DEAR FEAR- THE FAMILIAR ONE, LET’S CALL YOU DOOM,
I realized today it has been a long time since I heard your voice. In fact, the last time I heard you this loudly was a few years ago. It was me and you in a pit- a dark place that felt inescapable. I worked hard to drown out your voice, but it took a lot out of me. I would usually find myself worn out, tired, and seeking comfort that was always fleeting. With each passing day, I worked to avoid my feelings, to control my emotions, never quite taking the time to acknowledge where they came from. As a result, you and I would sink just a bit deeper into the pit.
I remember hearing your voice as a child, as I learned of terrible things happening in the world. I have memories of you speaking loudly to me in middle school as I learned of the horrors of the Holocaust. When I couldn’t take hearing or reading about tragedy any longer, I asked to sit in the hall as videos of war, famine & destruction were shown. As a child, I couldn’t cope with it and felt hopeless for the world.
MY YOUNG MIND ROLLED THROUGH THE “WHAT IF’S”- WONDERING WHAT HORROR MIGHT HAPPEN NEXT, AND I LIVED WITH A SENSE OF DOOM.
I can remember exactly where I was sitting on my couch, when the horror of Columbine took place. I was home alone, watching the news and witnessing the children running out of the school, terrified and crying. I never wanted to return to school, your voice spoke loudly to me, I figured I was safer inside my home, doing school within our four walls.
During my junior year, I was sitting in US History class the morning we bombed Iraq, not long after 9/11. I wept and had to leave the classroom, escaping to my car. My heart broke for both sides of war- knowing that there would be a cost that would alter people forever. My young heart, yet again, did not know how to cope with the suffering and sadness in the world.
Your voice was loud, anxiety took over my senses, and doom swirled through my mind; it was familiar territory for me.
FAST FORWARD TO 27 YEAR OLD ME- THIS IS WHERE I MET MY GOD FOR THE FIRST TIME.
I was, once again, struggling with feelings of DOOM & helplessness- terrified of what the future might hold. My mind was spinning with thoughts, and asking “what if” questions.
Your voice was unceasing, I felt like I couldn’t escape.
It was so strange that all these feelings and thoughts were suddenly strong again. I was in a healthy place, and the happiest I can remember being. I had met the love of my life, got married, and was trying to start a family. I was financially solid for the first time and I really had no complaints; life was great.
I did my best to distract myself from the all-too-familiar feelings your voice brought. One day, I just couldn’t take the sound anymore. I sat on my couch in desperation, and though I felt a bit foolish, I cried out.
“God, if you are real, I have to believe that you care-
……that you see me in this state,
……that this is not what you want for me.
…..I need to know that you are NOT OK with me being in this condition,
…..that it matters to you,
……and that you have something better for me.”
In the days, weeks and years that have followed, God has answered my prayer. He has done so, over and over again.
Yet today, I was tempted to slip back into the pit. The familiar anxiety and doom threatened me, as I heard your voice once again. I cried out to God for reprieve, asking for a reset button, an escape from the reality of COVID-19. And I was reminded……
THIS IS WHERE HE MET ME BEFORE- RIGHT IN THE MIDST OF MY FEAR AND ANXIETY.
My fear provided me with an opportunity to know God, to find out who He truly is, to learn that Jesus Christ gave up His life for me. And this knowledge has given me an ETERNAL PEACE. And this peace, surpasses anything this world could offer. This peace I have found, is worth every second of anxiety I have faced. And to my fear I say, this peace speaks louder than yours.
I WOULD NOT TRADE ANY COMFORT IN MY FLESH FOR THIS KNOWLEDGE IN MY HEART.
My anxieties drove me to seek God with all my heart, to learn about Him and His plan for His beloved people.
I learned of His intervention on earth, bringing heaven down with a love so great it drove Christ to sacrifice for me.
I learned that I can experience life altering JOY and have HOPE for what is ahead- days void of pain and suffering, justices served, eternity with GOD.
I learned of my value- a daughter of GOD, an instrument of light, shining in dark places. I learned that I have been invited to join others alongside CHRIST as citizens of heaven on earth.
I learned of a God who pursues us in the exact state we find ourselves in- unpolished, unpresentable & imperfect.
I learned of a God with ONE AGENDA- reconciling a broken world to him in LOVE.
I learned of a GOD who helped me climb out of the pit and who places distance between me and your voice, the voice of fear called DOOM.
So, before you get too loud in my head, steering my actions/thoughts/feelings, I will choose to listen for GOD instead. I will listen for His promises and I know HE WILL SHOW UP and answer my prayer again and again.
NO MATTER WHAT STATE I AM IN, OR WHAT DEGREE OF FAITH I HAVE IN ANY GIVEN MOMENT, HE WILL SHOW UP AND MEET ME HERE.