Fear…the death grip and how to wring free from it.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart….and your paths will be straight”
There’s nothing that makes my paths more crooked than pregnancy, and the hormones, fatigue and sickness it brings.
I plan a course of action, a schedule and an agenda…..and then I don’t have the energy to carry it out.
I want to love my children well…..but patience levels plummet to nil and I find myself bursting out in anger and frustration.
I want to stay fit and trim…..and my body balloons out as it prepares for a growing child. (WHY does this virtual vegetarian crave hamburgers and french fries for a baby that is only two inches long right now?!?)
I want to cling to the Lord and trust on His promises.…but hormones do crazy things to my mind and I can’t find my bearing in the waves of vacillating emotion.
I have a book to finish writing, ONE thing in my life that seems like an attainable goal (when everything else I do is so easily undone )….. and the fatigue and exhaustion dwindles discipline and drive and motivation.
I have a mind brimming with ideas for blog posts, people I want to write letters to, individuals I want to reach out to……and all those ideas are just trapped-trapped in a mind that doesn’t have the time or an able body in which to find fruition.
And we are called to trust the Lord with all our hearts in each of those circumstances.
And I wonder why it is so hard, why I can’t seem to muster up the trust, for on many a day I am crying out to the Lord and He feels far off (you mean, Lord, you’re not just going to send a nanny to my doorstep when I”m struggling through the dinner hour?). But the only way for trust to take root, is to find what is standing in its way.
And I find that the Giant called Fear takes up residency in a place I long for trust to grow.
No, it couldn’t be that. Most of us wouldn’t openly declare, “Hi, I’m ______, and I am filled with fear”
But when levels and layers are uncovered, we find that at the root of our desire and desperate attempts to be in control, fear is the demon driver behind it all.
We want to be in control, and get things done, and have a schedule. Fear of losing control and God not handling it all, drives the desperate grasping after the schedule. I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.
We want to love our children well. Isn’t that the key to them growing to walk with Jesus and become responsible adults. Isn’t that the caliber by which we judge our devotion to God? Fear, that I might ruin my kids, disappoint God, and be exposed as the selfish, sinful person I am is what unsettles ones’ spirit over personal failures. And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.
We want to have a certain image, fit into our culture’s declaration of what beauty is. We want to feel in control of our bodies. It is fear of disapproval, of being looked down upon and judged, fear of spinning out of control of our little kingdom of self found in body building and toning. And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of even this.
We want to be “strong in our faith” and stand on promises of God’s word, but fear of not being strong enough to weather the storms of suffering, propels us into guilt and condemnation for not having more faith. And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.
We want to accomplish our goals and finish what we start, and fear of never finishing, fear of God never bringing to fruition this faith walk He has led us upon, causes panic, “This will never get done!” (which leads to frustration at little people whose diapers and snotty noses and never-ending appetites are the “VERY” reason why it will never get done). And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.
We want to be used to bless people, to help people, and we can’t do that if we don’t follow through with the promptings to reach out, can we? It is fear that God is not big enough for that person thought of, that they need ME to be the one to reach out to them and serve them, that leads to a disappointment with self over not following through. And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.
But I am not the only one who struggles with fear.
A million people who had just seen the mighty hand of God deliver them from slavery, from Egypt along with all the wealth of Egypt, were overcome by fear, despite God’s recent acts of faithfulness and powerful displays of deliverance. Little did they know that the very thing that terrified them (Pharoh’s army pursuing them right up to the Red Sea (Exodus 14:5-9), was the thing God was moving into place to display his glory all the more.
The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen. Exodus 14:18
God was sending the unsurmountable Egyptian army to pursue his people (after they had just been released from their slavery), not to defeat their hope, their spirits, but to build their hope and the faith in His Might and His Love .
And the promise, the hope, the great fear combatant that God declares through Moses to those fearful people watching the Egyptian army pursue them, is one that rings through the centuries, right into this fearful mother pursued by an army of emotional, spiritual, physical and mental oppressors.
“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today… The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:13-14
And since I think in lists, formulas and simplified terms, scribbled in my journal are the bullet points:
1. FEAR NOT.
2. Stand firm
3. See the salvation of the Lord
4. He will work for you
5. The Lord will fight for you
6. You have only to be silent.
If God is in charge. I need not fear. If I let him be in charge, my only need is to stand firm. If I believe He’s always moving even when this tired mother can’t, I can simply watch. Watch him work for me. Watch Him fight for me.
I need only be silent and still.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
(I am slightly addicted to this song right now….my heart’s faith-cry through the trials)