This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for quite some time. I keep thinking that it will be so long and take so much time and put way too much of myself out there, but I think it’s finally time to start.
Fear rules my life.
I’m afraid of losing those I love the most – my mom, my dad, my brother, my boyfriend. I’m afraid of life after college. I’m afraid of tornadoes.
I’m afraid of snakes and birds and fish. I’m afraid of being fat. I’m afraid of not being able to fall asleep and lying awake at night.
I’m afraid of intruders, robbers, rapists, prowlers, stalkers, etc. I’m afraid of moving to another country and not speaking the language or liking the food. I’m afraid of my boyfriend’s twin brother.
I’m afraid of people knowing, really knowing, me. I’m afraid of being lonely. I’m afraid of being asked why I believe in God.
There’s a lot of things, people, places, and ideas that I’m fearful of. Those fears impact how I think, and thus, how I speak and how I act. Fear controls my attitude as well.
Because of these fears, and how the amount of them has increased over the years, every area of my life has been (and still is) ruled by fear. It’s terrible, really.
As a child, I was scared to death of tornadoes. Almost every night for the three years that we lived in southwestern Minnesota, I couldn’t sleep and instead found myself in the kitchen, crying because I was so afraid that a tornado would come.
I was also afraid of being away from my parents. Whenever I would have a sleepover during this same time period, I would cry and carry on until my parents came and picked me up. This actually continued once we moved – my parents didn’t leave me often because of this, but once in a while my brother and I would spend the weekend with my mom’s best friend and her family, who lived about an hour away. I would cry and cry for the first couple of hours and then realized it wasn’t so bad after all.
Thinking back on my childhood and growing up years, one event sticks out as causing me to be fearful. I have a secret – one that I certainly won’t post on this blog – and because it’s so terrible and embarrassing and dreadful, I’ve been afraid all my life that people will find out. This secret has caused other problems in my life, impacting how I live when no one’s around and how I relate to others and how I view myself.
The secret can’t be the only thing that has instilled fear in me. My family had the most influence on me in my early, formative years of life. I only remember my mom as caring and wonderful. I remember disliking my dad and always being scolded by my mom for treating him so poorly. I don’t know why things were this way…I just know that I didn’t like my dad. Our relationship remains awkward and strained to this day.
Maybe something happened that caused me to be fearful of him? Something that, to this day, makes me fearful and suspicious of men? Scared to trust men (or really anyone) with my heart and my life. This isn’t a fun place to be. Living in fear and acting out of fear is awful.
I’ve heard recently that the phrase “fear not” is in the Bible a lot. I looked it up, and it seems that “do not fear” and “do not be afraid,” which are essentially synonymous in my eyes, appear 365 (or 366 according to some counts) times.
God doesn’t want His children to live in fear. In fact, He commands them not to. He never says, “Try not to be afraid,” or “Being fearful isn’t a great idea.” He says clearly “Do not fear. Do not be afraid.”
So if I live in fear, am I living in sin? Well, if I believe that what God commands is right and true, and that if doing things contrary to His commands is sin, then yes, living in fear would be sinful. The implications of this: I am living in sin. A lot of sin.
I don’t know what to do about this. This is how I live. This is the only way I know how.
May Jesus come into these broken and hurting places. May He overwhelm my heart and show me that I need not fear. May it be so supernatural and life-giving and joy-filled that I can’t help but give in and allow the Lord to overtake my body and soul. May fear flee as Jesus claims me as His own.