Thursday, April 3, 2008

Fear - Part 2

The last time my husband went out of town I had one of my battles with fear. I can't really put my finger on it but I had some weird dreams that last night before he came home and I woke up feeling...weird. I couldn't even remember what I dreamed but I just had that sense of foreboding. For some unknown reason, I started to be afraid that my husband was never coming home. I almost felt sick. I had such a hard time shaking that feeling. It was like other very realistic dreams I've had. Have you ever dreamt your husband cheated or that you had a big fight, and then woken up mad at him? Have you ever been snappy in the morning because, how dare he and he's like, "What did I do?" and you're like, "I dreamed that I saw you having dinner with your old girlfriend," and he's like, "What? You're mad at me because of something I did in a dream?" Anyway, it was kind of like that only I couldn't remember the dream and I was not mad, I was afraid. It would have been better if I could have remembered the dream because then I could just remind myself it wasn't real. But instead I was just left with this bad feeling.

I used to be the kind of person who would worry myself to death by thinking through every possible horrible scenario ahead of time. I used the excuse that this way, I'd be prepared for whatever happened. Then nothing would happen and I'd think about all that time I wasted. I remember one time specifically trying to do 2 Corinthians 10:5 which says,
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

I was trying to take captive these worrisome thoughts but I just kept thinking that it was better to "be prepared". Then the Lord spoke to my heart words that were as loud as any time I have ever had the Lord speak to me...My grace is sufficient for your unpreparedness. BAM! It smacked me right in the face. Just two short chapters later in 2 Corinthians 12: 9 is another verse.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

I'd heard that verse a thousand times and would try to meditate on it in times of trouble but for the first time the Lord spoke it into my heart in a very personal way. My grace is sufficient for your grace is sufficient for your failures as a grace is sufficient for your grace is sufficient for your sickness...and on and on.

I think one of my favorite passages in William P. Young's The Shack articulates this struggle with fear and the reason for it really well. In this particular passage, the main character, Mack, is having a conversation with Jesus about how people spend too much time in their minds in the future, mostly fear of the future. Jesus says, "You try and play God, imagining the evil that you fear becoming reality, and then you try and make plans and contingencies to avoid what you fear." Boy could I relate to that. And the reason? "Because you don't believe...To the degree that those fears have a place in your life, you neither believe I am good nor know deep in your heart that I love you. You sing about it; you talk about it, but you don't know it."

You know, I'm not afraid of my husband physically hurting me. I'm not afraid that he'll run off with another woman tomorrow. I'm not afraid he'll gamble away our paycheck each month. Why? Because I know him. Now he's not perfect and we're certainly not immune to these things but I think you get my point. I'm not afraid because I know him better than I know anybody. It's easy to trust him in these things each day because of my personal relationship with him, the time I've spent with him. And so I got to thinking...maybe this is my problem. Maybe I have fear because I don't know God. Not the way I want to know Him. Not as well as I know Jeff. I know God loves me but maybe I don't really know how much He loves me. Knowledge may not equal depth...but in some sense I think it does equal trust. And I want to trust God completely, without fear. Now don't get me wrong, I'm still going to set the alarm, check the kids before going to bed, and pray. But I'm going to try to remember that God is present in the reality of today, not my imaginations of tomorrow. And that His grace is sufficient, period.


Mandy LeMay said...

I can totally relate to your fear and the feelings that encompass it. I think I have become more 'fearful' after losing my Dad so suddenly over 3 years ago, and having my children has caused me great fear. It was at the moment of loss that I became fearful of what could happen next and would I be ready to 'deal' with it. Several months ago, I was literally losing sleep worrying and being fearful and still occasionally (like today when I had just hung up with Josh and he told me to call him right back- and I couldn't get him for a while, then I hear sirens close by, etc. but find out he was just exercising) fear sets in and the scenarios start- I have had to learn to stop, take a deep breath and turn it over to God at that moment. Each time a thought would pop in my head- I would say God, you are in control, please take this fear away and help me think of something pleasing to you instead of dwelling on my thoughts that are many times just in my head. Give it back to God every time!!! It really does help me get the fear out of my head. I agree I need to know God so much more than I do and I fall short every day of doing what I should. Thank you for sharing such wise words always- please know I will be praying for you and the girls and Jeff next week for a 'no fear' week and one filled with peace, I know you and the girls will miss him tremendously. He is certainly going to be helping spread the gospel, and God will be glorified thru all of your efforts.
Here's some scripture that I love that always brings me lots of peace-
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:6-9

Anonymous said...

Wow, Tracy. That was pretty amazing. I love this point you made: "But I'm going to try to remember that God is present in the reality of today, not my imaginations of tomorrow."

I'm with you on the dreaming. I know I've awaken mad or sad towards Jason b/c something he did in a dream. He's so sweet...he'll even apologize like he had anything to do with it!