The fear is always there. It lurks just below the surface prodding and pushing, demanding and dragging me places I don’t want to go.
I’m not afraid of death.
I’m afraid of life.
I’m afraid of waking up to a world I reject. I’m afraid that the words ‘it won’t always be like this’ are hollow and void of any real power. I’m afraid that the next bend in the road will lead me somewhere darker than death. I’m afraid of being unknown, unwanted, rejected and alone. I’m afraid that the next time someone asks me how I am doing I will tell them the truth and then I will have to watch their eyes widen and their face flush before I make a joke to relieve the awful pressure of reality pushing down on us both.
I’m afraid of hugs. I’m afraid that if someone wraps their arms around me at the wrong time I will just dissolve into this puddle of me and then they will have to spend their whole day sweeping me up. And I will just be there, helpless to put myself back together, humiliated by being a burden to people whose lives contain problems of their own.
But I’m free from fear. Maybe not from feeling afraid, but I’m free from the need to listen to my fears. I’m free to reject the options of fight or flight, because I know the truth: there is no danger here. Not for me.
There was once a little girl named Fabienne who was given a great gift by her Creator: He gave her this glorious defense mechanism we call ‘fear’ that would teach her to flee danger and push her to survive. She was afraid of what was ahead, terrified of being unknown, unwanted, rejected, panicked at the thought of being helpless and out of control, needy and weak. And all of these fears were healthy and rational responses letting her know that there was a danger worse than death.
Deep down in her soul she knew the truth on an instinctive level: for those who are not in Christ, the life ahead is devastatingly dangerous. Being unknown by God will cost you eternity. Being unwanted and unacceptable will get you exiled from the presence you need to have value and worth. Creatures who lack a Savior are afraid of being helpless and out of control because they are hurtling forward at a frightening speed towards wrath.
Serial killers and sharks can only take your physical life. Eternal rejection is the gravest danger there is.
But now, I am safe. In Him, we are safe.
Still, my pulse quickens, and the tears prick my eyes and the panic swims around at the very hint of rejection or isolation. Because I was once in a house that was burning down, and now the scent of smoke terrifies me. But I don’t need to fight. I don’t need to flee. Because the house is not on fire. The deep dangers this creature once faced have been conquered by my Savior.
I can let my heart rate increase and I can dissolve and I can wake up and inhale and exhale and tolerate all the discomfort and all the quiet tearing of my soul because I know the truth. No matter what seems to be true, I am safe.
The feeling of fear may still flood my creature-like synapses, but I don’t need to act on it any more. Eternal acceptance, unconditional love, unfailing promises have been bought for me by the blood of the lamb. There is nothing left of fear except a strange sensation that sometimes floods my mortal body.
Fear – where is your victory – if you cannot force me to obey you? Fear – what do you accomplish – if you cannot lead me to eject, deny, distrust or disobey? Fear – what can you do to me – if I will not give you my mind to transform to your lies?
All you can do is make me feel uncomfortable.
Enjoy that power because even that will dissolve in the darkness of the death you think you own as all your threats are proved foolish in the grace of Him.