Exploring the Unknown

My Not-So-Innocent Fear of Earthquakes (Part 2)

As I shared last week, what started out as a conversation about the epic earthquake expected in the Pacific Northwest, led to me realizing fault lines in my own foundations- fears– threatening to crumble and crack me.

I never would have thought a tiny place of distrust in the Lord could have the power to break down the essence of who I am. My identity becoming tainted and torn.

So in the stillness of my morning kitchen I dared myself to scribble out those fears in black and white.

In the writing, I was taking the first step in untangling them from the foundation of my identity.

One by one, I exposed them in secret and slowly they lost their invincibility.

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After bringing them into the light, I sensed in me the desire to tear out this page in my journal and throw it away, thinking that in the act of hiding my fears they might disappear altogether.

Instead I felt God prompt me to take a long, hard look behind their innocent appearance and into their perilous plan. Fear’s plan was for me to stay fixated and obsessed with them. 

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As Ann Voskamp wrote,

“Find your fears — find your idols..

Find where the fear lurks, look them in the eye until you know their realest name, say their name out loud and you find that every fear can be a mask for an idol.

Sit long enough in the quiet — and let the fear get close enough — the thing that seems like your worst nightmare — and then let your hand flash out like fireball of fierce redemption, rip that flimsy mask off and name the fear for what it is.

Break your idols — and you break free of all your fears.”

My fears weren’t just keeping me up at night, no, they were doing something much worse. They were becoming the object of my attention, capturing my heart and arresting my thoughts. They were becoming ugly idols that I unexpectedly started to worship.

How do we crush these carefully crafted, not-so-innocent idol-fears that have the power to stop us from living in the adventure of loving Jesus?

First, we pull them out of hiding and into the light. Write every single one down on paper {and don’t throw it away!}.

Secondly, we stare them in the eyes. We “rip their flimsy mask off” and call them what they are…idols that we fixate on, that give us false promises of safety + comfort.

Thirdly, and the most difficult for me, we speak them OUT LOUD to a trusted friend.

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I knew I had to tell her.

I drove to Starbuck’s, feeling a tug the whole way. You know it well I’m sure. When you know you’ve got to do something, but you’re not sure you have the guts to.

You need to tell her your fears, God whispered in my ear.

Then, as freely as they came out on paper, I began exposing some of my deeply embedded fears to her in a noisy Starbuck’s living room. I didn’t expect them to come gushing out there, but they did and I couldn’t take them back. She was a safe place, a trusted friend, one whom I know would respond with grace and wisdom- my heart had a welcome mat in her presence.

With a smile she said, “I would have never guessed you had those fears. You carry yourself with such confidence.”

I knew exactly what she meant. I was good, really good, at covering my fears. Aren’t we all though? That’s what’s so frightening about them. Our fears are easy to bury and ignore, but they come alive here. Inside the darkest caverns of our soul, fears thrive.

As we speak them out to someone, our voice carries with it a victory dance. Almost suddenly our foundation is mended in the presence of Truth and Love.

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As I drove home from my time with her, I felt a new courage to run the opposite direction of my fears-with my eyes fixated on Jesus once again.

Where fears would keep me worried and stock piling food and possessions, instead it was time to be uncalculated in my generosity and joy.

Where fears would keep me hovering over my children and hunkering down in our home, it was time to release them to explore, to learn to fail and fall into the protective arms of their Father.

Where fears would keep me stuck and self-absorbed, obsessed with my position, performance, or how much I weigh, it was time live in celebration of my uniqueness and completeness in Jesus Christ alone.

With my eyes set on His face, every step brought more freedom.

I sensed a rhythm now, my footing sure, my pace strong. I could be both confident and fearful. You are too.

Confidence and fear. I’m convinced the two always exist together. But when Jesus holds our gaze, this once rigid dichotomy provides the beat- the flowing, freeing rhythm that makes us into a fear-fighting, idol-breaking woman.

As we run to this rhythm, we become unshakable even in the strongest earthquakes. 

So let’s keep…

Pulling our fears out of hiding and into the light. 

Staring them in the eyes. 

Speaking them OUT LOUD to a trusted friend.

Running courageously in the opposite direction. 

Then repeat. 

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