Sunday, April 27, 2008

In the face of fear

Our pastor has been preaching a series on the topic of fear for the past month or so.

And let me tell you, it has been hitting me right where it hurts.

I would imagine that everybody deals with fear in one form or another from time to time. Pastor Steve had a list of different types of fears, and he has read a few to us. Seemingly silly ones like fear of the color white. Fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth. Fear of numbers.

Others like fear of being touched. Fear of anything new.

And then the ones that spoke right to me. Fear of failure. Fear of expressing opinions. Fear of being oneself. Fear of never being enough.

When we came home after church last Sunday, as Ricardo and I were discussing what we had heard, he asked me if I had any fears. I couldn't even formulate an answer for that. I think he was expecting me to say something like, I'm afraid that the business won't make it, or I'm afrad that we'll have financial failure. The truth is, I don't worry about stuff like that. It's all the internal junk...the what do people think of me, did I sound stupid when I said that, what if I can't do it kind of stuff.

And then it hit me. My fears are all selfish. It's all about me, me, me. The entire time that I am worrying about these things, I am totally self-centered. And I'm pretty sure that's not how God designed things to be.

I asked Ricardo if he had any fears, and he said no. Very matter-of-fact-like. I was surprised at his answer, because it's hard for me to imagine someone living a life without being afraid of anything. But it reminded me of something I read in Tim LaHaye's book, Why you act the way you do. In that book, he said that the Phlegmatic/Melancholy tempermants struggle more with the sin of fear, and the Sanguine/Choleric tempermants struggle more with the sin of anger. I am straight up Phlegmatic/Melancholy, so I guess that would explain my propensity to fear. And Ricardo is almost all Choleric, and it's definitely true that he has more of an anger issue. Not that categorizing these things excuses them or explains them away, but I think it's helpful to learn about it and understand it a little better. But in the end, it boils down to what God says:

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7).

I've known this verse practically my whole life. I guess the trick is getting it from my head to my heart.

So for now, I determine to be less self-centered. To think on the pure and lovely. Not to focus on what I am not, what I can't do, but rather on what God says I am. 'Cause that's what really matters.


Soliloquy said...

Um, yes. Bookmarked. Check.

LOVE your heart! LOVE your humility. I am sick to death of "perfect little life" people and blogs.

Thanks for keepin' it REAL.

Love the Fear stuff. Wait. That didn't come out right. :o

But for every "i" statement - little "i" as in me - God has an I AM.

i am weak..... I AM YOUR STRENGTH.

i am lonely.... I AM WITH YOU.

i am a failure.... I AM SUFFICIENT.

GOOD stuff. He doesn't know any other way to be, right?

Elena's Garden said...

This post was very encouraging to me. I fear the same kind of stuff you do! I though I was alone and I too would stop and get my bearings by realizing I was all worried about myself and I needed to look at the Lord and not me! Thank you for your honesty. God bless you, Elena