Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fear

Fear. We all have it. Some of us have "them"- more than one.

Prior to having kids, I had a couple. I feared Jamey would die and leave me alone to navigate the rest of my life. I feared he would get tired of me and leave me for someone else (He never gave me any reason to think this- this was all me). When I imagined what I would do if he died or left me, I would imagine myself having to quit my job and move back home with my parents. I would be so devastated. I couldn't imagine life beyond that- beyond crying into my pillow in my childhood room. I couldn't envision any joy or life whatsoever.

Then, I had kids. Oh, boy, did the fears come then. For me, most of them revolve around me not be able to protect them- from an intruder or from a natural disaster (floods, specifically- what in the world?!). I would lay in bed at night rehearsing what I would do, each tactic, the whole plan, until I would find a way to save them. In conversations with a couple of girlfriends, I realized this was not uncommon- for moms to worry (reeeally worry) about protecting their kids. I thought it was just part of being a mom- some form of motherly instinct we all have. I gave into the fears and let myself play and replay the scenarios over and over in mind, always breathing a prayer at the end. "Please, God, don't let that ever happen."

But what if it did happen?

I am fully immersed in a Beth Moore Bible study on the book of Esther at the church we are attending. This past week, we looked at the passage (a matter of only several verses- Esther 4:11-16) where Esther moves from two polar opposite positions. First, she tells Mordecai she cannot go before the king to persuade him to let the Jews live because anyone who goes before the king, unsummoned, could be put to death. Then, after some straight-talk from Mordecai (ladies, go look this stuff up- it's powerful), Esther asks Mordecai to fast with her. She will go before the king in three days and says, "If I perish, I perish." Talk about a change of heart. Talk about courage.

Beth Moore challenged us to think of our worst fear and then fill in these blanks.

If____________(insert your worst fear), then_____________ (insert what would happen to you).

It is easy to fill the second blank in with "I couldn't go on" or "I'd die". Beth challenged us to ask ourselves "Then what?" For example, if I lost one of my children (Lord, have mercy), I would scream and cry until I had no breath or tears. Then what? Then, I'd scream and cry some more. Then what? Then, I'd be angry with God, with myself, with whoever stood in a 5 mile radius of what had happened. Then what? Then, I'd fall into some type of depression, I'm sure. Then what? Then, I'd remember my other kids and Jamey and my other family and try to pull myself together. Then what? Then, I'd probably come crawling back to God, knowing that he didn't want that to happen. Then what? Then, I'd probably try to find some way of celebrating my child's life and connect with others who've gone through loss. Then what? Then, one day, I'd probably be okay (relative term, here, but able to function) and need God more than ever. Then what? He'd still love me.

All this to say, Beth pointed out that we need to do more than to just trust God that bad things won't happen. Likely, they won't. But, true trust is to trust Him even when they do happen and even knowing that they might.

No matter what we fill in that first blank, the second blank must be "God" or "God will take care of me". He will. He promises never to leave us (Hebrews 13:5,6). Even when we feel He has, He hasn't. Our "feel" is messed up. He's there.

This has challenged me to trust God at another level. When those fears creep into my head, I can recognize them for what they are- ways someone is trying to break my trust, use the love of my children to ruin my day or my night, my joy. We are not to fear. Did you know that the most frequent instruction in the Bible is 'do not fear'? Do not fear. Fear not. Take courage.

Let's take courage, trust God no matter what (and mean it!) and give those fears a good kick in the rear.

A song I've often sung in church...

Don't be afraid.
My love is stronger.
My love is stronger than your fear.

Don't be afraid.
My love is stronger
and I have promised,
promised to be always near.

(Words and music by John Bell.)

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So much of this post was inspired by Beth Moore. She led me to these thoughts. I chose to embrace them. Thank you, Beth. Thank you, Lord.
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3 comments:

  1. Amen and AMEN! Fear is not of God...

    I love all of your "then what"'s...so true. So real. Sounds to me like you moved through the natural progression of grief. And isn't it amazing that no matter what, our God LOVES us so much?

    I have terrible fears and anxiety...but slowly but surely the Lord is teaching me to focus on Him and not "them". I used to fear a plane crash...and that we would crash into the ocean, and of course, only the kids and I would survive. (Hello?!!) And then I would freak out over how I was going to hold them AND my floatation device (excuse me? a seat cushion!!) until help arrived. Crazy. And so not of God.

    I think it's good to have emergency plans. But not to obsess over them...been there, done that. Good for you for listening to God. Beth Moore's bible studies are amazing...and have a way of really bringing it all around to God and His amazing love for us.

    xoxoxo

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  2. Thanks for this post...what a blessing to be taught the Truth found in God's Word! He is All-Sufficient and He is in control of all things...He is SO GOOD! Memorizing Scripture will help with those thoughts that go wandering. God's Word has a way of calming the soul.
    Blessings,
    Camille

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  3. I think it's rather brave of you to post your fears....I don't think I could do that. Sorry you didn't win the party hat...if I had known that Mamajj was sitting at Panera when I drew the names I would of rigged it :)

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Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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