Dad In The Dark

What is something that creeps you out? Mine is walking through dark places, especially a dark church. This has been a thing for me since I was a little girl. Not my dad though.

My mom was a waitress in the evenings and I spent a lot of evenings in his care. As the pastor of our church, it was not unusual for my dad to go to the church to pick something up. Not sure why, probably to save money, but he never felt the need to turn the lights on, and we didn’t have any security lighting. So there I was, trailing behind him in the dark like a little duckling trying to keep up because the dark was creeping me out. Funny thing though, as long as I was with him, the dark wasn’t quite so dark.Unknown

As I grew up, I sort of forgot about this. Until recently as I was walking though our sanctuary without taking the time to turn on the lights and those memories flashed through my mind, dragging the uneasy feelings with them, along with a sense of melancholy as my dad is gone now. As this silly memory came back to me, I smirked as I thought of how ridiculous that was. Then the Lord spoke to my heart saying, “That silly thing taught you to follow me. You learned how important it is to stay close to your father and keep your eyes on him. It taught you what to do when you are afraid: stay close, and to keep your eyes on me. ”

A sense of peace and purpose rushed over me knowing God is always there and always taking care of me in the dark. I just have to stay close, and keep my eyes on him.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:1-2

Stay close to The Father, and the dark won’t be quite so dark.

What Are You Afraid Of?

I’m always glad when Halloween is over. I do love a good costume but other than that, I’m not a big fan of Halloween. I am intrigued, however, at our obsession with fear; our delight in being frightened, and our enthusiasm in scaring others. images-2

We pay good money to ride roller coasters and rides that make us scream our heads off.  My favorite: Tower of Terror in Disney California.

We watch movies that make us hide our eyes and clench the hand of the person we are with. Maybe that’s why they are great date movies.

What is so entertaining about fear?

We have great fun in sneaking up on someone and watching them jump out of their skin. We love a good gag that freaks a person out.

What is so fun about making someone afraid?

Fear, when danger is only imagined, is indeed fun. Increased heart rate, shortness of breath… just enough to remind us we’re alive.

Fear is an interesting thing. It can serve us well, such as keeping us from running into the street and getting hit by a car. It can also sever us, keeping us bound and restricted.

People deal with all kinds of fears. Some fears are silly, and some bully us into bondage. We have phobias that dictate our behavior, and anxieties that steal our peace.

God doesn’t want us to be ruled by fear.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT

Fear can make us conduct ourselves unreasonably, often acting in ways that bring about the very thing we are afraid of. (Job 3:25) Fears can make us overcompensate, putting our lives out of balance and costing us a great deal.

When I’m Afraid

I find myself battling certain fears: I fear for the welfare of my family. I fear missing the leading of the Lord. I fear I’m not doing enough. I fear making a mistake that can’t be undone. Just to name a few.

As I have dealt with fear through out my life, I have come to understand that fear is a sign I am not understanding the love of the Lord in that area and need to grow in Him.

“There is no fear in love (dread does not exist), but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and (so) he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love (is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection). 1 John 4:18 Amp

images-3Grow In God’s Love

If fear is intimidating me, I need to grow and mature in my realization of God’s love. I do this through confessing my fear to the Lord and maybe even to someone I trust. Confession sheds light on the fear and puts it in perspective. Kind of like pulling the curtain back on Oz. Secondly, I learn what God has to say about it in His Word and choose to trust Him and walk in that truth. Thirdly, I worship. Worship changes my heart, and worship silences the enemy, the author of my fear.

A little playful scare is OK, but fear that deprives us of all that God has for us is not. Remember what Jesus told us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

What Are You Afraid Of?

What fears do you battle? Are there fears in your heart that are producing unreasonable behaviors? You might need to ask someone close to you because we don’t usually see it. Be open for their answer though.

Are you overcompensating in some area because of fear? Ask the Lord to show you.

I encourage you to use the three steps and address those fears with God’s love. Grow in your experience and understanding of God’s love for you and see what happens.

The Chill Of Fear In The Air

Do you ever get agitated with no real cause?

I do.

Do you ever feel anxious and insecure but you don’t know why?

I do.

Do you ever feel angry but you can’t put your finger on what is making you mad?

I do.

Do you ever feel sad or even depressed for no apparent reason?

I do.

There are a number of things that can cause this: hormones, stress, fatigue, etc. but I believe one of the main culprits is fear.

Fear, like an approaching Monsoon, brings a dark cloud of confusion that moves in hard and fast without warning. Fear makes some withdraw. Fear makes others lash out. Fear makes everyone a bit irrational. Justified or imagined, Fear doesn’t care. It’s thunderous threats deafen our ears to reason or hope. It strikes like lightning with fury and precision in the most exposed and unsuspecting places in our hearts. It pours down torrents of lies that flood our minds too quickly for the ground of our hearts to absorb and filter what is happening in our spirits.

This is Fear.

If allowed, Fear will obliterate, like a tornado that decimates whatever is in it’s path. Fear will splinter your understanding, crush your faith, sweep you up, and carry you off to a place you do not want to be (and it ain’t Oz!).

But there is hope! Fear has a weakness… Truth.

Truth is the calm in the storm, the ray of light in the darkness, the rainbow of promise. imagesTruth is the peace that protects against the havoc that Fear desires to cause. Truth is the shelter from the tempest Fear instills. Truth is the friend that says, “Come in out of the rain!”

Where do we find Truth? When the winds of Fear are blowing and the clouds of bewilderment are building, how do we hear truth?

God’s Word.

Our Heavenly Father knows that we are weak and susceptible to the ploys of Fear. He has given us His Truth; His Spirit and His Word to protects us, and give us discernment in the face of the disorienting lies that Fear hisses.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

What are you afraid of? We all have fears, some are valid and some are unfounded, but they grip our heart nonetheless.

The best way to weather the storms of Fear is to face it. Confront Fear for what it is. Confess the fears you carry (real or silly) to Jesus and speak the Word of Truth to it. Find a scripture or two that address the power of God over your situation and choose to walk in the light of His Truth over the gloom of Fear.

Whenever you sense the chill of Fear in the air, don’t worry and wonder what this storm will bring. Batten down the hatches of your heart with the Truth of God. You will find that you will overcome the fears that once ruled you.

 

What Are You Afraid Of?

During a recent crisis, a wise and dear friend of mine asked me what I was afraid of. This question jolted me, just as if someone had put a smelling salt under my nose. I had to take a serious look the fear I was giving place to.

Fear wears so many masks it can be difficult to recognize. Fear can masquerade as anger. It can hide behind the cloak of concern. Fear can even disguise itself as aloof or indifferent. Fear is still fear no matter what costume it shows up in.

As I found myself tied in knots over the predicament I was facing, The Holy Spirit softly quickened 1 John 4:18 to my heart, “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.”

The Amplified Bible puts it this way: “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].”

After defining and acknowledging my fears, with the understanding that if I am being driven by fear, I am not trusting in, and being lead by the love of God. I confessed my fears and committed them to Jesus. His truth instantly began to dispel my fear: the truth of His great love and care for us (Ps. 17:7, Ps. 69:13, Lam. 3:22), the truth that His purpose will prevail (Pr. 19:21, Is. 46:10, Ro. 8:28), the truth of His gracious care and provision (Ps. 62:7-8, 2 Cor. 9:8, Phil. 4:19,1 Pet. 5:7). (verses posted from blueletterbible.com/NIV)

My situation is not yet resolved, but my heart is. Fear continues to try to worm its way in, but prayerfully I can see through its disguise. I am resolved to trust God and walk in His perfect love, and I believe I will see the victory of the Lord.

Are you fearful today? Maybe your fear wears the mask of  anger, or frustration, or even defeat. But maybe, if you were to take an honest look at yourself, you may discover that you are living with fear. Ask God to show you His love, His perfect love, and I believe His love will not only silence your fears but drive them out and replace them with faith!

A closing note: I am so grateful for friends that lovingly challenge us: “As iron sharpens iron” Proverbs 27:17. Thank you.