There are many things I hate about fear.
I hate that sensation. The tightness in my chest, like suddenly my lungs and heart and ribs have been crammed into a cage much too small for them.
I hate all the imaginary stories he tells me. The ones that fill my most vivid mental projectors with a hundred different worst case scenarios that…hardly…ever happen.
I hate the false sense of urgency he infuses into my veins. The decision has to made now OR ELSE. I have to tell that person now OR ELSE. I have to give up now OR ELSE. I have to keep trying now OR ELSE!
But the thing I hate most about fear, is it’s restrictive power on my awareness. If the most wonderful thing in my life is my awareness of the God that loves me and how He’s living, working, speaking, moving, breathing, loving in my life in this moment…then the worst thing in my life would be anything that would stunt my awareness of that. And I’ve known no greater culprit in this crime than fear.
I love the peace that my King brings to me. When He tells me He fights on my behalf and will provide everything I need. Like suddenly my lungs and heart and ribs are weightless and lined with the morning’s first glow.
I love all the amazing promises He gives me. The ones spoken so clearly, and repeated so determinedly in His Word…and then repainted by His Spirit on my heart in the way I would see it best. I may not- at first- see every detail of the best case scenario He has coming. But I see it when it happens. And it always…happens. Then I love looking back and knowing that I spent my moments trusting Him peacefully in the mean time. Expecting to be surprised- dazzled once again.
I love the joy of the waiting. The embrace of the journey. He will give me wisdom for that decision at the right moment. He will orchestrate the perfect time to talk to that person. I can hold on because He is in control. I can let go because He is in control.
I love…the awareness of Him. Him now. Him here. In my midst. I love how when I’m on stage singing, and my heart cries out to Him, wondering if my worship matters to Him or anyone…He sends me not 1, not 2, but 5 people after the service to encourage me. I love how when I’m feeling lonely and reading poetry in my room He directs me to a “random” poem that just happens to connect perfectly and undeniably to something He had been showing me earlier that week. I love how when my truck is in the shop for a week and I miss all that time in training…He has already set in place a plan for a friend to invite me to house-sit for her near my gym…so I don’t have to drive so far, and I can catch up on everything I missed. I love…finding Him, with those laughing eyes and bear hugs around every corner..every moment…every day. And that’s why I hate HATE hate fear…because when I’m afraid, I get tunnel vision. This tunnel is muted, dimmed, hazy and suffocating. All I can see is my fear. And I can’t…see…Him…quite….clearly.
When I woke up this morning fear was there. Crawling around the outside of my consciousness. Not as close as he has often been. But I could hear his whispers. Telling me I would fail today. Telling me I’m not enough…I don’t have what it takes to train like I want to. That this week will be a waste. That even if God’s gift was enough to make up for the lack…I won’t be enough.
Opening my Bible I started copying down all the promises I’ve read about God preparing me for the plans He has for me. I read them and prayed them and pictured what they meant in my life. Then I stumbled upon a passage I don’t remember seeing before…
Zephaniah 3:14-17 (Yeah…who reads Zephaniah!?)
Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
The LORD has taken away His judgments against you, He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You will fear disaster no more. In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: “Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp. “The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
Another version ends this passage with..
He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, He will calm all your fears.
And then I was crying. Because I hate when fear stunts my awareness of Him- even by a fraction! But oh- I love when He breaks through it all as the victorious warrior!
Always in my midst.
The more I walk with Him, the less my reflex is to fear, and the more of His wonder I see with eyes and heart wide open. I think it’s time to call the wrecking crew. I’d recommend you take the other road…because this tunnel is closed for demolition.