January 13, 2011

Fear Keeps Me Near

As a child, when a thunderstorm or bad dream hit and I needed reassurance from my parents, I'd get out of bed, tiptoe into the hallway, and stand there, still and quiet, listening for any movement in the house. The cavernous living room, darkened by heavy curtains, stood between my bedroom and the comfort and warmth of my parents' room. I knew that all my fears would instantly fall away as soon as I crept into their room, stood beside my Dad, and woke him with a whisper, but, because I couldn't see into the living room, I was deathly afraid of what lurked there. I was convinced that the boogey man slept on the couch, waiting to grab me as I walked by him in the night. So I'd stand paralyzed in the hallway, trying to talk myself out of fear. After several minutes of gathering my courage, I'd dash across the living room into the safety of my parents' room.

I've outgrown my fear of a darkened living room, but I haven't outgrown fear.

I fear failure.
I fear being misunderstood.
I fear purposelessness.
I fear being unliked.
I fear mediocrity.
I fear not being good enough.

There are many times that I still feel like that young girl standing in the hallway, paralyzed by fear.

But, now, I know.

I know fear and uncertainty is a part of life, especially if I'm trying to attempt big things.

I know I will regret listening to fear, but I won't regret pushing through it, even if I fail.

And this I know--
My Dad isn't in another room where I can't get to Him. He's standing with me, leading me through the living room, comforting me, and taking the hits from the boogey man. My fear keeps me near Him, but goes away as I trust His leading. The living room is still dark--I can't see where I'm going or what's coming my way--but my Dad can see and, because He loves me, He's going to take care of me.

Now, I know faith.

When you struggle with fear, how do you cultivate faith?