I’m not a big roller coaster fan. Or a drop from the sky fan. Or anything that simulates the possibility of falling to my death. I like to keep my feet firmly planted and safe on the ground. Along those same lines, I don’t enjoy horror movies or spook houses. I do not enjoy that “thrill” that comes from fear. I’ll take silly over scary any day!
I have a fear of heights. I don’t sleep during thunder storms. When I hear about a wreck on the freeway or see a fire truck racing off, I call my kids just to be sure they’re ok. I don’t see any reason to put wheels on or under my feet. That’s just preparing to fall. Likewise, ice was meant for tea not sliding around on. I never learned to water ski. No matter how often my dad told me he would come back and get me, I would forget to let go of the rope when I fell. I spent a lot of time coughing up lake water one summer.
But, I think more than anything else, I fear not being “good enough” and thus an imposition. This fear permeates every minute of my day. It’s the reason I avoid making phone calls. What if I interrupt something? It keeps me from meeting people. What if they don’t like me? It keeps me from connecting to others any deeper than a surface level. That way, they’ll never know that I’m inferior in some way. On the flip side, it keeps me safe. I don’t have to worry about being rejected, because I rarely get close enough for it to hurt. This fear of not being good enough keeps the walls up around me. You may be able to see me, but you will have a hard time getting to me.
Grief has a way of demolishing all those walls. It removes the filters because you just don’t care what anyone thinks any more. But, I’ve realized that grief will also build newer walls much faster and they are often thicker. Solitude is safe. Loneliness is a small price to pay to avoid that searing pain, again. But, God did not intend for me to hide away in fear of what might happen.
There are lots of verses about fear. Here are a few:
1. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
2. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matt 10:31 NIV
3. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 NLT
4. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Psalm 91:4-8 NLT
5. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. Psalm 112:7 NLT
There are many, many more. And they help. Until, once again, I begin to believe that I need to measure up to the expectations of the people around me.
I know that Christ died for my sins and I will never be good enough to deserve that. I am blessed by that grace. I accept that. It’s the irrational fears of day to day life that take me to my knees. It’s a daily struggle to let go and trust.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” Really? What about you?