I was thinking about fear this morning. I struggle with it – I’m guessing everyone does at some level. One of my biggest fears is the fear of rejection. It is a large part of my emotional make-up. I tend to enter into a relationship with the knowledge that I may very well be rejected. I know it sounds somewhat desperate, and yet it is the core of who I am. It’s one of the things that I am laying before God – hopeful to change. Given that it is one of my prevalent fears, and that I was discarded by the closest, most intimate relationship I ever had, you can see how this would potentially haunt me.
I’ve discovered, too that there are different levels of fear and overcoming it. I have learned to trust God in the big areas, because clearly he has rescued me and cared for me in ways I never even dreamed he would. It has given me faith and built my trust. Yet what I’m seeing is that even in the smaller areas, I am still apprehensive –careful not to put myself into a position where I could be rejected or demeaned in any way. I guess this is part of my journey of walking with the Lord; learning the lesson and then having it reinforced over and over in smaller ways. I am determined to learn this and experience God’s power in my life in every way possible.
I watched a friend overcome a big fear recently. And while we laughed about it afterward, I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it. My friend and I had the opportunity to go zip-lining – something I have done before and loved – and something that she had wanted to try. Knowing she had a fear of heights, I wondered how she was going to do with the launch on the very high platform. I went first and when I got to the top and saw her climbing the rope ladder I knew she was terrified. Fear was in her eyes, her body language and clearly this was out of her comfort zone. But she did it anyway; partly because once she had started up, she felt that she couldn’t go back down – the quickest way out of the situation was to plough through it. But regardless of her reasoning, she met her fear, pushed herself and conquered it.
I think of Mary. I know she overcame many fears in her life. Initially, a young woman full of trepidation – she was giving birth to God’s son, and all the implications that came along with God’s decision to use her in the ways that he did. She clearly overcame those initial doubts as she surrendered to God’s will.
Luke 1:37-38 “37For nothing is impossible with God." 38"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."
Throughout her son’s life I’m sure that she had situations where she was confronted with the decision to be faithful or fearful. When Jesus was lost on their trip returning from Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover it says in Luke 2 that Mary and Joseph were anxiously searching for him – they were fearful. Also, at a later point, it says that she and her other sons were trying to pull Jesus away from the crowds. My guess is that this action was motivated by some sort of fear. I feel a connection with Mary knowing that while overall she was very faithful, even after that decision to trust the Lord in her overwhelmingly stressful situation, she still faltered throughout her life.
I’m going to continue to trust God is the big areas that I am uncertain about, but also in the smaller areas that cause me to occasionally react irrationally. And when I falter, I’ll think of Mary or various friends around me who have overcome big and small fears in their lives. I’m in good company.