My three biggest fears
I’m not a fan of voluntarily scaring myself. You won’t see me on a tall rollercoaster or inside a Haunted House, and I haven’t seen a horror film since the Blair Witch Project released in 1999, which still gives me the shivers.
And even though I don’t voluntarily scare myself, I invite fear to invade my heart every day—three fears in particular.
1. I fear for our girls’ futures.
You name it, I’m worried about it. Bullying, body-image issues, safety on the roads, who’ll they’ll marry, what college they’ll get into, what life choices they’ll make…It’s enough to make this mama’s brain go batty.
2. I fear that what I’m doing isn’t big enough.
I’m not sure who’s judging my life as “big enough,” but I’m pretty sure there’s a panel out there somewhere. I’ve got a mental checklist of accolades I don’t have like a published book or a spot on a speaking circuit. Staying home with the girls and writing words on the Internet seems provincial in a world that values followers, influence and notoriety.
3. I fear dropping the ball.
And by dropping the ball, I mean letting people down, squandering opportunities, and not following the best practices for parenting and writing. There’s no room for error, and everything about our girls’ success (and mine) is dependent on yours truly.
After reflecting on my three primary fears, I realized they’re the result of two factors.
1. A lack of control and knowledge.
Our girls’ future is unknown to me, and without this knowledge, fear slips in. If only I could ensure a safe and pleasant life for them, I’d have peace, right?
But I’m completely mis-defining peace: I believe that peace is the assurance that all will be right with the world. However, peace is the presence of the Person of Jesus Christ. It’s the gift that Jesus left to us: the quietness, rest, harmony, safety and security that is grounded in the Person of Him.
2. A lack of trust.
My fears are caused by an unbelief that our sovereign God will provide what’s best for me in the timing He determines is best for me.
I believe that God might cause me to miss out on “big” things so I hustle, produce, and perform to ensure that my success, kids, and life lack nothing. The truth is that God will provide for, care for, and love my people and me as we need to be loved.
The truth is that one belief will alleviate every fear, including my biggest three.
John Flavel writes in Triumphing Over Sinful Fear, “If we thoroughly understand and believe what power is in God’s hand to defend us, what tenderness is in His heart to help us, and what faithfulness is in His promises, our hearts will be calm — our courage will grow stronger and our fear will grow weaker.” (Full Disclosure: I’m an Amazon Affiliate, which means I earn a bit of commission on each sale. But don’t worry there’s no added cost to you!)
If I understood who I am in Christ and who God is, my fears would grow weaker.
As I look at those three fears, they bring me back to my identity.
When I fear for my children, I desire to be in control and forget my identity as a sheep. Throughout God’s great big story for us, He calls us His sheep with Jesus Christ as our Good Shepherd. When I understand that He’s responsible for the outcome of every life and the pace of it, I understand that I can rest and relax in His providence. He holds all things together, and my response is to simply follow Him.
When I worry that what I’m doing isn’t big enough, I forget that I’m enough in Christ. On my own, I’m not enough and never will be. Yet, as His follower, I’m covered in His righteousness, adopted, chosen, forgiven, and free. Jesus’ last words on the cross weren’t “Make me proud” but “It is finished.” Everything about my salvation is complete, making it good news that I am enough because Christ is my all-in-all.
When I’m fearful that I’ll drop the ball, I give in to my perfectionism and forget that, in Christ, I’m wholly loved. I strive so hard to make others think I’m perfect, get it all together, and do life right, but my aim for perfection is really a cry to be loved. As Timothy Keller says, “You are more sinful than you believe and more loved than you will ever know.” Jesus Christ both fully knows me and fully loves me…perfectionist tendencies and all.
There’s no way you’ll catch me at this year’s horror film or creepy-clown maze. Getting scared isn’t my thing, but living a life of fear? Well, I keep signing up for that.
Thankfully, I’m learning that the key to shedding my three biggest fears is to understand my identity: as a sheep, as enough, and as fully loved and secure in Him. I have nothing to fear—God has it under control.