Sunday, December 15, 2013

Fearlessness (soap journal # 7)

S) I sleep and wake up refreshed because you, Lord, protect me. Ten thousand enemies attack from every side, but I am not afraid. (Ps.3:5-6)
O) David has a lot to worry about; yet he says he "wakes up refreshed", which is quite remarkable considering his circumstance. What amazing trust.
A) I may not have enemies attacking, but I have plenty I fret about, especially concerning the kids. I can relax knowing they are in God's hands. Even when situations are scary, I don't need to be afraid. 
P) Help me not think about the bad things that "might" happen. Instead, help me think about how you are our protector. Help me find peace and rest in trusting you. (written 10/11/04)

Even though I wrote this, the truth is I struggle with this idea that we are to be fearless because we know God will protect us. The reality is, we can die at any moment; and any manner of bad things could happen to us at any time. Believing the right things or following the right rules does not change that. Christians talk a lot about obedience. If you want to prove you love God, you need to obey. Though, it seems to me, much of the rule following has more to do with fear and trying to stay safe than it has to do with love. And as much as Christians want to point out how we are to obey God's commands, they are particularly bad at following the two word command that is asked of us the most in the Bible..."fear not". 

I would even go so far to say we are encouraged to fear. Fear keeps us safe--keeps us from doing stupid, foolish things. We may talk about God protecting us, but the truth is we know there are no guarantees. 

For me, trusting God does not mean believing nothing bad is going to happen. It's more of a deep hope that because God is good, no matter what happens, ultimately it's going to be ok. The problem is, I wonder if this kind of trust makes me too passive. Does it make me less proactive in trying to make things better?

When I think about fear, a couple things seem clear. 1) Anxiety never makes anything better 2) People who have made the world better usually had to take a big risk, and taking a risk requires letting go of fear. 

When I'm fearful and protective over my life, in a way, I stop truly living. When I let go of my desire to be "safe", and risk failure, rejection, humiliation...then I find the joy in being alive. I wonder if this is sort of what Jesus is talking about when he says we have to lose our life to find it. 

I will end with a more recent journal entry, because it seems fitting.
(written 3/25/11)
S) Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer in everything, and by supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, that is surpassing all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. (Phil.4:6-7)
O) Anxiety is not good for us. It is a condition of the mind--thoughts running wild. Prayer is the remedy, if we can believe in a God who always has our best interest in mind.
A) We do not understand the ways of God, but peace is not a bi-product of understanding. It is a bi-product of trust. I lay down my desires and needs with thanksgiving, knowing God cares and loves and is working on my behalf...and my thoughts are guarded against needing to understand why my prayers are not always answered the way I want them to be. 
P) I'm scared to talk with Jay and Kathy. Thank you for setting my mind at ease. Please keep guarding my thoughts. I cannot know how things will turn out...and that's ok.