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December 9, 2013, 11:46 AM

Running Scared (or a "White Knuckle Ride" part two)

I am afraid of the dark.  I am afraid of spiders.  I am afraid of what people think of me.  I'm afraid that every word I mutter sounds as stupid or is as stupid as I think it is.  

Now its your turn.  What are you afraid of?  Write it (them) down.  Really.  Do it.  For yourself to read only. 


Whew. Its nice to have that out in the open.  Lets me be honest:  I'm a little ashamed by those first two fears.  I'm 37.  I've been mugged.  I've seen cancer close up.  And yet being alone in the dark scares me.  Dont get me started on spiders.  There are two responses to seeing a spider:  it dies, or I leave.  We cannot coexist indoors.  

Be warned, this article spends a lot of time here at the beginning on me (chris).  If you arent interested in getting inside my flawed psyche, advance down to the "enough about me" paragraph.  

I work HARD to not let those two control me.  I've stepped up as a father into the role of "Chief Spider Killer."  I've used my bare hands to squish a few.  My heart races, yes... but I control the temptation to run and scream like a child.  Its become a little easier to control the whole dark thing,  too.  I simply work to avoid situations where I would find myself alone in the dark.  

But I cant control you.  I cannot tell you what to think of me, nor should I.  And that scares me.  It scares me so much that I let it control me.  If I think someone is unhappy with me, or that I will soon face criticism, I will worry and stress and start to shut down.   I am afraid that I have become a full-time representative of the "Easier Said than Done" department.  I have countless phrases, slogans, and speeches dedicated to how easy and plain it is to follow Christ.  Those get wrapped up into sermons, blogs, and the sharing of articles written by other people much smarter than I.  What purpose do those words have?  They are fuel for a life further built on the guilt of never living up to the standards set by millions of pulpits the world wide.  By the way, this blog is another one.  

Fear wins.  Fear hurts.  Fear hits me where it counts, which also happens to be the same places that hurt the most.  Do you know who gave fear this power over me?  Me.  

I let your thoughts rule my own.  I let your heart take mine hostage.  Sure, I can put up a brave front and act like it rolls off my back.  Trust me, it doesnt.  I think that every week will be different.  But its not.  Its the same drivel that sounds like last week's drivel.  "Do this, and you'll be more like Christ."  Forget the fact that life in between takes everything I explain so fluently and flushes it into the sewers.  

Enough about me.  Lets talk about what you're afraid of.  What controls you? Fear of the unknown?  Fear of failure?  Fear of rejection?  Fear of being alone forever?  Yes, we're getting to the meat of it now.  Fear wins.  Because we let it win.  Fear lets us ignore the world and focus inward, on that precious real estate of our egos, pride, and self-worth.  Why should we care for others when we have so much attacking us?  What can we offer anyone else when we cant even protect ourselves?  

Jesus, dont you care that we are about to die?  How can you sleep at such a time as this?  Surely you've noticed that you are SOPPING WET!!!!  The boat is half full of water, the other half is full of panicky people!  Fear won over the hearts of the Apostles in Mark 4.  Fear stripped away all that they had learned and experienced so far at the feet of Jesus and threw it into the wind and waves threatening their security.  

What was learned in the sunshine disappeared during the storm.  When threatened, the entire house built on the authority of Jesus, fell.  

What has threatened your delicately built house of cards?  I've witnessed first hand the power uncertainty (fear) has over long held beliefs and traditions.  Remove or challenge one piece and the house totters.  Fear enters and it is believed that everything else will follow suit and crumble.  Therefore, the grip is tightened and the slack taken up.  Grace is pushed aside for the sake of aggressive defensive positions. Forgiveness or peacemaking is shoved aside for shouting and desperate cries to the back of the boat.  Fear wins.  

We cannot be threatened by Truth sticking its nose into our delicately arranged lives.  For when Truth enters, what it replaces becomes solid ground, a foundation built on Christ and nothing else.  That cannot be shaken, no matter how big the spider, or how solid the darkness becomes.  If you are threatened by Truth, what you are holding on to is fear.  We ARE going to make it to the other side.  This storm WILL pass.  It may take us to the end of our days, but calm waters are ahead.  

The truth is:  spiders are more afraid of my bumbling size than I am of their creepy eyes and legs.  The dark is simply the absence of light.  Hitting the switch exposes that what I'm really afraid of is what the dark exposes in me:  fear.  


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