To Fear or Not to Fear…Part 2

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“I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear. “

(Psalm 143:4)

I began laying the framework for the newsletter, HIS VOICE, together about two weeks before it appeared in the email boxes of around 70 friends. I made it a family project (my kids need HELP with their writing skills), and I imposed impossible deadlines on my children, who were 12, 11, 9, and 7. We met our deadlines, the kids were excited, I attached the newsletter to an email and sent it out early on a Sunday morning. I did it! I looked closely at Goliath. He looked dead to me. The magnitude of what I had just accomplished blew me away, and I thanked God for trusting me with this passion and this gift, and for not giving up on me during those years when I buried it and refused to share it with others. And then I started thinking. What have I done…what if they…they probably won’t… And before I knew what happened, my praise turned to paralysis, and I wanted to retrieve the newsletter from every email that I had sent it to. But I couldn’t. It was done. And I felt open, and vulnerable, and afraid. Goliath was back, and his grip was so tight this time that I couldn’t reach for my sling shot or my rocks. And as my heart broke, I prepared myself for the rejection that was sure to come. After all, doesn’t it always? I was suspended in time, my heart was exposed, and my enemy had a clean shot. I found myself stuck, unable to move, waiting for what had come to be the familiar blows of rejection.

By Monday morning, I was becoming unstuck, and beginning to pedal my way backwards. I told my self that I should never have sent out an imperfect prod- uct. I could see a million and one things that should have been done differently, or better. I checked my email to see if there were any responses. No news was never good news to me. Without responses from others, all I had were my own self-deprecating words to fill in the blanks. Not one response. I began to tell people who were anxiously waiting to read it that I was scrapping it, I wasn’t going to do another issue. Even though I could already see the next one with improvements, changes, bylines and graphics, I just couldn’t handle the possibility of rejection. Only one day had passed since I’d sent it out, and I had already talked myself out of fulfilling a life-long dream, and something that I believed was a part of my destiny. What was it that Caspar de Aguillar said? “Porque el miedo, sin ser Dios, suele hacer algo de nada. (Fear can, though it is not God, create something from nothing.” Isn’t that what was going on here? I had become so afraid of rejection that the fear created the illusion of a rejection that had never materialized.

How many of you reading this are/were just like me, or worse. You have found, or currently find, yourselves in the tight, breath stealing grip of fear? I’ve learned that fear only serves two purposes, and they are to cause you to lose ALL hope, and to render you immobile; paralyzed. According to dictionary.com to paralyze is to ‘make unable to move or act; to impair the progress or functioning of; make inoperative or powerless.’ Whoa! Doesn’t that explain a lot. I feel like 20 years worth of light bulbs just went off all around me, but particularly in my memories. The word of God teaches us in I Timothy 1:7 that “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” So when we look at the definition and the Word of God, it’s clear that fear is not an instrument used by our Creator, but an evil weapon used viciously in the stealing, killing, destroying hands of our adversary, the devil.  No wonder King David was hiding out in a cave somewhere. Fear paralyzes you. It renders you immobile (securely fixed in one place, not capable of movement). How many years of my life have gone by while I’ve been an unknowing captive of fear? Let’s look at the definitions of fear again.

To make inoperative;
Wow! Inoperative is defined as ‘without effect’. (I wish I could write down everything that’s going through my heart /mind at this very moment, but it’s way too much. I will try to get through this and bring it all together for you.) If someone were to ask me to unveil my greatest fear, my response would be swift. The answer to that question is never anything I have to search very hard for. My greatest fear has always been the fear of failing God, of disappointing Him or causing Him anguish, of not having the effect or impact that He created me to have. All of this time, I thought, that holding on to that fear was a good thing. I didn’t know… I didn’t understand that the fact that I was holding on to that fear, was the reason for my not having a greater impact for the Kingdom of God…the reason for my lack of effectiveness was the direct result of me holding on to my greatest fear.

Powerless; (lacking power to act; helpless)
I have felt/believed for years that I was powerless to change my life, my situation. I was a true prisoner of fear if ever there was one, and as such, I was at the mercy of everyone else’s thoughts about me, feelings towards me, and words concerning me. As a prisoner of fear I was a slave to everything but the Word of God. No matter what God’s Word said about me, I was powerless to believe anything other than the fear. It’s kind of like no matter how many times my husband gives me a compliment, my fear of hearing something negative would cause me to believe the words that echo from my past…the memories that actually happened and the ones that fear conjured up.

To securely fixed in one place, not capable of movement;

…my definition…TO BE STUCK! I have been stuck in more areas of my life than I care to count, or share. Two areas that I’m comfortable delving into are the areas of relationships, and the use of my gifts and talents in the church. Not just writing, but speaking, leading…the list goes on. Having been hurt before, in the above areas, I now understand that the pain of those experiences wasn’t my jailor. The fear of that pain coming around again was. Anyone with me on this one? And that fear left me unable to move or act successfully, in any of these areas. I realized that for a large part of my life, I had been STUCK!

And the final definition is To impair the progress or functioning of;

I am soooooooooo having a moment here as these definitions and all of their implications crash against my heart like waves on a seashore in the middle of a hurricane!!!!  Bob Alberti (I have no idea who he is, but I’ll look him up) once said, “Hold tenderly that which you cherish, for it is precious and a tight grip may crush it. Do not let the fear of dropping it cause you to hold it too tightly; the chances are, it’s holding you too.” My fear of rejection in the areas of relationships and my utilization of my words on paper had impaired my progress in those areas. I was holding on so tightly that I was suffocating them. The fear of dropping (it), or of being dropped again, caused me to hold on much too tightly. I couldn’t see that I wasn’t just holding on to those things because of fear, but that because my grip on them was so tight, fear was now holding on to me. I know this sounds like a no brainer, but I didn’t get it. I thought that if I protected my heart, than I couldn’t get hurt, and that if I just kept my writing to myself, than no one could reject it. But I missed it, didn’t I? Fear wasn’t keeping me from getting hurt, it was keeping me from healing, from loving, from growing, from being loved. It wasn’t just protecting my fragile heart from the pain of having the written expressions of that heart rejected or cast aside. But it was preventing those same expressions from being appreciated and embraced. I had it all wrong. Again.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give

you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11

to be continued…

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