There's that word again.
I am afraid. It's true. I'm afraid of what the future might hold, I'm afraid of my past decisions coming back to haunt me, and I'm afraid for how the choices I make now will affect future outcomes. But living in fear is no way to live at all.
When my kids were small, I went through a major bout with depression. As time passes, I have the benefit of looking back on that time, and I can see now how sad I really was. It affected everything, including my relationship with my babies. It makes me really, really, really sad, because I know I can't go back in time and change the way I was. When I started praying for God to heal me, I didn't know He would do more work in me than I'd ever imagined. He brought a joy I didn't know into my heart, and it has changed the way I interact with my family. But. I'm still afraid. I'm afraid for the time when my kids don't ask me to play horses with them in the front yard. I'm afraid for when they don't want to play silly games or even spend time with me. I'm afraid for their innocence to be stripped and for their peers to be a bigger influence than I am. So even though I once experienced that joy of the Holy Spirit working in my life, I've allowed it to be covered up by fear and worry, and even though He hasn't gone anywhere, I know I've turned my head away from His light, squinting at the shadows, trying to make images appear out of smoke.
I can't help but mentally put myself in the situations I've heard about. What if, what if, what if...it runs on the same loop in my head, becoming so familiar that I don't even fight it anymore. I care about my children, but the fear runs deeper than just that. When it's stripped down to the very core, the most basic fear is this: I don't want to hurt. I don't want to be sad. I don't want to have to deal with scary things. Because I'm not sure I can handle it. I don't wanna hurt, there's so much in this world to make me bleed sings Pearl Jam in their song Just Breathe, and I concur. Sometimes the world is too much to take.
Fear makes me turn inward, allowing the fear to consume me, and in doing so, life becomes unbearable. Scary. Anxiety-producing. Intimidating. Overwhelming.
It paralyzes me.
Sarah Young suggests to let the fears come, to let them surface, to pray about them, opening up to God about what is so scary and why (Jesus Calling). In the process of opening up to God and praying, I've found that I'm placing my fears on shoulders much broader and strong than my own, shoulders that can handle even my most alarming fears and worries. The ones about my past. And the future. And the here and now. And He takes those fears and replaces them with His Peace and Joy, allowing me to live life with Joy even in the most difficult circumstances instead of waiting for the sky to fall directly on my head.
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long,
and the one the Lord loves
rests between his shoulders.”