When I was pregnant with Avery I had a few months of feeling crazy. I felt afraid of everything. Part of me realized I was being irrational, but it also felt like I didn’t have the power to escape the fear.
I prayed and I asked others to pray, but it didn’t all go away, or at least not as soon as I wanted it to.
My most incessant fear was that my husband Gunnar was going to die before this baby was born. It made me scared every time he drove to and from work. It made me afraid the whole time he was gone. It made me fear when he was home because I knew he would be going to work the next day. It started to consume me.
Looking back it looks a little ridiculous. But it’s also completely possible. No one is promised another minute, much less another day. We are not owed a long and happy life. And if you think you are then you are setting yourself up for some real hurt and disappointment. But it’s not all bad news, we have hope because of Jesus.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33 (ESV)
We were made to worship. To be in awe and to give our lives. What do you worship? Answering that one question helps us see where our greatest fears lie. For where we worship we resist change and surrender.
I want to worship God. The creator, sustainer, never-ending, never-changing God. What I tend to worship is my family, my plan and control, my comfort and security. See the problem there? I’m worshiping things that can change and with that change comes uncertainty and chaos.
Today as I was reading Acts 20 I was in awe of Paul who faithfully followed God into some scary unknowns.
And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:22-24 (ESV)
It gives one much hope and encouragement as this whole life is one of unknowns. I mean, I like to plan the best I can, but I cannot see the future. I have no idea what’s ahead of me!
As I have been talking and praying with friends going through some really rough stuff: cancer, miscarriage, depression, just to name a few, God has reminded me of some tools He’s taught me along the way. And I wanted to share one with you.
Instead of preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, I am learning to surrender the worst and trust God for the best.
This is what I mean. I used to have a scary thought and think “oh no I shouldn’t think that” and then just try to change the subject in my mind. But I’m realizing God is OK with me thinking those scary thoughts as long as I don’t set up camp and live in them. In fact He even lets me finish that thought all the way through to get to the root of the real fear.
For example, this week I have caught myself slipping back into fear about Gunn dying. I don’t know if it was his monthly work trip or the fact that we are adding another child to this family through adoption that triggered it, but however it came, it was there and needed to be dealt with.
If I walk that fear all the way out, it means I would have to manage all our finances and figure out if I stay in Visalia or sell the house and go back south. I would need to get a job and my kids would grow up with out a Dad and I would have to figure out how to live life without my best friend. Those are the things I’m really afraid of.
And what those fears tell me is that I don’t trust God would provide for me and comfort me and take care of us.
And so I come to a place where I see the depth of my fear and surrender it. I get to the “even if” part. And once I’m there I can really acknowledge who God is and who He promises to be. It allows me to say even if that happened then God would be the wisdom I need and would provide for us every step of the way. God is my provider and my comfort, not Gunnar. Gunn’s just a bonus! And it helps me see that he’s been a gift the whole time, not a right I’m entitled to but a privilege entrusted to me for a time. And that perspective let’s me consider every day together a sweet and precious gift from a generous Father.
So I don’t know what fear is trying to hijack your sanity right now, but I encourage you to acknowledge it, dig into it. If that happened what are the implications that are perhaps the greater fear? What do those fears say about who you believe God to be? Can you get to an “even if” place and believe the true things about God? Who can you share these things with? Don’t be alone in this place, invite others in to hear, to know, to pray, to remind you of truth. Sometimes we are too tired or afraid to fight for truth so we need our sisters and brothers and friends to fight on our behalf.
Above all Jesus, sitting at the right hand of the Father, is there interceding for us.
You are not alone. You are seen and cared for. Even if the world feels like it’s falling apart we have a God who is holding us together…so we can be a little crazy and still surrender.
He has equipped us to fight and empowers us. So let’s go! I’ll fight for you and you fight for me. God is with us and we will prevail!