Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Fear Factor


I believe that our default setting is fear...Humanly speaking.
It's familiar to us.  It hovers near to us most of our days.

Sometimes we like to toy with fear, as long as we believe we can control it.
That's why we watch the movies that are filled with it and play the video games that are built upon it.
As long as we think we can control it, we feel empowered when we play with it.

However, if honest with ourselves, when we know that we can't control it or manage it; then it overwhelms us, and we are lost. 
It twists into anger, isolation or both. 
Most of our negative interaction with others is born out of the build-up of fear inside of us.

I'm afraid I will lose my job.
I'm afraid you will not accept me.
I'm afraid I will not be invited.
I'm afraid of your culture.
I'm afraid I will be alone forever.
I'm afraid I will be abandoned...again.
I'm afraid that everyone thinks badly of me.
I'm afraid of what I don't know about you.
I'm afraid that there's something better than what I have.
I'm afraid if you get what you want, I will lose something I want.

These fears push us towards some terrible choices.

In the garden it's part of what pushes our first relatives to choose to align themselves with the voice of an ingratiating liar rather than that of the consistent, caring and truthful voice of The Father.
After that first choice another falls immediately on its heels...Let's hide! 
From where I sit, that seems a rather silly thought....Let's hide from God.  
How could they ever think that was possible?  But that's what fear does.  It creates irrational responses in us.

Hiding is a symptom. 

The bible gives us multiple instances of folks who hide from who they are, or rather who they are meant to be, and the turmoil they go through because of it.

Even decisions that appear rooted in selfishness are sometimes actually borne out of fear in some way.

Glancing back at the thoughts written in blue, I'm certain that the list is incomplete, because each of us has our own points of fear-rooted broken-ness.  They are formed by our personality and life-experiences.  Our fears swell when we find ourselves in repeated circumstances that draw them out.
But I don't think it has to be that way.

The only consistent, true antidote to fear that I know of, is faith.  

Belief that Christ is active in all of the areas of my life can free me from much anxiety.  So, I don't have to micro-manage the work of God.  Living in that space allows me to take a cleansing breath and find release.  I can live with open hands.  No one can take from me, something I have already freely let go of.  

( I John 4:17-18/Message)   

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.

(Psalm 4:8/NIV)

In peace I will lie down and sleep,    for you alone, Lord,    make me dwell in safety

(Isaiah 26:3-4/ESV)

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever, 
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

May we all fully know the grace and peace he offers to us today, filling in every crack in life that fear wants to seep into.