Archives for posts with tag: fear

Anyone who has children or has ever been a child is well acquainted with stubbornness.  Although stubbornness and determination could be considered two sides of one coin, stubbornness has a less-than-positive connotation.  We’re all familiar with the shouted “No!” accompanied by the stamp of a foot and the scowl on a small face.  We hope that as we mature, our stubbornness mellows into determination as we learn to choose our battles and dedicate ourselves to the causes that matter.  But stubbornness can rear its head when we feel powerless in a situation, when someone wants us to do one thing and we are inclined to do another (sometimes ANY other), and the only recourse we have is to grab onto our position with our teeth and refuse to let go.

But what do we do when that someone is God?  I would like to think that if I ever heard the actual voice of God telling me to do something, I would set down my pride and my stubbornness and be obedient.  But I know myself too well.  “How can I be certain that’s really you?” I would ask, and I would need some kind of a sign because heaven knows I wouldn’t want to deviate from my own wandering-in-the-wilderness path on unreliable information.  I like to think that I have a modicum of faith, surely a mustard seed’s worth, but really, in the times I’ve been tested I’ve usually felt as if I got moved by the mountain instead of the other way around.  So I have to wonder how hard I am listening for God’s voice if I am pretty sure I would ignore it even if I heard it.

If you hear God speak today, do not be stubborn. Hebrews 3:15

Like many of my friends, I stayed home to raise my child, intending to return to the outside working world “someday.”  Now that my daughter is nearly grown (I say nearly because she is a college student, and I think that puts her in that weird zone between childhood and true adulthood), I have been pondering what I am good for.  A 15-month stint in a data and call center convinced me that I don’t belong there, doing the same thing every minute of every day with two short breaks and a half hour for lunch.  After dedicating my life to the important work of raising another person from helpless infant to productive member of society (and, though I don’t take the credit, a wonderful, talented, intelligent young woman who wants to make her own mark on the world), I just can’t dig up much enthusiasm for helping some company make more money.  It’s hard to figure out how to transfer my gifts and talents from a relationship-based world to an output-based one, and I’m not sure I even want to try.  But there’s a nagging little voice inside my head that tells me I should be contributing to the household income, building our savings back up, getting ready for the next economic meltdown or the next layoff or the next whatever dramatic event nearly wipes us out.  So I start getting nervous.

My prayer is that God would reveal to me what I am, what He made me to be at this stage of my life.  And, like a lot of people, I look for signs and try to listen for His voice, hoping that one day it will just hit me:  oh, right, THAT’s what I should be doing; why didn’t I see it before?  Maybe I’m just dense, but it’s not happening.  Am I being stubborn?  Is God trying to break through all the noise in my head to tell me what to do, where to go, but I’ve already decided that I couldn’t possibly do whatever that is or go wherever He’s pointing because, well, I’m just not capable?  There’s an old saying:  God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.  But is He calling me?  And if He is, to what?  Maybe it’s to a season of regrouping, of immersing myself in His word and in prayer, getting back to the basics of a closer relationship.  Could it be that simple?  Why would I resist?  Because I am stubborn.  I don’t like the not knowing.  All I really want is to KNOW.  I want to know what the goal is and how I’m supposed to get there, step by step.  I want to know what obstacles to expect along the way so I can plan for them.  I want plan B and plan C and whatever other contingency plans I’ll need.  I want a straight path with no unpleasant surprises.  I want.  I want.  I WANT!  Boy, am I stubborn.

Does God not care what I want?  Sure, He does.  But when I’m honest, I know that it’s more important that He cares what is best for me.  That means that I should be able to be confident that whatever happens, if I allow Him to, God will use it for my benefit.  If only I can get past my stubbornness and my pride and my fear, maybe I can just take a step in any direction and it will be okay because I am not alone.  The God of the universe is with me.  Where might we go together?

Where, indeed.

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One night during a particularly terrible thunderstorm, my then-six-year-old daughter came into our bedroom and asked, “May I sleep with you?”  Her voice quivered with fear.

Yes,” I said, “until the storm is over.”

With tenacity and emphasis in her tone, she told me, “I want to stay here until it’s all gone.”  Then she snuggled peacefully into the space between her father and me.

While she lay there, the intensity of the storm grew worse and worse.  Lightning flashed, and the thunder rolled in reverberating rumbles all around our house; but my little one never murmured or moved.  She felt safe with us.  We were not making the storm any less violent, but she knew she was secure because of her trust in us.

As I gently stroked her back, some God-thoughts went through my mind.  Why can’t I trust God like thatWhy can’t I rest in His love?  I know God loves me, so why can’t I give over my fears to Him?

The next day, I went to the book of Psalms and found many verses to ponder.  King David is one of my favorite Bible heroes, and I think he is so awesome because he writes both about his great and wonderful thoughts and about his most intimate fears and failures.  It didn’t take long to read Psalm 23 and meditate on the provision of the Lord.

But Psalm 4:8 also spoke to my heart: “I will lay me down in peace, and sleep: for you, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

With the storm of the previous evening in mind, I was reassured that though the storms of life threaten and are scary, if I go to God and trust Him, and rest in the space between His arms, I will be safe.  The storms may not lessen in intensity or duration—in fact, they may well get worse—but I will be protected.

Since I, as a parent, have protected my children and comforted them during their frightening experiences, I’ve learned to become as a little child to God.  I cry out and run to Him, asking Him to help me firmly stand in His love for me…often pleading to feel His love in a very real way during frightening times.

From my experience as a parent who responds to whatever fears and trials my children might have, I know without doubt that God will be my comfort and strength.  He is my shelter, my Rock, my tower of safety.  Nothing can harm me.

There is a beautiful painting depicting this peaceful feeling:  a little bird sits calmly in its swaying nest amidst a fierce storm.  Complete trust in God our Father—Creator of us and of the storms.  That is peace!

by Cindy Best

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