Monday, July 15, 2013

Bigger Picture Moment: In the Tangles of Fear

I didn't want to go to Egypt.

I confided in close friends that I feared something big would happen while I was there -- a bomb exploding nearby or even worse atop of us or a massive uprising of voices in the streets we'd walk. I expected to get caught up in a whirlwind of chaos.

The fear wasn't unfounded. Just weeks before I left for Egypt, I had long weekend of reeling, submerged in a murky mess of emotions before I found myself dried up and laying low on rock bottom.

I didn't have an ounce of anything in me to move, to make anything out of the mess I'd made so I opened my hands and told God if He could do better than I was doing, He was welcome to try.

But He'd have to move me.

I didn't know much about God other than what I'd read in a couple chapters of the Bible ... and other than what I'd experienced during a few chance encounters as a teenager.

And something big did happen; I came home changed.

Instead of being ravaged by terror, I found myself wrapped in unexpected grace and love.

It was nothing short of miraculous for me.

Though God didn't part the water before my eyes when I stood on the shores of the Red Sea, He did flood my heart. He spoke to me through sand and waves, stars and sky and through the words of a gentle force of a man I met on that trip who just months later became my husband.

It was only through untangling myself from all of that which is determined to keep me bound in fear that I was able to move and encounter the God who I believed was and will always be, and also the God who, indeed, is.

When I went to Egypt, I found a present-tense God waiting to encounter my heart, a God who wanted to bind my heart to His and whisper his love for me through the love of the man who would become my husband.

The revelation of present-tense God changed everything for me and set my heart on a journey to know him more. My fears tried to keep my bound in stillness; and I almost let them.

And, honestly, I still do.

Last week, fear crept up my legs like an entangling vine and wrapped itself tight around my heart and mind.

I spent most of our drive to Denver trying to hack away at the vines and free myself so that I could move without feeling like my heart was going to beat out of my chest at every small exertion of movement forward.

It wasn't until I crumpled into a mess of tears as we drove along narrow roads up a winding mountain and cried hard and fast that I realized I couldn't free myself from the entanglement.

And why was I so bound anyway? Why was evil trying so hard to keep me still? The nights before John curled up next to me and petitioned God ... help, speak, unbind me. Anything. We asked for discernment for big questions that have been linger and that have left us restless.

I searched my heart and heard His voice telling me in a dream and then again when I woke that before I could move on, I'd have to let go of the old.

I'd have to trade my old friend fear.

Fear.

I've long confused the voice of fear for precaution -- given it credit for keeping me safe, my boys of out danger, my decisions grounded in the stability of safety.

In disguise, fear has convinced me that it's kept me safely where I belong --

out of airplanes

and countries

and off of windy mountain roads 

out of the wrong place

at the wrong time

and out of danger

It's such a tricky lover, fear, because in reality it's actually kept me where I don't belong

deep in the throes of worry

stuck in the pits of anguish

entangled in every what if

stuck in the lowest of valleys. 

Bound.

Fear is the very thing that stills my movement. That confines my mind. That silences my true heart cries

and binds me in the vines of valleys so that I'm banished from that mountain top where I have a bird's eye view of what's really been my safety net -- the steady streams of Grace and Love from Him who loved me first that circle the roads on which we travel.

I heard the words clear in my mind that morning before we'd left for the mountains, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." {1 John 4:18}

When we reached the top of that mountain, I breathed. And while I was there I remembered the God who showed me His face in Egypt the first time I dared to let Him really move me out of the tangles of fear.

And realized that same God was speaking to me from a mountain top in Colorado.

With His words, I see how He is diligently cutting away the vines of fear that threaten to keep me
bound in this narrow valley

so that I see can clearly the lay of the land from the top of the mountain

time and again.  





3 comments:

  1. Oh my. Yes. THIS: "In disguise, fear has convinced me that it's kept me safely where I belong -- out of airplanes and countries and off of windy mountain roads out of the wrong place at the wrong time and out of danger. It's such a tricky lover, fear, because in reality it's actually kept me where I don't belong deep in the throes of worry stuck in the pits of anguish entangled in every what if stuck in the lowest of valleys. Bound." We need a Skype date. Really soon. Because I get this, completely and, as usual, there's no one who gets me quite like you do. ((hugs)) and love, sweet friend.

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    Replies
    1. YES! Maybe tomorrow night? I'm missing you!

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  2. This is so eloquent and soul bearing that it shimmers just as much as your heart does, friend.

    ReplyDelete

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