Fear, I only saw what I thought I saw, what I wanted to see. Who wants to realize, and then admit, that they were betrayed, by a friend?
Well, today, I am willing to admit it. For all to see and hear.
As I choke back tears and pain and fears, with trembling fingers I would like to make a public announcement.
FEAR IS NOT MY FRIEND.
And I’m ok if no one else is my friend. It doesn’t change who I am. And I’m ok with that. It doesn’t change Whose I am. And I’m totally ok with that. I don’t need people to validate the validity of my existence.
People will hurt me, I will hurt people and not everyone will like me. I’m still valuable to the God of the universe and Jesus showed me I was worth dying for. That’s enough for me.
I’m not going to be afraid anymore.
Well, at least, that’s my goal. Baby steps, right? Well, ok, this is more of a humongous leap, but after this? Baby steps.
Wanna come with me?
Soli Deo Gloria,