When my boys were little, my Dad would say, “Come here. Grandpa is going to work you over.” And then they’d giggle and run over to Grandpa for a good wrestle.
God is working me over just like that. I’ve run to him because He’s safe and gracious and has a Father’s heart. Now we’re having a good wrestle. It doesn’t mean I’m having fun, like my boys with Grandpa. But it is similarly cathartic. I don’t want to stay in this stuck place, paralyzed by fear. I want to live a life of risk. So it feels good to get worked over.
I read this in my study today:
“Faith simply means to believe in God and to grab onto the tools He has provided for you. When you find yourself fearful, it is an indication that you’ve lowered your shield of faith.”
When it read it, alarm bells resounded in my heart. RINGGGGGG! BEEEEEP! But I wasn’t sure why. I know I’ve been dealing with some fear, but can I name it? Not really. So I asked, “God, where? Show me where I’ve lowered my shield of faith.” Sure, the recent headlines are scary. But truthfully, these only heighten the deeper fears I already have.
Why is this an important exercise? Because I truly believe God has plans for me and a purpose for why He created me. If I tip-toe through life with fear, then I allow fear to keep me from becoming everything God had in mind when he knit me together in my mother’s womb. It’s true for all of us.
I have a friend whose fear is heightened during the Halloween season. The abuse and pain that she experienced as a girl tie into the evil she sees on display during October. She shared with me this morning her dream from last night. She dreamt of black spiders all over the outside of her car. She thought maybe if she drove faster, she could make them fall off. But then she realized, “Ha! They’re on the outside and they can’t get in.” That’s faith; her shield came back up.
I have another friend whose gorgeous and talented teenage daughter is enduring chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Holding the hand of your girl while watching her grow progressively more sick will surely heighten your fear. And yet, it has been such a blessing to watch my friend fight to keep her shield of faith held fast. Her grace reminds me of this verse, “(She) has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” She is a warrior.
For me, I deal with pastor-kid stuff. I prefer to downplay it because it seems so little. So I push it down. But then, after a time, it returns with a vengeance and I realize, “Duh!” The deep truth is that I want to hide. I had to wear a mask as a pastor’s kid. And I often wear one now as a principal’s wife. It’s such a bummer–never ever something that my parents expected of me. In fact, they gave me much freedom to be me. And I was. And I am. And yet, only as a fellow pastor’s kid (or anyone with a high profile parent) knows, the expectations from others remain. I worked hard to meet the expectations. I still do, at the cost of pursuing my own heart’s desires.
So what is the fear I wrestle with now? I’m not particularly scared of letting others see my faults. I’ve always been ok with that. But I do fear letting down my little wall of protection and being fully known. And this has resurfaced recently because I feel God asking me to write of his love and justice and faithfulness and righteousness. Writing has been a secret heart’s desire. And now I feel paralyzed because to do so, I realize that I also have to allow myself to be known. I’d rather hide.
So Lord, I see that I need to walk this out. I will grab the tools you’ve provided for me. I will re-engage my shield of faith and fight the fiery darts of fear in my heart. Fear will not cripple me here, nor keep me stuck in this spot. Father, help me to take this one step. And then another. And another. I will start walking. Whatever is ahead, You will enable and equip me.