When I was a kid, I was afraid of the dark. I know, big surprise right? I would pray that I would sleep through the night, but invariably I'd wake up. Even with the hall light on, the house would be eerily quiet and every creak seemed to reverberate through my nerves.
Finally, I wouldn't be able to take it anymore and I'd spring from my bed, make a flying leap into the hallway (just in case something was under the bed) and race down to my Granny's room (she lived with us from the time I was 5 years old). I'd crawl into her bed quietly and the fears and noises would fade away as I slipped back into dreamland. I was comforted by the fact I wasn't facing the scary unknowns of the night alone anymore.
As an adult, I'm not really afraid of the dark anymore (well, usually anyway). My fears are different issues now, but God and I are working together to overcome them because I realize how much they can hold me back from doing what God wants me to do. It's when I see fear paralyzing someone else though, that it hits me all over again how satan uses fear in our lives.
And it makes me mad.
Yes, mad! Not angry or upset or perturbed, but deep down mad. The kind of mad that makes you want to pound the floor with your fists and stomp your foot.
I'm not mad at the fearful person. I'm mad at the devil. I'm mad because he has sidelined and stunted untold numbers of believers from fear, and I'm not going to take it anymore!
There is a verse - and I'm too lazy right now to get up and look up the reference - but it says, that the devil is like a roaring lion, walking around, seeking who he can devour. Fear is something he uses to devour people, to keep them from reaching the full potential God has created them for, to cheat them of the life abundant that Christ promises.
Most of the time, the person doesn't even realize how bound up by fear he or she really is. They just know that any kind of change or decision seems threatening. So, they don't do anything at all. They just stay stuck because the rut they know is much better than the blessing they don't.
I want so badly to shake people like this. I want to tell them to fight the fear - it really is just a feeling - and to take the next step even if that means their knees are knocking together. I want to offer them my hand and tell them I'll walk with them until it gets easier and less scary to put one foot in front of the other.
Like someone drowning though, people who are encased in fear, often react aggressively to the person trying to help them. They slap help away like that drowning person fights the life guard who is trying to pull them from the water.
Conversely, sometimes they cling so tightly to the person who is trying to help them, they start to drag down the person who is trying to help into the treacherous waters with them.
I want to tell that person, who has wrapped their fear around them like a security blanket, that everyone is afraid sometimes. Everyone gets scared and for most of us, change is always a bit disconcerting even for those who like change (like me!).
Every great thing that has happened - every invention, every heroic action, every book written, every new territory claimed - it happened despite fear. It more than likely didn't happen in the absence of fear.
I love how Beth Moore describes fear - False Evidence Appearing Real. So many things we are afraid of never end up panning out. I read somewhere that 97% of the things we worry about, never happen. I kind of like those odds.
As a fellow worry wart and fearful person, I have great compassion and empathy for those who are chained to their fears. However, I want to encourage you to do whatever it is you feel called to do, even if your knees are knocking, your hands are shaking and your tongue is stuck to the roof of your mouth.
Most of the time, the fear is like the monster in the closet. When you shine some light on that thing you fear, it ends up melting into nothing - just like when your parents turned on the light when you were a kid and that scary shadow you were sure was a monster was really your lamp leaning at a weird angle.
There are very real fears, of course, and that is when we can cling to God's promises. He promises He is always with us and He will never forsake us. He also promises that nothing can separate us from His love (that's in Romans 8).
So, go ahead - take that next step. God's right there, holding your hand.
~ Blessings, Bronte