Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fear and Safety




I was fearful of a lot of things as a child. I am not sure why that was. I can't remember any specific events that led me to be fearful, but I was fearful nonetheless, for whatever reason. Heights; closed spaces; new things; talking to strangers; taking risks, the list goes on of all the things I was fearful of. I sometimes wonder how I managed to do much of anything considering how many things I was afraid of.
My sister, and others, admonished me a good number of times for being so timid and scared. It was just how I was wired, I suppose, and it was really hard to step out of my box the way I knew that my family and friends wanted me to and not be afraid all the time.

As I have grown older less and less makes me scared. I think once I became a mom and I was charged with being an advocate for my kids, I was able to be a little braver than I would otherwise have been. That is just one thing, among many, that I have my children to thank for. They have unknowingly pushed me to break through so many of the fears that held me back and have taught me infinitely more than I will likely ever teach them. 

Another driving force in my quest to rid myself of fear has been the ever-present love I received from my God. It is only in retrospect that I can clearly see all the times He has kept me safe. Ironically, there have been situations in my life which I should have been scared of, and I wasn't. I didn't perceive the amount of danger I sometimes put myself in, because in our youthful ignorance, we do that. I am thankful to have survived my own reckless disregard for self-preservation. I know now that in spite of myself, I am alive today. No kidding. I was that stupid. This knowledge makes it more difficult to be fearful any longer. 

Since I know that even when I'm not expecting or foreseeing the danger, my heavenly Father is looking out for my safety, I also know he is looking out for the things I do see as scary. There is a sort of comfort that I take in that knowledge that is like no other comfort in my life. Oh, I do understand that I have some responsibilities steer clear of ridiculously dangerous situations; I am not 20 years old any longer, after all. Some wisdom does come with age. I do know, however, that if my God was able to keep me safe from those significant dangers, He is certainly capable of keeping me safe from the small fears that I encounter daily.

So, when I go about my day, I remember that God's perfect love drives out all fear (1 John 4:18). Now, I am not promising I will stand on the edge of a tall building or that I will crawl into a dark cave; I still don't feel comfortable doing those things. I will, however, be a tad more bold and a bit less timid, knowing that God has my back.