No Longer Living in Fear

Since childhood, I have been afraid. Afraid of death. Afraid of the stories describing a heavenly measuring rod. Afraid of the judgement. Afraid I would not ever be good enough to escape the consequences of sin and make it to the better place. Afraid of myself, my inadequacies, me — so quick-to-sin. A child afraid. A teenager afraid. Trying to get good graces and accolades. Wanting so badly to be told I was “good”. Seeking affirmation. Wishing so badly to escape the constant heaviness of realized imperfections.

Funerals made me catch my breath, hollowness in my soul, eyes dry and staring, unable to wrap my mind around the impossible forever of what-comes-next? Unable to understand how someone could ever be ready to die.

My very nature cringes at imperfections. My palms sometimes sweat icy when I realize something is out of my control. When I realize there is something wrong and I can’t fix it.

This holiday season I realized the seriousness of my fear when my throat was getting tight at the sight of burnt out Christmas lights. “They’re dead,” I whisper to my son. Then plaintively — “they’re broken, finished, I can’t fix them”. Stop pointing them out, please.

Imperfection. Inability to control the future.

It makes me clench fists and furrow brow. I don’t want to see this tragedy of sin anymore. I wish to God that we lived in a perfect world without burnt out lights and rebellious teens. But we’re here. On an imperfect, sin-infused planet. And it’s time we remembered the Christ Child and the saving story of grace. I don’t want to continue to live in these shackles of fear.

Fear is saying no thank you to Perfection. Fear is saying no thank you to incredible sacrifice. Fear is saying no thank you to the Ultimate Gift.

But, perfect love casts out all fear. 

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 4:18 NIV

And as Rick Warren says, “The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose.”

Love says thank you to the Perfect One. Love says thank you for His sacrifice. Love accepts the gift.

Really — what could be more freeing than the realization that my life is in His hands? The rebellious teen — in God’s hands. The mini light bulbs that I’m feverishly twisting, searching for a loose connection — in God’s hands. Literally. I can stop gripping things so tightly. I can stop worrying and fretting.

I can stop being afraid.

And life, with fists unclenched, breaths freedom and moves full of possibilities.

Thank you for freedom to live. Thank You.

“What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand”
lyrics from “In Christ Alone”