This is a piece I wrote several months ago, before I started blogging here, and submitted as a guest post for Purposeful Faith. Today, Kelly Balarie is kindly sharing it at Purposeful Faith, along with guest posts from several other Christian bloggers. Come take a look!
Yesterday, I meditated on the following verse throughout the day:
Psalm 94: 19 (NASB)
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.
Just the day before, I followed the advice of a devotional to write out all the why questions you have on your heart to ask God, followed by redirecting them into how questions that expectantly look for the goodness of God. My biggest question was why God had allowed my life to be so crippled by fear since a little child. And then I turned this into: “How might the pain, hurt and fear I’ve experienced since a little child be worked into something good?”
As I meditated on the verse from Psalm 94, I started realizing that it was a direct answer to my prayerful questioning. I started understanding that the fear in my life had had the power to drive me into the arms of God all along, if only I had I let it. For fear is ultimately the symptom of humanity’s separation from Perfect Love, our Heavenly Father. It is His Perfect Living Sacrifice, Jesus, whose death and resurrection ripped the curtain of divide, enabling us to stand in righteousness before God as heirs to His Kingdom, as beloved children of the Mighty God. His Perfect Love, our ultimate Consolation in a broken world, drives out fear (1 John 4:18), replacing the fear of punishment with His loving outstretched arms.
As a child I began to distrust those outstretched arms, with acts of human brokenness I experienced shaping my understanding of God and faith. I started trusting the actions and words of brokenness above the actions and words of God in my life. Idolizing the love and acceptance of humans exacerbated the fear within me. And with anxiety multiplying within me, the inherent fear that I would never be good enough, I lent into my own prideful self-control to numb it away. I sought to deny the existence of the fear by striving to perform, to be the best possible student, lover, wife, mother and friend.
Fleeing from fear gave me a semblance of control, but also festered an anger and exhaustion within me because no matter how hard I tried, I could never live up to the perfection I strived after. And so the fear would rear its ugly head repeatedly and I’d turn to anger to stifle it, anger at myself boiling within me and compounding the exhaustion from my attempts at perfection.
Luke 17: 33 (The Message)
If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms.
I was (and am still so often) too proud to admit that I was running on empty and that what I was actually chasing after was love, perfect love. In fleeing the fear, I was also fleeing my own brokenness and my desperate need to be loved and held.
But with God drawing me back in His unfailing kindness
Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
my image of God has started being transformed from one of fear into one of love. And as He draws me ever closer, the fear that still rears its ugly head, is slowly starting to push me into His arms instead of from them. This is because I’m starting to understand that admitting the existence of the fear is the first step. So, rather than fleeing fear in prideful self-control, I’m learning, by falling and standing back up again, to step into it, leaning into His arms in the process.
I am choosing to trust that just as His Word promises He WILL go before me (Deuteronomy 31:8), preparing the path (Isaiah 43) and working ALL things together for my good (Romans 8: 28).