If there is one topic I write about more often than others, it's fear.
If there is one topic parishioners ask me to address more often than others, it's fear.
Even the most courageous, adventurous, and seemingly fearless among us have hesitations and unease. It is no wonder that from Genesis to Revelation we frequently hear the Lord saying, "Do not be afraid!" God who became flesh and blood through His Son knows our sufferings--and the suffering that can accompany rampant fears.
Fear is also a tremendous opportunity. One of the reasons I address it so often is that I feel like the Lord consistently reveals new ways of growing through life's fears. Yoga, movies, or my dog seem to accompany those revelations, and this week is no different.
Vacuuming has not been my favorite pastime, and my dog, Isaac, has liked it even less. Granted, the chore grew on me after my sister and her family gave me a powerful vacuum for my birthday the year Isaac appeared. (Yes, I knew I had reached adulthood when I asked for a vacuum cleaner for my birthday.)
For a long time, when I would turn on the vacuum, Isaac would run to the end of the house farthest from the noise. He never barked at the machine, but he didn't waste time getting away from it. More recently, he has changed his tune. He still doesn't want to be in the room with the machine when it's running, but his departure is less of a leap and more of a stroll.
He's developed a habit of confronting the vacuum cleaner.
He inches closer to it, staring at it as if in a negotiation, then calmly walks away.
He has learned that while he doesn't like the vacuum, it doesn't have to steal his peace.
We two-leggeds tend to bury our fears. We harbor and nurse them to the point that we cling to them. We hide not the Word of God in our hearts but rather words that convince us we are not enough. Perhaps four-legged like Isaac can remind us that many of our fears are just a lot of noise, and we can stand up to them.
Perhaps you're scared of spiders. Or the dark. Or letting people down. Or failure. Or public speaking. Or making someone mad. Whatever your "phobia" may be, it is not from God but from the enemy. As we grow in love in the body of Christ, the spirit of timidity must diminish. As we become more confident in the love of God, there is no room for noisy fear.
The next time you feel familiar fears rising up, stand on God's Word. Speak the promises of Scripture that God's children are strong and of good courage. Declare the words Jesus spoke to the wind and the waves. Stand up and face the vacuum cleaner with the confidence that nothing will steal your peace.
Let' s not waste our time running from our vacuum cleaners. Instead let us calmly walk toward the peace that surpasses understanding.
all good things to each you,