My Fear of Commas
I struggle with fear. It spans the range from, off-the-deep-end-irrational to didn’t-know-it-was-something-to-fear-until-someone-posted-it-on-FB to Oh, no! God is asking me to do something I don’t want to do (blog, homeschool, sell your house, volunteer, use your gifts, trust Me, rely on Me, abide in me). It takes me a while to get my heart surrendered (we established that in last week’s blog). This is usually because of my fear. There are plenty of excuses to join in on fear’s game, but the fear is most often the thing He has to help me overcome.
It’s hard work to expose that menacing fear. I really have to dig deep to get to that place of surrender.
Example: when I decided to start this blog I reduced the excuses and fear down to the basic, most ridiculous piece. Here’s what I found: I was afraid of commas. Yep, commas… and (I guess) other forms of punctuation. That’s it. Seems terrifying, doesn’t it?
I was pretty terrified that through my story-telling, picture-sharing, kind of writing you would be too caught up in my grammar, my use of commas or lack thereof, to see the picture He was giving me to share. I was afraid of judging eyes and the people behind those eyes that are so much smarter than me (or I…am? I dunno). As if the packaging was the gift, instead of His love, wisdom, truth and grace.
How foolish. How selfish. How prideful.
Selfishness is the business end of Fear. And without fail it convinces me to play the “what if, what if, what if” game when I should be reminding myself that, Who was, Who is, Who is to come has already won the game…for me.
When I’m making decisions through fear’s lense then I’m too focused on my comfort to consider His sacrificial discomfort (because you know if I considered that for even a second I would be brought to my knees), His plan, His purpose, His love for His people. So I make no move at all.
Leaning in to fear instead of Love makes it about me. It makes me the god. It makes me withhold my gifts. It makes me stay in my comfy seat.
When I find myself dining comfortably at Fear’s table, making it all about me, this is usually the meal I am served: worry and frustration judgment, competitiveness, comparison and control. And I gobble it all up. Sooooo Christ-like, isn’t it?
I have a dirty dining secret for you. Whatever is served at Fear’s table is wrapped in lies. These lies are like rats. They barge in. They invade. They don’t wait for an invitation. They make a mess and multiply. OOoohh, I hate rats.
The lies say:
You’re not qualified.
You’re not enough.
You’re not capable.
You’re alone in this.
You’re not as good as (fill in the blank).
You won’t make a difference.
You won’t be accepted.
You won’t finish.
You’ll mess it up.
The Truth is like an exterminator. He doesn’t drive by one day and say, “Hey, I heard from a friend that you had a rat problem. I’m coming in to remove them.”
No, Truth is gentle and must be sought and found. Sure, He knows you have a bunch of rats stinkin’ up your very soul but you still have to call him and invite him in to clear out the lies, one by one, with his Love.
So I did that. I saw that every lie that I believed was true about me (which is why they are easy to believe)…but they weren’t true through the lense of His grace.
Truth says: I have qualified you.
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13
Truth says: I have enabled you.
[Jesus came] to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. Luke 1:74-75
Truth says: You are the one I purposed for this task.
But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16
Truth says: The difference is made by Me working in you.
…Your help will not come from your own strength and power. No, your help will come from my Spirit.’ This is what the Lord All-Powerful says. Zechariah 4:6
Truth says: You’re accepted and made right with me.
But people cannot do any work that will make them right with God. So they must trust in him. Then he accepts their faith, and that makes them right with him. He is the one who makes even evil people right. Romans 4:6
Truth says: You’re not alone.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Truth says: I finished it on the cross.
I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until he completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. Philippians 1:6
Truth says: My grace and power makes you enough.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Truth says: My love is all you need.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidenceon the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:16-18
We can only get up from Fear’s table and go forward for Him with boldness if we listen to Truth. Truth only wins if we believe. Once we accept the Truth, then we can be filled with Love and send that fear packing…rats and all.