Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mixing peas and carrots

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
I must admit that I am a bit of a quirky individual. The vastness of my nuances can't be that different than anyone else - can they?? Unbeknowst to me up until hubby pointed it out a couple of years ago, I don't really care for my food to touch. I think compartmentalized plates and trays are a strike sheer of genius. Furthermore (again after another notification from the hubby food patrol), I have tendency to eat my food in a particular order -- starting one thing and not moving onto to the next item until I have completed the first. Sounds perfectly normal in my book and not all bothered that others like to mix their food up before consumption. I would like to note that I do throw out my "rule" for soups, casseroles, pasta dishes and pretty much all desserts that go well with ice cream. I think that makes me pretty flexible. However, I got to thinking this morning about what motivates ones behavior, well in this case, my behavior. I don't really have a fear of my food touching just a preference. Now what about fears? For instance, my biggest one is the fear of confinement or better yet having no discernable way to leave a room or get out of a situation. Let me frame it for you. Let's just say that amusement park rides are fun but the most stressful time for me is at the beginning when the seat belt or harness is secured and at the end when there is the least little bit of hesitation in getting said restraint removed. Ask anyone who has been stuck with me on ride in which the safety mechanisms did not immediately open upon hitting the landing. Now, that ladies and gentleman is full on fear. Fear is a factor that drives all of us. Drives us to make irrational decisions and those with no basis for ground other than in our own heads. Former president, Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best in his 1933 inauguration speech -- "...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself...." He went onto to define the fear as "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." Pretty much captures it doesn't it? At least it resonates with me. I can look back over my life and see that fear was at the root of many of my not-so-great decisions. Fear of being alone. Fear of being rejected. Fear of not being accepted. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of failure. Fear of ..... you name it. I was and still am to some extent afraid of it. As I pondered the definition FDR gave of fear and my own struggles with my own fears, I realized that I have made it too easy for the enemy to control my life and without having to really do any work. Fear is a powerful tool that yields abundant results with very little effort. All it takes for me to back down from a prospect, not try something new or just give up altogether is a dose of "what if...." After all, aren't we all afraid of something? There is healthy fear and there is debilitating fear. The Word says, "fear not for I (God) am with you." (Isaiah 40:10 NKJV-- emphasis mine). The Hebrew word used here in this reference is "yare'" - meaning to "affright, be make afraid, dreadful, put in fearful reverence, terrible act." Sounds pretty scary -- something that can almost paralyze us from action. Throughout the Bible, God tells us that He is in charge. He has everything under control. (1 John 5:18, Jer 29:11) We are told to fear only the Lord but that is a healthy fear -- out of reverence, awe and respect for His position.
He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. Proverbs 14:26 (NIV)
Many of us have a healthy respect for those in authority over us -- our parents, supervisors, police officers and so on. We don't quake in our boots at the mere mention of their names or their sheer presence in the room. That is where the difference lies in the "fear" we have in our minds that binds us and keeps us hostage at the mere thought of moving forward. This "fear" is the tool of the enemy and it's only use is to disable you in your attempts to be effective in this world. The healthy "fear" is more of deference to position and belief that the person in authority has your best interest in mind. Now, with all of that being said - -I must admit that I am not really looking forward to the next ride on Kumba or getting stuck in the church elevator. That fear still grips me but I do know that should I find myself in a precarious situation that I am not alone because God is with me. I only pray that it has a calming effect on me just long enough for the rescue attempts to be successful. For the time being, it is my plan to work on the small stuff -- like mixing my peas and carrots. One step at a time folks... one step at a time... You never know -- I may learn to love being strapped into Kumba just yet. Dear Father - I thank You for showing me the difference between healthy and unhealthy fear. I thank You for being their with me even when I forget to ask. I pray that You continue to fortify me with strength and tools to continue to fight off the enemy when fear starts to sneak in. In the Precious Name of Jesus - AMEN Application:
  • What (or Who) are you afraid of? Why? Does the fear have roots in your past?
  • Meditate on Isaiah 41:10 and ask the Lord to give you the strength to face one of your fears.
  • Pray that the Lord will bring you peace as you encounter new situations or even just go about your daily life as fear is running rampant in our society. Don't let it grip you. You have a mighty Savior ready to step in and defend you.

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