Wednesday, June 23, 2010
My Name Is Not Fear
One thing about my life that always seems to plague me is Fear. I don’t know if I battle with it more than anyone else, but Fear really seems to attack me at my weakest moments, in me weakest places.
Sometimes, Fear is so adept at the attack; I take the fear and make it a part of who I am. So many times in the last month I’ve said, “I am afraid!” What I really meant was “I am Afraid!” – I was taking Fear and making it who I was. I owned it. It was – and sometimes still is – my identity. Casey and Fear can be synonymous some days. Afraid can be my name.
I don’t like being Afraid. But somehow the fight to see “Casey” without a streak of Fear nagging at my soul is rare. Fear has defined me for so long: a fear of looking silly, a fear of screwing up, a fear that my best won’t be good enough. Fears are normal I think. But the regular fear becomes “my-name-is-Fear” when I let it take a hold of my life.
Fear screams for me to run, to hide, to avoid being dependent on others, to resist because I might get hurt. It causes a constant clanging in my heart to be perfect at everything, because I’m not worth enough if I’m not the best.
But Love – well, Love is telling me the opposite. It’s telling me to rest, to come to the Light, to put myself in situations where I need to be surrounded by other people. Love tells me that it’s okay if I’m not perfect, because I was never expected to be, because Love doesn’t have those expectations. The only problem is that while Fear is screaming, Love whispers. Love is the soft calling in my soul that I too often ignore and focus instead on the panic Fear brings.
It’s hard to focus on the quiet voice of Love when everything else is screaming for my attention. It makes me realize what Elijah must have been going through in 1 Kings 19. Elijah just finished this awesome throw-down with some people who were worshiping false gods – then he got scared and ran away. He let the “my-name-is-Fear” type of fear take over. So Elijah finds himself on this mountain, after being told God’s going to pass by. This huge wind comes crashing down, then an earthquake, then a fire. Elijah was straining to find God in the loud, rushing things. “After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” That whisper was God. That whisper was Love, calling the listener to make a change.
How often in my own life am I quick to assume the wind, earthquake and fire is actually God, instead of listening for the whisper? More than I’d like to count. Too often my identify is the Fear that’s screaming, instead of the whisper of Love.
I think it’s time I went to my own “mountain” and spent time listening for God’s whisper of Love in my own life. I don’t want to identify as Afraid – I want to be Casey, the one who Trusts. The one who is confident in Love. Casey, the one who is Unafraid! I'm starting to go out of my way to take fear and throw it out: I dressed up like a Battlestar Galactica character when I went to a comic convention, I started a conversation with someone I didn't know at church and I'm making an effort to talk in larger groups of people. Little things it may seem to some, but to me, those are huge.
I refuse to allow Fear be my identity any longer.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
Listening for the whisper,