A friend recently sent me a podcast where the host and guest were talking about fear. Oh, joy. As it was a business/health podcast I was expecting a tidal wave of shame-speak about carrying fear and how it was anti-productive. As I've struggled with fear throughout my life, and I've been learning to manage with Jesus and counseling the anxiety it creates in me, this would not be news to me. After a couple of days I decided to read the transcript anyway; I was blown away by what I read.
As they were talking the guest said, "The more further you’re out in the future, the more room for fear to enter." It's the unanswerable "What if?" questions that pour gas on the fire of fear. My mind jumped to 1 John 4:18: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love" (ESV), and connected the two. And as I was attempting to sort it all out John 15 flashed through my mind: "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me" (ESV). What can all these connections mean?
And then this image came to mind: we can rest when we're not afraid. When we're connected with God, he keeps us in the moment - in the present. Jesus invites us not to worry about tomorrow, but to remember how well God provides for the birds and the flowers of the earth. When we rest we can absorb these experiences deep within us. Overtime they create the grounded foundation of feeling known and experiencing God's love for us from which we can boldly move out and forward and take risks, adventure with God, and do so with the courage of a well-loved child.
Fear invites us to worry about what's next. God's love invites us into the freedom of today.
What would you do today if you weren't afraid?
Where do you sense God's gentle invitation in your life? I'd love to know. Share in the comments below.
In closing, a prayer written by Janet Morely in All Desires Known:
From fear of staying still, O God deliver me
From fear of surrender, O God deliver me
From fear of decision, O God deliver me
From fear of losing respect, O God deliver me
From fear of facing my fear, O God deliver me
But from the fear that marks your presence
I beseech you O God, do not deliver me.