Facing Fear in the Concrete.

I'm fairly comfortable with things in theory. For example, in theory, fish is good for me and is tasty; in practice, I can't get myself to swallow the slimy meat or purchase Omega-3 supplements. In theory, I could stop drinking coffee at the drop of a hat, but in practice, I'd get awful withdrawal headaches and would miss my friendly pal named Caffeine.

In theory, my fears seem pretty conquerable, but in practice, my stomach does somersaults, my fingers get tingly, and my instinct is to run away – and as quickly as possible.

My rational mind tells me, "Of course, Laura. You can definitely drive without fear. It will be a-okay." But when I actually get behind the wheel and behold the on-ramp before me, my fear to spin my wheels on the highway becomes incredibly concrete. Everything in me wants to avoid merging into a steady flow of traffic, frightened that there might not be room for me. I'm scared I'm going to miss my exit, be absentminded, be unprepared, or miss something in one of my blindspots. I know God is with me in my fears – that is, I know it in my mind. But what will it take for it to take root and blossom in my heart, especially when I need it most?

So, I ponder: How does God's perfect love work its way into our fears, not only "in theory," but in everyday practice? It's easy to say, "God has not given me a spirit of fear" (2 Timothy 1:7) or to sweetly croon the Gaither classic, "Because He lives, all fear is gone." But what do we do when all we know in the moment is a visceral reaction of panic?

To be honest, my reader, I'm still trying to figure this out. It's all very theoretical to me, especially as I prepare to drive on the highway to church tomorrow morning. I'm trusting that God's peace and His comfort will shield and guide me – not only in my mind, but in all of my being. I'm trusting that my head knowledge of God's presence will saturate my heart, also, with the reality that "a spirit of fear" has no place in this dearly God-beloved heart.

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So, fellow God-beloved heart, is there a fear in your life you feel that you just can't shake? I invite you to ponder with me what it might look like for you to trust in God's peace and comfort as you navigate this area. Remember that He knows and cares and sees this struggle, and that He will not leave you alone with it or in it.

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