It feels like a shield of armor.
Listen to me, and you’ll be safe.
It feels like a strong bodyguard.
I’m here to protect you.
It feels like a trustworthy friend.
Stick with me, and you’ll be fine.
Let’s face it, Fear is appealing. Addictive, maybe. We don’t want to leave home without it. We want to instill it in our kids even, so that (maybe, just maybe) they will be okay in this scary, violent world.
My oldest daughter is approaching Kindergarten. I’ve been awaiting Kindergarten with equal amounts of nostalgia and excitement. How can she be so grown? competes with Free child care! But now, there’s a new thought that competes for my full attention. It fills my heart with anger and makes me want to weep.
Will she be safe?
It was Fear who first asked me this question. And for a moment, Fear hijacked my heart. Is she ever safe? Followed by the heart-wrenching answer. No…well, at least nowhere in public. And before I knew it I had plans to quit my job and start homeschooling. Which is ridiculous, because I would be a terrible homeschooling parent. And my kids would be terrible homeschool students. I’d only want to go to Target (for real, I love that place), and my kids would only whine about going somewhere, anywhere to see other kids.
So if I listened to Fear, my kids wouldn’t leave the house. And if my kids wouldn’t leave the house, I wouldn’t leave the house (except to go to Target, of course), and we’d all go crazy. Especially my husband, bless his extroverted heart.
In my younger (some might add “and stupider”) years, my friends convinced me to try bungee jumping. I hate heights. I mean hate. I hate them more than I hate meatloaf, which is a lot. So the fact that my friends got me to consider jumping 450 feet off of a gondola in the Swiss Alps is absurd. But they succeeded. I said “fine! I’ll do it!” And before I knew it, I was on said gondola climbing higher and higher and higher and higher…that’s when Fear hijacked my heart.
My harness is wrong. The cord will snap. Yep. This is it. I’m a goner.
Just when I was convinced of my impending death, the gondola door opened and our guide said “Who’s first?” When no one volunteered he pointed at me.
“You! You ready?”
My heart skipped a beat. My mind raced. Me? READY? Absolutely NOT! Fear was whispering in my ear, Just say no. Stay here where its safe. It’s not too late to back out. Listen to me and you’ll be safe. Do what I say, and you’ll be fine.
Then I was leaning over the edge of the gondola, peering out over a beautiful Swiss lake, sizing up what 450 feet really looks like.
Y’all, I almost #$% my pants. Don’t be fooled by my smile. Remember, I’m convinced that’s the last smile I’ll ever have.
But I heard everyone counting behind me, especially those blasted friends who got me there in the first place. One. Two. Three. JUMP!
So I did.
That’s how I learned what it feels like to fly. I couldn’t stop smiling for days.
Here’s the thing about Fear. It feels like a shield of armor. It feels like a trustworthy bodyguard. It feels like a faithful friend. But it’s not. It’s none of these things.
Fear is a liar.
It limits us from being all we can be.
Fear is a prison guard.
It makes us suspicious of everyone and everything, and imprisons us in a lonely and toxic cell of distrust and paranoia.
Fear is not our friend.
That’s why God always tells us people not to fear. Fear steals our freedom. It boxes us into what feels “safe”, so we don’t venture to find what’s true. Fear makes us hide from strangers and people different from us, so we can’t find out how deep and wide love can reach. Fear makes us care only about me and mine, so we don’t discover the fulfillment that comes with selfless love. Fear is the opposite of Faith. Faith leads us onward and upward to more and more love, and Fear locks us in a prison of hopelessness and hate.
It’s like Ghandi said…
The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear. -Ghandi
So the next time Fear hijacks my heart, I’m going to remind myself of this important truth: Fear is not my friend. Fear is not my friend. Fear is not my friend.
Instead, my friends are risk and hope, love and faith. That’s why I’m going to do new things that scare the #$& out of me. I’m going to welcome strangers and dare new dreams. I’m going to live with trust and not suspicion. I’m going to work for a safer, more peaceful world for my kids. And that’s how I’m going to refuse to let Fear dictate my life. And my kids’ life.
That’s the only way I know how to live. I mean really, truly live that abundant life Jesus wants for me.
That’s the only way I’ll know what it feels like to fly.
One thought on “Fear Is Not My Friend”
Fantastic post ! I’m glad your dear old dad had no idea about the bungee jump till later. You have always approached life just like the picture of you jumping out of the gondola – arms outstretched, wide eyed and ready to embrace what ever you set your sights on. Love , Dad
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