Fear. It doesn’t just cripple the moment, it taints all aspects of life. It distorts truth. What is perceived as real is far from reality. It hinders. It chains and oppresses. Fear is an entity, a life-robbing being which drapes its wrath about you, impersonating comfort until you’re comfortable in it.
Fear touches the vast crevices of life so that it’s something that can’t be disregarded or discarded. It seems as though it’s imbedded and permanent, part of the very thread that makes up the fabric of who you are and the life you’re living.
Fear. It influences decisions, dictates relationships, and designs schedules.
Consider what sways your decisions, and think on how much of your choices are controlled by fear. We fear others’ opinions, what we are lacking, what our choices today will mean for our tomorrow. We fear for our health and that of our loved ones and friends. We are afraid of death and dying and loss and sorrow. We are overcome by mind-altering grief due to fear that robs us of life and makes us ill.
Are you ready to live life? Are you ready to live fear free? Are you ready to open up your world? Are you ready?
I want us to instead focus on God. Talk to Christ always. Invite His Holy Spirit to dwell within you and grow in a deeply intimate relationship with Him. With the Holy Spirit living inside, God can guide you, encourage you, and fill you with His peace. Also, as He becomes more of a focus in your life, fear is naturally diminished. When we have Christ, first and foremost, at our center, when we choose to keep our eyes on Him, regardless of the circumstances in our life, His qualities fill us to overflowing. Though I know this and encourage it for others, I must confess my own shortcoming.
I’ve been terribly afraid to travel. For whatever reason, the passenger seat of a vehicle makes me overly anxious. During the drivers training of my two older daughters, they both asked me not to ride with them ever again as I was too anxious. It’s never fun to be in the passenger seat where the brake pedal just doesn’t exist. Believe me. I’ve searched for it many a time. My husband has dealt with my anxiety on trips and has at times pulled over and told me to drive.
I desperately want to not feel this way. Interestingly, I trust God with my life, and though I may not understand it, I do desire His will to be done, even when the day comes that it means my earthly death. My husband and I have talked often of traveling the country in the future so I can market my books and speak to audiences about that personal relationship with our Lord. I’m super hesitant, because I’m afraid to be the passenger in our RV but I’m also afraid to drive it. Additionally, I’m petrified to fly.
Ultimately, fear has made my life rather small. I am a homebody. I claim it and enjoy it, but deep inside, I wonder if it is so because it caters to my fears.
About three weeks ago, my second daughter turned twenty-one. She moved to the Los Angeles region just more than a year ago. She’s come home a couple times to visit and often suggests I visit her in LA to which I simply smile, knowing it’ll never happen. That makes me sad though. I’m feeling the limitations fear has put on me and the support I want to show my child. I’m not good at gift giving. I’ve always disliked the idea of giving out of obligation, and I struggle with finding the right gifts. Since Hannah was turning the magical twenty-one, I purchased her two tickets to the LA Winefest, a wine tasting in an outdoor setting in Los Angeles. I felt that her reaction was one of, let’s say, not excitement. She did suggest, however, that I come to it with her as there were two tickets.
I felt bad. I knew that the best gift was something I couldn’t give, my visit. After a lot of prayer and a discussion with my husband, I offered to fly out to see her. Her reaction was precious. From that day on I was anxious. I was filled with fear. Days were spent worrying about the flight, the drive into the city airport, parking, finding the right terminal. Never was I envisioning actually being with my daughter. Perhaps I feared death was imminent before reaching her.
This fear continued for nearly two weeks. I wasn’t excited in the least. My anxiety spread into many areas of my life. Peace was present but it was more of a resignation. One day, my husband was talking about my upcoming trip and commented about how great and relaxing it’ll be to be on vacation. Vacation, I questioned inwardly? Vacation? Never, in all this time, had I considered it vacation. Fear, death, an accident, yes, but vacation in beautiful California with my dearly loved daughter, no.
That word, vacation, hung with me all day long, and I realized that I wanted to believe that. Desperately I wanted to believe that. That was so much more wonderful a belief than the fear that had imbedded itself into my being. At some time that night, I felt like God freed me. I was able to be excited for a few days prior to my departure. On the day I was to leave, I woke early, showered, put my bags into the car, kissed my husband goodbye, drove my son to school, and headed out on my journey. The drive was wonderful as I worshipped and rejoiced, singing along with praise songs on Pandora. When I got close to the city and the traffic got more congested, I had no fear. When I saw a plane overhead, my heart leapt. I would’ve thought it was butterflies from fear, but it wasn’t. I felt, in that moment, that I had just opened a present and that present was the world and an extreme excitement filled me. The fear that had crippled was now unable to stop me from seeing how much bigger life was than just my own home. That revelation, the power of God in me overcoming my fears, caused tears to flow!
I arrived at the airport, got to park in overflow parking which cost less, made my way through security, and sat down to a light lunch fear free. I waited for my flight, boarded the plane, sat between two wonderful people who I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know, watched a movie, saw amazing sights of the country far below (part of which is in my next novel), and arrived to be hugged by my wonderful daughter!
I am sitting here in her living room in Burbank, California, sharing how awesome life is when we fill ourselves up with God so that His Being displaces the false realities of fear. Fear cripples a moment, God relaxes it, and the view of reality transforms. No longer hindered, anything is possible. Fear’s chains can no longer oppress. The comfort impersonated becomes a weight lifted. The view is so much greater now. I pray you, as well, can be filled to overflowing, displacing fear in the process and enjoy the life God has designed for you.