For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with fear. As a believer and Christ-follower, there has been little exception. Fear of the unknown, fear of losing a loved one, fear of going to sleep, fear of what others think….the list goes on and on. Even when I was a teenager, I remember having a sudden onset of fear. Often times this heavy cloud of fear would settle over me out of nowhere, causing me such strong emotion, that I wouldn’t be able to stop crying. Since becoming a Christian 13 years ago, the fears that have plagued me have been more subtle, sometimes masquerading as concerns or worldly wisdom. Sometimes fear will come cunningly, beginning as a subtle feeling of dread that will grow when I don’t actively squash it.
Fear or dread of something bad happening. Has it plagued you?
We are planning a mission overseas later this spring. I was tentative about it at first, even fearful. I talked to my husband, Herschel about it. His advice was surprising but good. He told me that he prays nothing bad would happen. BUT, if it does, he can’t think of a better way to go, than to be obedient to God’s call on your life. This was underscored as I’ve gone through some medical tests over the past month. The results have been inconclusive so far, but the idea that I could have a debilitating disease has caused a surprising response from deep within me! Normally, medical tests like these would paralyze me with fear and dread of the unknown. I would mentally obsess on what might happen. How I might suffer, what if my family suffers, etc. Instead, something wonderful has happened.
Instead of anxiety and fear of something terrible happening, it has freed me! I decided that I can spend the next several months and years with a looming fear of a bad diagnosis. If the bad report never comes, I will have wasted precious time that I can never get back. Instead, it has pushed me to a place of freedom. Freedom to take risks and live life to the fullest! I want my life to count. When my last breath comes, I want to leave a legacy of freedom and crazy, outrageous faith in Jesus Christ. I want there to be a string of people who have been pulled toward God because of the life I lived. I want my children to have a mom who loved Jesus with abandon. Fear could keep me from that. Comfort has been one of my biggest enemies. I am choosing to get out of my boring comfort zone with walls that have been erected by fear. I’ve decided that to be obedient to Jesus’ calling, I’m going to take His words seriously and not figuratively:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Matthew 16:24-26
Not that I will take stupid risks because I am not looking to be a martyr. I only want to live a life of freedom from fear, and full of love for my Savior. Interestingly, Jesus says almost the same thing earlier in gospel of Matthew, chapter 10. Maybe he said it twice so we’d hear it.