For too long, I’ve created a home out of fear.
It’s easy to do. It starts with little steps into fear’s territory. Tiptoes even. I slowly, gradually, barely find myself getting more and more comfortable adapting to the laws of the land. It starts with disappointment growing louder than hope. It moves into anxiety taking the place of my faith.
Before I know it, I’ve put down roots in the acidic soil of fear.
I might have a picket fence – but no one can see that the wood is molded beneath the white paint. I might have a house – but no one can see that the foundation is crumbling. I might have a good looking life – but no one can see the darkness that comes from playing it safe and staying stuck.
The lies won’t always look direct, but sometimes they’ll be packaged in pretty bows like “care and concern,” “wisdom and caution,” or even “not wanting to disobey God.”
But Fear’s lies will always leave us hollow. We will always find ourselves empty – having spent precious time worrying instead of abiding. Fear will never follow through on its promise – that if we just worry long enough, the outcome will change.
We were discussing the anxiety that has overtaken my life the last 6ish months. I know that it’s pent-up pain that I don’t want to deal with. I run from pain because I’m afraid of getting stuck in it. However, unhealed pain in my life spills over into anxiety, depression, or health problems.
Avoiding pain only creates more pain.
However, when we choose to actually face the pain – fighting the fear that keeps us stuck – what we find on the other side of the uncomfortable process is freedom.
What would it look like to refuse to take up residency and citizenship in fear? Instead of making fear our home where we exist from – could we make it a part of our life that we fight instead of embrace?
Freedom might look a little messier. It’s not quite the “white picket fence with everything perfect on the outside” sort of living. It’s a little more simple and nomadic. It might not be safe, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.
Freedom is a Promised Land.
Freedom is choosing to pitch a tent and make a home out of a breathtaking wilderness. There is fresh water flowing from underground springs, bubbling up and inviting you to take a taste. There are trees that provide shelter and rocks to climb and explore. There is a waterfall for beauty and refreshment of your soul.
The place of Freedom is wild, but nothing is fake.
For me, beyond the mental pictures of adventure vs stagnant living, it looks very realistically like my everyday life… amplified in wholeness.
To leave fear behind means saying no to my people pleasing, anxiety, self-sabotage, doubt, comparison, and emotional numbing. I bring those things to Jesus, confess the sins attached to the behaviors, and let the Holy Spirit fill where fear once was. It’s a deep-clean process in our heart, throwing out all the fear and filling it with faith. It’s a replacement process that can only be done in the Presence of Perfect Love.
To live in freedom would look like standing tall and loving well. Freedom looks like loving people out of my overflow instead of my obligation. Freedom looks like facing challenges, doubts, hurt, and pain with a tenacity that says, “I know this will hurt, but I believe that it’s worth the momentary pain of dealing with the problem rather than the prolonged pain of ignoring it.”
This is what it looks like to replace fear with freedom.
Is it easy? HECK NO!
Is it worth it? Yes.
This is where we stand – the choice is ours. Do we stay in the comfortable home that fear has built or do we venture out into the unknown?
This is hard. This is a journey. Do not beat yourself up for the back steps or slip-ups or moments of weakness. Know that you are still moving forward. You are still refusing to dig your roots into fear, even on days when the fear pulls you backward. Instant perfection is not being asked of you. Just make one step today in the right direction.