It’s with me. Every day it is with me. It is my constant companion. Most days I can navigate through life just fine, without it getting in the way. Other days, I am crushed under the weight of it.
God gave me a clear image of what I look like carrying it around.
Like most reflective moments in my life, it started with a cup of coffee:
In the cool breeze of the morning I held my coffee cup, warm in my hands, and contemplated my day. The weight of the cup in my hand, like the weight of the world I too often carry on my shoulders. That’s when the Lord revealed to me the fragile ball of glass I carry through life. There are days the ball of glass is but a marble that I can place in my pocket, and for a brief moment, almost forget it is there. Yet, other days it feels more like a giant crystal globe, that if dropped would shatter into a million pieces. It is on these days that I wonder if my friends, my husband, my children, my coworkers can see my cautious steps.
This ball of glass has a name: FEAR.
My fear waxes and wanes like the moon, and like the moon, it is always there – revealing the things I try desperately to hide. After all, I am a person of faith and there is no room for fear in faith! Right?
I read about the disciples and I see evidence of marbles of fear rolling around in crashing waves and baskets of loaves and fish.
I know people love to quote how often scripture says not to fear, but for those of us who carry it around every day, this misplaced truth becomes crippling. Don’t misunderstand me. It is truth. Just misplaced. When you say “do not fear” to someone like me, I am looking for the off button! I walk away not feeling up to par because I can’t just kick fear to the curb!
I am learning how to push through it. Last year I took my first road trip without my family. A friend and I packed up and traveled to the SheSpeaks conference in North Carolina. This may not seem like a big deal to most, but I was overcoming my greatest fear: the car. I lost my mother in a car wreck when I was 14, and there is never a moment I am not aware of the awesome responsible of driving.
Once at SheSpeaks, I had to overcome my second greatest fear: the safety of my children. I fear leaving my children motherless. During worship on the first night we sang “No Longer Slaves.” I timidly sang “I’m no longer a slave to fear” and a conversation with God began to take place.
“Who am I kidding Lord? I’m terrified!”
You are not a slave.
“I’m always afraid Lord! What is wrong with me?”
You are not a slave.
“Lord…How do I let go of this?”
You… are… not… a… SLAVE. Sweet child, you are not a slave to it. Yes, it is with you always, keeping you near to me, but you are not a SLAVE to it! It does NOT own you because I OWN you!
I began to weep. He was not concerned with the fact I was afraid. He was concerned with what I was going to do with it! I was not a slave to fear! If I was, I would have stayed home and never got in the car! This truth turned my timid song into a bold song.
In the new book Fear Fighting (awakening courage to OVERCOME your fears), Kelly Balarie explains this shift in mindset as Chasing BRAVE!
“It is not so much that I don’t have to be struggling as it is just that I have to get after Jesus and bring Him INTO my struggle with me. Doing this-it is called chasing brave.”
– Kellly Balarie
That’s what I was doing at SheSpeaks – CHASING BRAVE. That’s what I want to do every day!
One of my favorite features in Kelly Balarie’s book is found at the end of every chapter. There is a small section titled “Something to chew on.” Kelly doesn’t just say to me as her reader “Don’t Fear!” She gives me practical and empowering guidance on how to become free from the bondage of fear.
I don’t expect to be fearless, but I do expect to fear less and less everyday by inviting Jesus into my struggle.
I can stare fear down and know I am NOT a slave to it! I am chasing brave and that small marble of glass in my pocket will one day be just a speck of sand.