Diane walked to the bus stop and waited for the bus so that she could get home. She thought about the conversation she had with Jean just a few months ago while she waited for things to turn around. It seemed like light years ago yet it was clear that it was pivotal to her walk today.
Hey Jean, how are you?
Blessed. How are you?
Scared, fearful, afraid, terrified.
Everything around me is crumbling…it’s all falling apart and I don’t know what to do
Have things changed since the last time we spoke?
I still don’t have a job and a regular way to provide for my children and I am scared.
What are you scared of? What is keeping you up day and night?
I fear that my efforts to provide won’t bear enough fruit. I fear that my dreams are simply pipe dreams and will yield nothing. I fear being put to shame because I can’t live up to people’s expectations. I fear that my children will be harmed by all this struggle. I fear that my family won’t get out of the hole we are in. I fear that we’ll be deserted when God exposes us. I fear that there is something I have done and God has chosen to turn his back on me. I fear that no one will understand enough to give me a job. I fear that my children will hate me for failing to provide for them. I fear that they will hate God for taking away their way of life for nothing. It’s so terrifying to live in this place of fear. There is no beginning or end to the fear. When I get up I do so in terror, when I lie down to sleep it is there, when I sit in house or do the chores it is there, when I look at the empty shelves it squeezes the life out of my heart. When I go out I feel people are staring at my shabby clothes and are talking about me. When I have to walk to places because I don’t have fare I feel like I have a sign on my head that says failure.
Girl, you need to get out of there immediately or you never will.
What do you know about this place anyway?
More than you could ever imagine.
Yes. I was in a different situation but all the same was controlled by fear.
How did you get out of it?
Honestly? Only God was able to crack this one for me.
I went back to His word. Over and over the word of God says do not fear. I went back to God and asked Him to show me the way out and He did just that.
We had long conversations with Him and His servants and several questions came up over and over again.
What kind of questions?
Gut wrenching one like:
- Did I really believe that God is in control? Who did I really trust? Who did I really depend on?
- What would happen if God never changed the situation; would I still love Him or walk away? Would I talk about His goodness and greatness or would I just let my faith slide?
- What are the things that really trigger the fear and panic attacks? What did I really trust in that would fuel the fear when it didn’t happen or work?
- Do I really believe that there is a reason for this season? Was I willing to be a spectacle for Him to use to draw men to Himself? Could I be the lamp that would attract others to God because of the life I lived and not the possessions I had?
Oh my! Those aren’t easy questions but you knew the answers didn’t you?
At first the surface answer to the questions was yes I believed in God but as I asked my questions over and over I begun to come up blank, sad and afraid. Right then, I realised that the answers I was giving were not real. They were the things I was taught as a child but they had not solid ground underneath. The storms of life had washed out the sand and now I had nothing left to stand on.
Oh, my! Then what?
One day at the end of myself I asked God what I needed to do and He sent me to His children who wouldn’t give me answers but would guide to really find the answers in my heart. I talked to daddy and he told me to ask myself the same questions and be really honest about the answers I give and then question ever answer till I knew what really was the driving force in my life. So I sat with myself again and asked the questions again but this time, I looked deeper and more thoroughly till I came to the truth and it was humbling.
Why was it humbling?
I realised that I was driven by my personal ideas and agendas not God’s agenda.
What does that mean?
Well, remember how God called out Abram from Ur of the Chaldeans to follow Him with only the promise of greatness later? Calling to him to go to a place that He, God, would show him and saying he would be a father of nations yet he was old and his wife was barren…
Did he follow?
Did he always believe?
Then why did he and Sarai try to help God and have Ishmael? Why did Abram keep reminding God that a servant would inherit his wealth? Did they really believe?
Isn’t Abraham and Sarah?
Those names were given when they got to the place of full dependence on God. They went through hard times that confirmed that God had indeed called them and if they held onto and stood on his word all would eventually be well. Isaac wasn’t born for another twenty-five years after the promise of a great nation from his loins but Abraham believed God even when he was doing his own things. God sent him against large well-equipped armies with his small simple men and they were victorious every time. God consulted with him about destruction He planned for Sodom and Gomorrah and allowed him to plead for mercy.
Anyway, as I listened to God and learnt to really hear Him, I found that I was depending on my abilities and knowledge to make it through instead of fully relying on Him. There were many instances when I thought I was dependent on Him only to realise I had partial trust in His word but was depending on myself to bring the rest into fruition. Nothing could have prepared me for this reality and I was totally floored.
What did you do?
I went back to the word and begun to ask God questions.
What kind of questions?
Personal questions… When you say you will never leave me or forsake me, what does that mean to me? When You say your plans are for good and not for evil to give me a future and a hope, how can that be with all this drama around? Have I missed something in my walk with you? Am I focused on the wrong thing? Do I even know what your word over my life means? What is the basis of my life, God’s word to me, cultural and social expectations or my own ideas? Do I even know for certain what God has said about me, about each of my children and my legacy? Who am I called to be in God and how do I need to live my life?
Did the questions help?
Not in the beginning because I couldn’t see any difference in my answers but as I spent time meditating and thinking and assessing and listening clarity began to come. My life was predicated on what people would think about me rather than on God’s word upon me. I judged everything based on what was expected by society rather than God’s word upon me. I did what I thought was good and then asked Him to rubber stamp it. I claimed, decreed, declared and sowed seed in other people’s gardens but left mine unattended. My focus had me looking around me and travelling to others farms to help them plant, weed and tend their gardens so they were growing yet my land lay fallow and unattended. God had given me seed to plant in the place appointed for me but I was out there planting the seed in the fields of others without realising there was nothing in mine. This meant that when harvest time came there was nothing in my garden to harvest.
Yes oh my! I now knew why I had ‘nothing’. I simply was not building my life according to His intricate plan for me and that was the only way I would find the fullness I needed. So I let go of everything and sat in my place until His word became the focus of my mind and I understood that place. I sense that is the crossroad you are at. Fear and worry are a clear indicator that we don’t trust God fully and are still in control of our lives. Fear and worry can be used as great indicators of where we are in our walk and show us areas we need to deal with. However, fear and worry should not be a regular part of our lives because God is present and He is love so… ‘There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18.’ Since ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7’, we can walk tall and sure that when we walk in His word and plan we are set and will succeed.
Is there ever a time when fear is good?
Yes, the fear (meaning reverence and awe) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, we approach our father with reverence and fear. These are the few times it is useful but on a whole, it derails us from faith and love for Him.
Has fear been a driver in your life? Deal with it and walk in the knowledge that God indeed has a plan for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope as He has designed it for you and nothing else