Fearfully Fearless

Fear. It’s a powerful feeling. One that can lead to completely irrational decisions. A feeling that robs you of reality. And yet we seem to take some sort of pleasure in it. We go to the movies just to experience it. We pay money to be surprised, panicked, and even terrified. We have an addiction to its power. Although at times we make ourselves vulnerable to fear that will forever haunt us.

As a youth I loved going to my friends houses. On the weekends we would all get together, four maybe five of us, and do all the things young girls would do. One of these pastimes was to tell stories. Some were completely ridiculous, well actually all of them were. Yet at the time, they seemed to accomplish the goals we had set for them. Which of course was to make us scared enough not to want to be left alone for any amount of time.  There is one story that to this day is stuck inside my head. It haunts my rational thinking and tempts my heart to give way to fear.

It started like all of our stories did, “This is a true story.” All of us knowing of course that it wasn’t any such thing, however, it gave it a more “real” feeling, I suppose. In the story was a young girl who lived with her best friend. She had been out late one night and when she had finally gotten home she decided to be considerate and not turn on the lights and disturb her friend. Instead she climbed into bed draped her hand over the side to pet what she thought was her dog until she fell fast asleep. Gruesome story short, she woke up the next morning to a note on the mirror that read AREN’T YOU GLAD YOU DIDN’T TURN ON THE LIGHT! And of course the realization that it wasn’t her dog she had been petting.

To this day at night when I’m falling asleep and my hand stretches out over the edge of the bed I still get sick to my stomach with an overwhelming fear that more than my dog is sleeping on the floor. The memory of that story floods my thoughts. I want so bad to pull my hand back and to move to the middle of the bed as if it would be safer. And at the same time I fight to keep my hand outstretched, not wanting to be mastered by fear. It is a true fight. Not something easily pushed from my mind. Why everything logical inside me says “THIS IS STUPID! Go to sleep!” It’s like my body has taken over. Doing all that it can to convince me that my hand should move and quickly. I’m all the sudden given a million reasons that my hand should withdraw. It’s uncomfortable. I want to roll over. On my back would be the best. Or maybe my stomach. My nose itches and this hand is the closest. Anything and everything just to pull my hand back to safety. All this fear from a stupid story I heard when I was maybe twelve years old. If I had known then what I would feel now would I have still listened?

If I had known then… what I would feel or what I would know now. An extremely powerful thought. If had known then… would it had made a difference? And while I would usually advise steering clear of the “what if” world, in this case it can provide us with a great deal of wisdom for the present and the future. You see, I honestly don’t know if I would have chosen not to listen. We empty so much into our thoughts and hearts, sometimes even knowing what it could lead to and still we entertain those thoughts and feelings. We muse so often over the terrifying, stressful, worrisome, dirty things of this world. That it’s honestly of no shock that we feel burdened and beat down by it. Even the evening news is enough to make you want to pull your family in close and never leave the house again.

Fear. It surrounds us, waiting to make every attempt at invading our minds and playing Russian roulette with our decisions. It lurks in the shadows waiting for the opportunity to strike. And at times we don’t have the choice of being confronted by it. Fear can come from everyday happenings. The type we like to think will never happen to us. And yet even to the strongest people it attacks. But we do hold the power of how we will respond to it. We should first realize that fear has no place in a Christians life. Not to say that we won’t experience things that cause us to panic, or be scared, or worry. But it’s still your choice on what you allow your heart to give way to. Fear and worry will do nothing but divide your mind.  It’s like trying to focus on two objects that are sitting at opposite sides of the room. It can’t be done. It is for this reason Paul says “If then you have been raised up in Christ keep seeking the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above not on the things of the earth” (Col. 3:1). To say that we trust and have faith in God but then to allow ourselves to be tossed around by fears of this world is unbecoming of the rights we now own as children of God. For we are hidden in Christ and all that comes to us must first be allowed through Him. This isn’t to say that each time my hand hangs over the side of the bed that my heart won’t be inundated with fear, but it is to say that I can make the choice to take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ and to give up my fear to God. Allowing Him to be master of my fear, rather than allowing my fear to be master over me. I can choose to put it all; whatever might be diverting my gaze from God, into the hands of an Almighty God. The fear may keep attacking, but know this God will continue protecting. Allow His perfect love to cast out fear. Rest in His peace. Seek His presence.

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