Lest you think that I'm just over here being "not afraid" all the time, let me assure you that I understand that all of this is easier said than done. I know firsthand that being not afraid doesn't come naturally, and it doesn't come easily, even when we want to choose it (in faith). If I were to tell you even a fraction of the times that I have let fear stop me, even in times when I have known for certain that God was moving in my life, then I could fill this blog for the rest of the year and then some. Easily.
But that doesn't mean that what I'm saying about fear - and specifically about not fearing - is any less true. It's still true. It's still what God wants for us. It's still what we're called to in faith. It's the life Jesus was telling us about.
We're just...still human.
It's just...still hard.
We just...still make it harder than it's really supposed to be.
The truth about fear, at least for me, is that it's really not that I doubt God. Not exactly. I believe He is who He says He is. What I have more trouble believing is that I am who He says I am. That is, when I come up against fear in my life, I often find myself wondering if I'm able to do what God is calling me to do, not if He is.
I know that God will take care of me. I know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him. I know that God is good. I don't know...if I am.
I don't know if I'm as strong as God thinks that I am. I don't know if I'm as ready as God thinks that I am. I don't know if I have the kind of faith that is able to rely on Him with every breath the way that moving forward in the face of fear is going to require of me.
I know myself well enough to know that as many times as I have pulled back in fear, there have been just as many I have stepped forward in faith - knowing that I trust in God and knowing that whatever it is is His doing. But I also know that once I get into the thick of things, it gets harder and harder for me to hold onto the same measure of faith that made me bold in the first place and that it's so easy for what started out feeling bold to suddenly feel...stupid. Not because God's not able, but because I'm not. Because I'm still me. Because I am still the person who fails...a lot. Because I am the person who fails when God has all but guaranteed my success because somehow, I'm really good at messing things up.
So it's easier for me to say things like, "I know, God, but...I'm not ready." It's easy for me to convince myself that when God invites me into something, when God calls me to step against fear, then what I really need to do is to use that as the opportunity to start preparing myself. To start investing my faith in that direction. Maybe to read more Bible verses or listen to more sermons or engage in singing more worship songs about the very thing that God is calling me to do. Then, one day, I'll step forward.
You called me, Lord, and so, I'm working on it. I'm coming. Just...not right now. I'm not ready yet.
Do you know how many moments in my life I have missed because I didn't think I was ready? Do you know how many times I have looked back in regret at opportunities I lost because I was too busy being afraid?
It's hard in my heart to deal with the number of times I have failed. It's hard to convince myself to try again when rejection and failure and defeat are such strong memories in my head. But you know what's worse? All the unknowing of the things I never even tried.
Because the truth seems to be that I don't trust myself, but when it comes to every single one of these moments that I've backed away from, it's clear that I just didn't trust God. You might even say that I actually did trust myself - I trusted myself to mess things up more than I trusted God to guide and protect me. I trusted myself to fail more than I trusted God to be good. I trusted my own broken human nature to lose that moment more than I trusted God to give it to me, even when He was begging me to take it.
So I get it. Being "not afraid"? It's not easy.
But fear has cost me so much already. What, really, do I have to lose?