the author of fear: who is it going to be?

We got tested for the Corona-19 virus on Friday. Three of the five of us–with the other two going in soon. And now we await results. 

Photo by Abby Camp

We were exposed to it by a friend on my birthday, and this Wednesday will be the 14th day of our quarantine. This dear friend, though, a single dad of four children, has been in the hospital for nine days. He is stable now. But we continue to lift up our hands and pray.

Sometimes the most difficult first step in surrendering fear to God is recognizing we are afraid. Satan doesn’t want us to recognize our fear. He doesn’t want us to name what it is that makes us anxious, desperate, stressed. Here is our habit: We let fear dictate our actions, our decisions, our rhythm of life.

What does a life of fear look like? Well, it can look a lot like believing lies:

We can fear we will not be loved unless we perform and earn validation from people outside our family. So we work hard and stay up late and choose opportunities to prove ourselves while neglecting what God puts in front of us to do and ignoring whom God puts in front of us to love.

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We can fear we will fail at the task God has given us to do. So we have a history of spending time doing other things–maybe even good things–that are in our comfort zones. Things to make us feel good about ourselves, where we can rely upon our own strengths, have control and predict the outcome.

We can fear vulnerability. So we hide and shade the truth. We fear we will be loved less–or outright rejected–or filled with shame if we reveal the deepest secrets of our hearts. 

What are your fears? What does your life look like because of these fears? What are the outcomes?

No matter what we fear, this is what we need to remember:

Jesus already granted us salvation. Jesus already came for us, restored us to Himself, took all sin, all fear, and invited us into His fullness. We are reconciled to Him. All God’s wrath and judgment already came and was laid on Christ.

“For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.”


romans 6:10

Jesus’ death only needed to happen once. His sacrifice, once, was enough.

When we fear, when we feel overwhelmed and distressed, let’s remember the coming of our Lord, the sacrifice and rising of Christ. While nothing can separate us from the love of God, fear can get in the way of our living in the fullness of God’s love–the fullness He bought for us with His death, the fullness we are practicing living in, each day.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

John 4:18

As sisters of Christ, daughters of God, we have been given everything we need to live fully. We lack nothing. Nothing.

Our fear reveals how much we are a work in progress. While perfectly designed, we are still being perfected. Our trials, our suffering in this life are opportunities for us to move in the opposite spirit of fear, move in the opposite spirit of anxiety and desperation. We are desperate for Christ, yes–but we are even more desperate to choose Christ.

With each step we take this day, we choose Christ or we choose fear. When we choose Christ, we choose perfect love, which “casts out fear.”

I know what it is like to live from a place of fear. I know what that burden feels like–the heaviness, the walls pressing in. I know what it looks like to work hard to either ignore the fear, or to fix the problem you think is causing it in the first place.

But here is what is causing it. We are filled with fear, no matter the circumstance, because we are not trusting our whole self to God. His perfect love casts out all fear. He is enough. He is big enough. He is good.

Father, you have already come. You have already bestowed to us your fullness, and we ache to receive it. We ache to realize it even more. We want all that You have for us, and we surrender to You our fear, our doubts, our striving. We claim your perfect love. We claim it as enough. Continue to perfect us. Let us see You more clearly. Let us live in the fullness of You, in the fullness of your perfect love. Let us make all choices, this day, from that place, from the heart of knowing who and whose we are.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

For the Loop Poetry Project this week, write a poem about fear. Perhaps you’d want to personify Fear so that it feels like someone with whom you’d have a conversation or see walking down the street of your neighborhood or experience living in your house. How would it walk? What would it say? What room would it inhabit? How would you feel about it being there? Comfortable? Angry? Resigned?

Or maybe write a poem that tells a story about a personal experience with fear–the story of your life or an isolated moment. In this case you might consider using language that brings the fear to life, helping us, as readers, feel it with you, through details of sight, touch, sound, and smell.

Most importantly, listen to your heart. When you consider the concept of fear, what do you most want to say? Then play around with how you will communicate your heart’s message. Give it voice. Don’t hold back. Be the author of the fear, not the other way around.

Then consider sharing your poem here, in the comments, or on social media, using the hashtag #looppoetryproject so we can find you. I would also love to see you over at this community’s private Facebook group. If you haven’t joined yet, you need to know it is a lovely and encouraging place, full of kind and brave women who weekly share their hearts upon the page.

I look forward to hearing from you!

love,

jennifer


Mania

In dreams I am running and
barely moving,
like there is no pay off in effort
and yet

I only push harder
when it seems I am going
nowhere
rather than—

well, it never occurs to me
to stop.

How can I tell her:
slowing might be okay,
I mean, you are
moving slowly anyway.

She cannot imagine
not choosing suffering
if there is a chance
she might escape

the feeling that
she will fail.

This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com

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