Monday, February 13, 2012

Black & White Fright

I have to wonder if fear always fits into the black & white Christian definition of sin against God. I've heard that fear is perhaps the worst, most subtle kind of pride... its unbelief & its like spitting in the face of God. Is He not on His throne in heaven? And haven't I become His child by virtue of my baptism into the death & resurrection of Jesus Christ? Haven't I been given all things in Christ? What's the problem then? Look at the Bible, its full of people who struggled with fear & triumphed. Why, there's Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David, Elijah, the Apostles, even Jesus Himself. But to me, that's like comparing pennies to dollars. Guess which one needs a lot more substance in order to compare? My proverbial penny jar is sparse.

I've heard that fear goes against the admonition NOT to fear, to NOT be anxious for anything... but have I not prayed & petitioned? I have indeed. Have I offered these with thanksgiving as Philippians 4:6 also says? Hmm. Not so much. What have I got to be thankful about? I don't even want to exist when I'm faced with such fear. My accuser (ahem, that would be me) points the finger at me & says "Aha! Selfish wench, always looking inward, always thinking about yourself..." What am I supposed to be thankful for in the midst of fear? That I'm being presented with an excellent learning opportunity? That this too shall pass? Fear is kind of juvenile in this way. It knows what it knows, end of story. That "knowing" usually leads to a rebellion of sorts... I'll shut down or extract myself from the situation, much like a teenager might cut through a conversation with their parent(s) with a huff & a mumble. The bedroom door slams & the stereo gets cranked. Fear is in control & that's that.

What can stop the cycle? The empty space in my penny jar only serves to incubate the fear. I've been contemplating what it means to just "be" with the fear... to sit with the emptiness, the frustration. It doesn't mean I beat myself up for feeling the way I do. It doesn't mean I rely on the old Christian standby that feelings don't matter. "Feelings aren't facts" is a popular one. No, but they're valuable, much like each individual penny in my proverbial penny jar. Even though my jar is lacking, I suppose I can thank God for the few pennies of confidence that I do have. I can thank Him that even though I may have to work harder at gathering more to make a buck, each cent is a small triumph toward the goal. I can revel in the victory clink of each coin as it drops into the Sea of Lincoln. I don't have to fill the empty space all at once. I'll aim to make small triumphs. It sounds slightly more valiant than taking baby steps...

2 comments:

  1. Honestly, it kind of bugs me that sometimes my posts end like an old 80's sitcom... you know the ones- everything ends up hunky dory by the time the credits roll. I try & gravitate toward making some kind of point by the end of the post, but the subject of fear isn't cut & dried or easily resolved. This is a wrestling match of sorts... and I have a feeling I might end up with a gimpy hip after this one.

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  2. I have a gimpy hip after walking so much yesterday. Is that helpful? You are not alone. :)

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