I wrote this back in June. Nearly two months I’ve held on to this and I think it’s finally the right time to publish it. I’ve been running into the topic of fear so much lately. In blog posts, books, sermons and just life. I want to share this in hopes that we all continue to conquer our fears…
Today was a victory. I did something today that I have feared for nearly one year. One year of fear-drenched, nervous thoughts that kept me at bay from God’s request.
This is a long one…click through for more.
There is a house I would pass by on the way to a neighboring city. It’s white with concrete steps and a gravel driveway. It’s nothing fancy. In fact, it’s probably the least fancy in a five mile radius. The owners can often be found on the porch smoking and a beer in their hands or at their feet. And God asked me to visit with these random strangers nearly a year ago. I didn’t know who they were, what they did, what they needed. Nothing. But for some reason every single time I went by God pricked my heart to stop. But I just couldn’t do it. Mostly afraid of what they would think of me. Thought I might die of embarrassment I suppose. Not to mention the fear of physical danger. Who knew who these people were.
Nine months ago I chickened out and wrote a letter and sent along a gift card hoping that would assuage whatever this pressing need was. I left my email in case they wanted to contact me. But not a phone number because they might track me down and hurt me or my family (sarcasm – sort of).
Nine months and I heard nothing. But every single day and sometimes up to 6 times a day I drove by this house and I couldn’t let these people out of my minds. God reminded me every single time that I needed to stop. The letter and gift card weren’t enough. It had to be me. And for 9 months I put him off. Over 36 weeks. Over 250 days. Over 1,000 times. I told him no every. single. time. Oh sometimes I would get some courage and planned to go, lots of times it was after a service at church when God seemed to knock the loudest. I’d go when it wasn’t raining or when they were out on their porch. Or when I didn’t have the kids. I came up with every single excuse I could think of. But fear held me back. What if they laughed at me? What if they tried to hurt me? What if they wanted nothing to do with me? What if they never got the card to begin with? The torture in my head would never quit. I called myself a hypocrite and a failure all at the same time. Flat out spiritual war was going in my head for 9 months. I heard what God said but was not doing it.
Two nights ago I was so nauseous that all I could do was cry and pray. Then last night I did it again. Several things came up, this included. I have not really been myself lately, somewhat due to all my new medicine, some due to stress at work and I think a lot to do with this. Scott noticed yesterday and even said, “Snap out of it before you go into a serious depression.” I admitted to my crying spouts and we talked over my concerns, including going to this house which I have mentioned on a few occasions. Scott agreed to go with me as soon as I wanted. I can’t tell you how much it helps to know someone is with you. Even if they don’t help, just being there is enough.
The girls started VBS tonight and as soon as we dropped them off, we headed over there. Scott said, “Are you nervous?” I looked at him and shook my head. “I can tell. You’re fidgeting an awful lot over there.” And I was. All the doubts were rising in my head. I have to laugh at myself a little because the only thing that would calm me is reminding myself that this would make Satan mad. He makes me mad an awful lot so I get a little giddy when I can do the same back. That’s probably revenge but I think God might be ok with it. In any case, with several deep breaths, I steeled myself for whatever was coming. I even discussed with Scott if he had brought his gun and what he might do if they invited us in and then held us captive. I’m serious ya’ll, I was way overboard here.
So we drive by and ya’ll, they were both sitting on the front porch. Both of them! They eyed us a little suspiciously as we exited the van but Scott walked right up and launched into introductions and simply explained we drove by a lot and thought of them and were praying for them. Before they pulled out their oozies and duct tape, I asked if they had received the letter and card. Their faces lit up and they said yes, that is you? I confirmed and they said they had emailed me (which I had never got and another reason I was so nervous about contacting them personally). I was so relieved and disappointed all in the same moment. We started talking about their dog and their situation. They opened up right away. I won’t share their whole story but like so many, they are in a Catch-22. Wanting to do better for themselves but for many reasons, not able to.
We discussed some options with them and made other small talk. They were very thankful for us stopping and shook our hands as we left after exchanging phone numbers with them.
Guess what? They’re not scary. They didn’t make fun of me. They didn’t try to put me in captivity. They didn’t tie me up. They didn’t try to kill me. In fact, they were lovely people. It all sounds so silly now.
I’m not sure where that relationship is leading but I did learn this. Fear is for the birds. It’s the scary thing. It’s the thing that puts me in captivity. It tied me up. It tried to kill me. It’s the thing that should be avoided at all costs. When God calls, we have to listen. We may think we’re avoiding a big scary monster but you’ll only find that fear itself is the big scary monster to run from. So do it. Whatever He tells you to do. Don’t let fear captivate you.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8
Since writing this I have taken on a new perspective of fear. If I fear something, I HAVE to do it. Do exactly what Satan is trying to stop me from doing. Just yesterday Emma was afraid to go turn on the spigot in the back yard. She was only 10 feet away but she was scared there were snakes hiding in the grass. With much prompting I convinced her to do it. The fear was evident and even in this small instance I would not let Satan put that stronghold of fear in her heart. There were tears and hugs but she did it and now there will be less or no fear next time.
Last night I was afraid to go to the Partner class. AFTER I was sure it’s what God wanted, I went in spite of my fear. A lot of times we are afraid to do or say something because it will jeopardize our reputation or relationship or afraid to be embarrassed or look silly, but if it is the right thing to do, we MUST do it.
So what are you afraid of right now?
Go do it.