Grace had a few irrational fears, one particular one stemmed from a kid’s movie she watched once. She was incredibly afraid of someone shaving her head while she slept. Even the mention of it could illicit a panic. She was also scared of bridges, open staircases and closed closet doors.
She had no reason to fear any of these things. She never had a bad experience with getting her head shaved (although once she asked me to cut her hair…it didn’t go well). She never met up with a faulty bridge or a staircase that was unstable, but they were fears she had, ones that certainly made her unique and distinctly Grace.
Fear was not something Grace struggled with though. Granted, she would freeze at the sight of an open spiral staircase, but she would battle the steps, ever so slowly, because she didn’t want it to get the better of her.
Fear is something I have struggled with. When my sisters and I were young, the Lord gave my mom a verse for each of us. Our “life verses” have become very personal to us, almost like the Lord knew what we would need as we grew up. My verse is Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear for I am with you and do not be dismayed, for I am your God.”
I have felt the fear of an unknown future. The fear of failure. Fear of being let down. Fear of hurting. Fear of being hurt. And the fear of something terrible happening to someone in my family. But the day my irrational fears stepped into my living reality, I took an extensive and more calculated look at fear. It was no longer something I could sidetrack. (You know those times when you lie in bed imagining the worst case scenario, but purposefully grasp for distracting thoughts, ones that are happy or sad or sublime or anything really, as long as it will move your mind from a place of fear to a place of peace?)
I am the person that the worst case scenario has happened to. I am a reminder that irrational fears can sometimes become our very own realities, and I have learned a few things about fear.
God calls us not to fear. He actually mentions it more often than almost anything else. Why? What does fear do to us that is so harmful? It steals. It kills. It destroys. The enemy is its author and the book has been written well. His tactics are age old and have an extremely high success rate. Fear steals our joy, kills our witness, destroys our effectiveness. It renders us almost unusable. Mainly because it focuses our attention on ourselves, the complete opposite of where Christ focused His attention, others.
C.S. Lewis said “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear,” and his statement is so true. Tragedy can forge fears that would’ve never found a place to dwell before, but oddly once a worst case scenario happens to a person, some of the power of fear diminishes.
The Bible says that perfect love drives out fear, and it actually does. How do I know? Because I am able to let Jim out the door every day without a constant fear that he won’t make it home. I let Ev drive with other people, knowing that I have no control of the outcome. I choose daily to not be overcome with the fear of losing someone else. That’s the perfect love of Christ, working in my life every day.
Do I approach every situation like Grace would an open staircase? Maybe. But I choose to take each step anyway, because fear and faith will only battle so long before one comes out victorious.