For a long time now, I have been living in fear. I didn’t really realize it, though. I knew that I was drifting and unfocused. I think the Lord has been working to get my attention, though, because everywhere I turn, the topic of fear comes up. I’m a Compassionate Entrepreneur for Trades of Hope, and our retreat theme this year was FEARLESS. Based on the theme, I designed a little necklace to wear since I couldn’t make it to the retreat, featuring I John 4:18, “Perfect love drives out fear.” It was still kind of abstract to me, though. Not terribly personal. To be perfectly honest, it was kind of for show. I wanted to be able to say, “I’m not afraid anymore! Did ya hear me? I’m not afraid anymore!” Then as soon as my own personal Old Man Marley came into view, I screamed and ran for dear life.
I read an Internet article someone posted recently about hidden sins. One the author listed was fear. His contention was that the opposite of fear is love, just like I John indicates, and since the Bible also says that God is love, the opposite of fear is God. What is there to be afraid of?
All this just kind of gelled for me the morning of January 31st as I heard the pastor speak at church. I had a string of AHA moments. The pastor had asked me months ago if I would share some thoughts for communion one Sunday, and I. freaked. out. I met with him to “discuss” it, and we talked about how I was very nervous about talking in front of a congregation of that size, and that was true. What I didn’t talk to him about, though, was how afraid I was of sharing about communion because a) my faith has been tenuous at best for a few years now, and b) I was terrified of letting anyone know what is really going on inside my head and my heart.
I want people to think well of me. I want people to think I have it all together. I want people to only see me filtered and cropped. But here’s the problem: I admire people who are raw and real about their faith and their struggles with it. I’m jealous of how they let it all hang out and don’t seem to care what people think. Truly. But I still don’t want to open myself up. Why? I am so scared that people will look down on me. I’ve always had a reputation as someone who is very sure of her beliefs, and I don’t want anyone to know that I’m faltering and…*gasp!*…don’t have all the answers. I’m a control freak who likes to be right. Letting my guard down is a loss of control over how people see me. And somehow worse than being wrong is the horrible vagueness of not knowing what to believe about certain things.
But I’m tired of living in fear. I’m tired of people not knowing that losing my mother shook me to my core. I was so rigid for so long that my faith couldn’t bend, and so it fractured. I fractured. And so I have been waiting. Waiting for me to get it all figured out and ready to display an unedited version of myself to everyone. A version of me that I like. But I don’t know when or if that is ever going to happen, so I am choosing to embrace who and what and where I am. I have many confessions to make, but this is not where I intend to do that right now.
Instead, when I had these revelations, I wrote this out and have been waiting to share it. I did, however, message the pastor to let him know that I’m ready to share when they need me to. (I was actually afraid I’d change my mind if I didn’t go ahead and do it. Ironic, right?)
I won’t ever be perfectly fearless. But I am trying. And if you see me scream like Kevin and run through the house and dive under the bed, point me back to this post to help me remember that I have nothing to fear.