I’ll dispense with the pleasantries and get right to the point…
I have a huge battle in my life. It’s something that’s existed for as long as I can remember. There are weeks and months where it’s severe and intense, demanding a reaction, yet also times in the last few years when I’d believed it to be more in the past, or at least way less seductive. Last year, however, it seemed to come back with a vengeance, raging on to this very day.
And this thing I battle is a motivator like no other, controlling most of my thoughts, actions, and decisions.
There are times when I want to give up on even trying to fight, honestly. Simply give in and live the life this tyrannical dictator calls me to. Throw my hands up in surrender because the fight is too exhausting. Quit the race altogether because I’m not competitive in the least and have kinda always been a quitter. Sadly.
Do you know what I’m even taking about? Do you battle something overwhelming like this? Something that seems to have your number and a hold like no other? Maybe for as long as you can remember??
See, I’ve always just wished I was stronger. More capable. Less vulnerable. Not a person who can be controlled. A person that takes life as it comes and God at His Word, living in trust, hope, and peace in His good and perfect plan, even when I can’t understand.
Yep, I so wish I was braver and didn’t have to battle this thing I call, “fear.” Wish it didn’t seem to own me. Surround and suffocate me. Become my first go-to and companion at nearly ever turn. Simultaneously my best friend, my motivator, and my enemy .
I wish I wasn’t driven to fear that next phone call. The impending let down. Someone’s displeasure with me. A dreaded diagnosis. Failing God in this thing called faith. Whatever may be lurking in the dark, waiting to pounce around that next corner. Illness or death or harm of my loved ones or their worst outcomes. The next betrayal. Abandonment. Loneliness. The truth I never wanted to know. A complete upending or my total undoing.
A life outside of *my* total control, which also just so happens to be all of life.
Nope, a life lived in fear is no life at all.
The odd part is, this fear is in the driver’s seat only because I’ve allowed it to be. I believed its voice, then surrended the keys. Welcomed and even encouraged its presence in me. Needing it as a child, eventually giving in fully, then never really choosing to push back against it as an adult. Quite literally, I’ve embraced fear for so long now that it’s grabbed not only the wheel, but a foothold to my soul, and now has the strongest hold of all else.
The more ironic part is, that it’s been my very own pride that has kept me believing this *fear* because I just know my thoughts could never be wrong. Ha!
And now it’s hold can be so intense, at times it seems I’m barely holding on to my own mind.
Do you get any of this at all? Your “fear” might be a totally different thing. A belief that you must live up to some standard; a lie someone spoke over you; a loss never recovered; a wound never healed; a longing for attention not received; a seemingly unmet desire; stubborn unforgiveness; a need to prove worth or perfection or a whole host of other compulsions and obsessive thoughts that demand you attend to them daily. And if you know this kind of thing, at all, I can bet you’ve seen it try to become your dictator and felt led into its prison.
Honestly, whatever your *thing* actually is, it’s likely motivated by fear itself. Or, shame. Because, I have this notion about these two. How they were both consequences of the fall of man in that garden, seeping into us all, and now deeply rooted in that same pride that brought the fall where all strongholds and sins find their beginning.
But this fear I’m discussing from my own life has moved from a normal, human (albeit originally unintended) emotion we all battle, to the complete driving force, dominating most of my thoughts and dictating much of my life. You see, fear, itself, can be as empowering as it can be imprisoning. It gives feelings of both strength and control, motivating me personally towards anger or self-protection, but also towards hiding so I won’t get hurt and be kept safe.
This fear I’m talking about can actually become an idol, too, as I’ve often put it above God as the most important thing. The thing that keeps me protected in a world outside my control. Trusting and believing and depending upon it, instead of My Lord and Savior. Becoming, even, more a motivation for what I do, think, or say than Jesus is. [Something I’m actually seeing a lot of in the world today. Because fear simply motivates so much. Even us.]
But, back to this particular battle against fear which seems like it’s about to choke the life and light right out of me. See Friends, I’m so tired of it. So ready to be over, instead of under it. So ready to live in the freedom of God’s promises – or, often more like commands – about it, “Fear not… Do not fear… Be not afraid… Fear [be in awe of/have reverence for] The Lord, your God, alone…”
And many more…
Yet this fear seems too ingrained in me. Too powerful and developed. Too much to escape from and believe against. Because fear is built into our DNA, it seems to have the upper hand, and while it can be a helpful emotion in certain cases, some of us have found it takes over us in most all cases.
And now it simply seems like the battle of my life. Period. End of story. My thorn. My cross. Because just when I’ve believed the Lord had removed it, back it returns, with its ugly, lying face, bent on nothing less than vengeance.
So, what to do now?
Well, since fear exhausts and overwhelms enough on its own, searching through all the choices and voices for solutions feels downright impossible. Tack on how this continued fight with no victory can leave you feeling void of faith or full of guilt, and you may as well forget it.
Yet, through the wrestling of all this in my daily time with God, blessings do come. As does this exact message, on repeat, “Wait.”
“Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the lord will bring you…”
“…If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Didn’t I say we were going, “to the other side?”
And that Friends, is my answer. It’s got to be. And I’m just gonna have to believe for it. For now. Because it’s all I hear. All I have. And as hard as it is to acknowledge and hold on to, I must obey that Voice. Stand still, firmly planted, and wait for the deliverance that only God can provide. And I must continue the wait until He comes through on His promises. A refrain which has become a life theme of late, I might add, because in so many other areas, I keep hearing wait. Which makes me think it’s all intentional. Purposeful. The actual point of the whole struggle and battle I’m waging.
Maybe the answer to the battle we’re all currently in?
“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”Philippians 1:6
But, let’s be honest… waiting is hard, dare I say, holy work! Waiting without trying to work it out myself. Waiting without worrying, wandering or wondering. Waiting without searching. Waiting on His timing. Waiting for His will. Waiting without clinging to another or some other idol. Waiting without any fear, even! Waiting on, with, and for God to work in each and every circumstance that I hold onto and have fear about. Waiting with expectancy to see the work His Words are accomplishing, even as I write this whole thing out.
Because, Y’all, His Word is his actually His Work. See, I can claim in my own words, His promises. Repeat, with His words, who He says I am in Jesus Christ. Battle back the dark using spiritual weapons, including His own Sword of The Spirit, the very own words of God. I can tell mountains to move; give thanks, praise, and proclaim the faithfulness of God; and even demand the enemy flee today, in Jesus’ Name…
YES and Amen.
I can and will, plus, exhort you(!) to do all those things, too. But the fear? Well its presence still rumbles violently the ground beneath and its voice whispers treachery this very moment… in this exact messy middle of my story. Persistently interrupting seconds and days, demanding an answer and full attention before God’s, “Yes and Amen,” manifests.
And it keeps calling out as I sit waiting for the thing that I know in my heart God could instantly choose to change or accomplish in a split second if only He wanted… to end all my fear!
Yet, He doesn’t. He hasn’t. He won’t. He is waiting, too. I guess.
So I wait longer still. And now, this is what I’m finding… all that’s really left to do is lean in closer to Him. Lean more upon Him. Lean into His Perfect love and faithfulness, grace, and mercy. Lean upon His promises I’ve taken hold of in the waiting and in the praying and in His Word and in His presence through it all. Lean into and upon Him for strength in every little thing, breath, and second, in all this fear in the land of the living.
Lean into all of Jesus, on this day only.
Because here’s the honest and unwanted truth we must find in all waiting and leaning: We also keep learning and becoming. Learning more about Him and ourselves, while becoming who He has created us to be. Learning fear really is a liar and feelings aren’t reality, while becoming a brave faith that dares to believe. Learning control is a false premise and fear really does make an awful god, while becoming children who trust when they can’t see. Learning that all we have is today and He’s set it up that way, while becoming His hands and feet for this day alone. Learning that my life is not meant to be built around my own little kingdom of one, but only about Jesus and His True Kingdom on earth and in heaven, while becoming a small part of His divine purpose.
I am learning that it’s only Him who holds my life and apart from Him, life is meaningless. Learning that this weakness I want removed may actually be the thing He uses to bring glory to Himself, because His strength is perfected in every weakness. Learning, most of all, this experience of mine may help someone else become what we are both becoming: God’s image bearers who live lives created for us before the world began, with abundant faith and peace in ALL circumstances, while staying protected – and continually perfected – in Christ Jesus.
Learning through it all that I can’t mess up too much nor ever be good enough. Learning I can’t study enough, love enough, be brave enough, do enough, be sinless enough, serve enough, or be any other idea of perfect, holy, or faithful enough because Jesus already was, and is, and is yet to come!
Because, even I can be humble enough (for a moment, at least) to admit that, staying pressed into and dependent upon what He’s already accomplished and still promises, leaves the temptation to fear what could be a bit more in the periphery, as opposed to the only thing I am able to see.
Yes, in all this waiting I hope I’m learning and becoming a child who is simply and only waiting for Jesus… while depending on God for all the rest 💛