(UN)ASHAMED: Living Outside of Fear

Photo by HeatherMichelePhoto

 

We love Jesus… so why are we still dealing with these issues?  In this series, we address how the gospel frees us from the shame associated with our daily sins and struggles, and then helps us overcome them.

 

By Heather Templeton 

 

“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3 NLT

 

Have you ever had a nightmare that felt so REAL that you woke up shaking, crying, or otherwise unable to convince your body that it was all in your mind?
I have.
Dreams are a window to our subconscious.
They can be silly, hilarious, terrifying, or even mundane {ever dreamt that you’re BACK in school after being graduated for years?!}.

 

But they aren’t real.

 

The mind is a powerful tool.
I’ve used many words to describe my thought processes.
I have an “overactive imagination”.
I’m “excessively analytical”.
My mental wheels just “won’t stop spinning”.
But at the the heart lies a very real and dangerously large emotion: fear.

 

Fear in and of itself isn’t always a negative emotion.
It can be both healthy and preventative.
We fear being hit by a moving vehicle, so we don’t run across several lanes of speeding traffic.
We fear losing our hearing, so we don’t blare our headphones at max volume {at least not past our college years!}.
Little things like the fear of forgetting important dates or events can cause us to invest in planners and set reminders or alarms in our devices.

 

Fear isn’t all bad.

 

But that bad fear … it is wicked to its very core.
It drills down deep into our most vulnerable places, eating away at life and replacing it with a gut wrenching awareness that we are not safe.
We are destined for failure, for defeat, and for demise.
And we are alone.

 

The very essence of each human being is a desperate need to be known and to know others.
To experience God.
Jesus is the antithesis of fear.
As a man, he experienced every single emotion that we do, and I don’t know about you, but that brings me such comfort.
Because I struggle with fear, and I’ve struggled my entire life.

 

When I was young, my parents had been through a tragedy of unspeakable proportions. As a result of adopting my brother and I, they raised us with more than a healthy dose of fear.
As a female, it hit me the worst.
I was constantly told that I was not safe if I did X, Y, Z.
Walking across the street to get the mail.
Riding my bike around the corner.
Going over to a friends house.
There were strangers always lurking, always circling, always waiting for me to drop my guard for just a second.
And then I would be taken.
The thought absolutely terrified me.
I remember riding my bike with my little brother one day, completely on edge.
A car turned down the street we were on, and instantly I panicked. I grabbed my brother and we hurried up to a random house, pretending that it was ours until the car passed us by.
In hindsight it seems silly. Almost laughable.
But as a child, this deep fear had a root that was being constantly watered in me, and it was growing to epic proportions.
It didn’t stop for years and years.

 

When I moved away from home and away from Medford a year out of college, I remember feeling FREE.
Not necessarily free of my parents; I knew without a doubt that it had never been their intent to cause me to live in fear. And my brother did not struggle with fear as I did. It was something rooted in me that Satan was using to keep me a prisoner from experiencing the joy and peace of Christ.
Moving away started to break those chains, and year by year I could see myself becoming more free, more alive, and more filled with the Lord.
Because the presence of fear is the absence of trust.
I did not trust that the Lord would protect me.
My fear was rooted so deep, I don’t even think I knew how to begin and unravel it.
But the Lord did.

 

Looking back, I could see Him guiding me. Leading me.
Working gently on my heart to let Him be the one I run to when fear threatened me.
I was saved. I was a daughter of the King.
The chains of fear had no place in my life.
But they were there.
And they still are from time to time.
It is not a “one and done” to give our humanity over to our Savior.
And thankfully He knows this full well.
It is a daily surrender, the lifting of hands and pouring out of our hearts that draw us into a place where fear cannot exist.

 

Psalm 91:1-2 says “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”
In a wonderful article entitled “When Fear Chases Me” by Lisa TerKeurst, she writes the most stunning depiction of this verse:
“Isn’t it interesting the two words God is called here are refuge and fortress?
A refuge is a quick place you duck into to find shelter. A fortress is a place that is built intentionally for the purposes of exceptional security. The Hebrew word for fortress is metsudah with one of its definitions being an “inaccessible place.”
God is not just a quick refuge from the storm but He’s the place where fear no longer has access to me.
Fear can’t catch what it can no longer reach.”

 

I belong to Christ Jesus.
When I accepted Him as my Savior, I was born again and became a new creation.
The old has gone, the new has come.
Fear has no access to me. I am protected and sheltered by the most high God.
So it is up to me.
I daily surrender.
I dig into the Word.
I pray. And then I pray some more.
Because the devil may know my weakness, but it is the power of Christ in me that rises up and boldly declares that I AM HIS.
And He will fight for me.
I need only to be still. And trust.

 

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 118:6

 

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