Something I’ve been learning quite concertedly over the past week or two is that I have harbored way more internal fear my entire life in my heart/subconscious/self below the surface than I ever realized or even thought possible.
It’s actually been a sight to behold. Existential life questions I’ve posed to myself and God over the past month have tapped a geyser of slick, black fears that gushed from my core like an oil breach. It’s made a mess of my emotional state. It’s gotten all over everything. It’s filled the place, threatening to drown me. It’s been intense.
God is the only reason I’m still standing and may continue to stand long enough to tell the tale. He has been the One keeping my little liferaft afloat, drenched in crude but not capsized. And slowly, ever so slowly, the geyser has mellowed. My eyesight has cleared long enough to start to name those fears. The roar has dulled enough to make their words discernible.
One by one, they’ve voiced their outlooks. Their worst-case scenarios. Their secret dreams. And by having been listened to, they themselves have heard their own folly spoken aloud. Demystified, pacified, their hysteria has been increasingly replaced with stillness. Some take a seat, present but demure. Some shuffle quietly for the door and leave of their own accord. Others heed, not my voice, but the voice of the One still standing next to me firmly and politely telling them their time here has concluded. In this current life chapter, I am literally watching myself be emptied of fear.
Not to say I’m anywhere near finished. There’s plenty more and there will be others that will sneak in and need to be dealt with along the way. But reflecting on this whole saga has left me with two thoughts.
- If God cares enough about me to come to my aid and dispel fears that have haunted, plagued, and stunted me, He is a truly loving God indeed. He didn’t have to step in to that mess. But He did. And if He did that for me, He’ll certainly do that for you.
- What would a person free of fear be like? How would they walk this world if they were empty of the fears that cause us to hate, scrutinize, compare, demean, mistrust, depress, worry, bluster, attack, one-up, antagonize, belittle, or rage? They would exude the quiet, right confidence forged only by walking headfirst into their own fear and coming out the other side. I imagine they would emanate a magnetic, inviting love made possible only by the One who has already conquered fear and perfects its opposite in us. Perfect love casts out fear, they say. It’s like water and oil.
I bet that person would get pretty darn close to experiencing perfect love. Gosh, I would give a lot to be a person like that. And as much as this chapter has been harrowing (I don’t think there’s any other way), I think perfect love might be worth battling fear to grasp.