Well, I have to admit that I am somewhat surprised by the fact that it is now day 20 in my 30 Day Challenge and I am now two thirds of the way to completion.
And today’s subject/question of “Your (my) fears” or rather my answer/response to it might surprise a few people.
And if it does I apologize but the fact is that I have to stay truthful. So here goes…
I don’t really have many fears. Actually I can only think of two that I have but both are so very real.
To be honest with you, as I write I can’t help wondering what the cut off point is between concern or worry or anxiety and actual fear? When does a concern or worry or anxiety actually become a fear?
We are all different aren’t we? Experience and approach things differently don’t we? Certainly what I may consider to be a worry some might hold as a very real fear and sometimes that is due to circumstances, sometimes due to the person’s character and sometimes I think it is defined by society’s ever-changing understandings and definitions.
So for the purpose of clarity let me explain that even in the two fears that I am going to share with you there are different experiences within me concerning them and that I accept that for some they may seem rational and for others irrational. Or even one rational and the other irrational and each of us will have different opinions in this regard. And that is fine.
After all, are we not in an age of undefined or defocussed definitions.
The first fear that I am going to share with you is my fear of the dentist. I cannot begin to express just how horrible it makes me feel when I even think of this.
My teeth and the state of them are an embarrassment to me. Trust me they really are. But I just can’t bring myself to go to the dentist because my fear is so great.
Many years ago I had an abscess on the gums around the area of my wisdom
teeth (back molars) and I went days in agony because I just wouldn’t go to the dentist.
Finally I could take it no more and woke one of my staff members up in the middle of the night to drive me some 17 miles to a hospital to see the emergency dentist.
I had called ahead to try to make and appointment but had to wait some 40 minutes when we got there before being seen by the dentist. And having already gone days in agony having to wait those extra 40 or so minutes made me like a caged rabid bear.
I am a very big guy and can, I know, be very intimidating. And when I finally got called to see the dentist, I went in and barked, “You’ve got to do something for this pain! But if you so much as touch me near my mouth I will drop you where you stand!”
Poor guy, he took one look at me, asked me to open my mouth where I stood, shone a little torch in and then gave me painkillers and antibiotics and told me to take them and not come back LOL.
He never came even close to me and I really can’t blame him.
That was some 18 years or so ago now and was the last time I saw a dentist and I have to be honest here and admit that I hadn’t seen a dentist before that for some 16 years or more. Such is my fear of dentists.
It really is the strongest emotion linked fear response that I have. Actually I used to react similarly to injections and, to a much lesser extent, to hospitals. Although neither of these bother me much now since becoming so ill and their becoming a regular feature of my life.
The next fear is perhaps the one with the deepest actual and potential impact and I feel led to share this with you and can only hope that by doing so it will help others.
It is a fear that links both my mental health and my faith in Christ. It is also one that I have battled with ever since becoming a Christian.
It is the fear that I might not be saved or even saveable.
My heartfelt prayer is that you will not read anything into that, or jump to any conclusions. But that you will read on, doing so with the understanding that this fear speaks more about me than it does about God. And that, as you will see, God is gracious regardless of that fear.
I have made no secret on here of my issues with struggling with self-worth and how that affects me. So I don’t doubt for one minute that this fear is all wrapped up in that as well as my mental health.
Additionally I know the things that I have done in my past, and whilst none of them are that drastic, I know that I have not been the best person and constantly have to speak the truth into that as well.
Truths such as: 1 Timothy 1:16 (NIV)
16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
Doubts and fears are part of life aren’t they? Especially when you have mental health issues and especially when you have struggled with self-worth issues for most of your life.
Additionally, I and cannot describe how serious this issue is, when our relationship with our own parents have not been so good in the past.
I really can’t begin to express just how important I believe the role of “parent” is and should be both in and throughout our lives.
Likewise I really couldn’t begin to express how my own poor relationship, especially with my earthly father, has without doubt had an impact on my relationship with myself and with God.
But God is not earthly. He is beyond that. Not limited by that. Not imperfect but perfect and His love is perfect. And perfect love drives out all fear. (1 John 4:18 NIV)
18There 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.
In the King James the word “drives” is “casts” and both fit and I stand on that promise.
Perfect love drives/casts out all fear! I am not perfect, actually I am far from perfect. But God is perfect and His love, providing I am willing to accept it, is so much more capable of driving our my fears than I am of holding onto them?
That is not to say that the voices, and the internal dialogues aren’t there doing their thing?
Don’t we all have internal dialogues? Don’t they all throw doubts in our way from time to time?
Doubts about who we are, what we are doing, the things we are facing and the things that are important to us?
Of course not all of them may be about such things as good and evil, eternal salvation and the such – but then they speak about what we know do they not? That is not to ignore the spiritual aspect of it all – which of course is essential and important.
They sometimes even take scriptures and twist them or change them i content or context or meaning and throw them at me. James 1: 5-8 NIV…
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
“7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” echoes in my voices and internal dialogue from that statement in James and tells me that I cannot be saved and that my mental health excludes me from salvation.
Of course I understand the truth and speak the truth into these such thoughts. A truth that actually even precedes this passage
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
I am work in progress and I should “consider it pure joy” when I “face trials of many kinds” – including the doubts and fears of my internal dialogue and the voices. “Because you (I/we) know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
And truths like: John 3:16 NIV…
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
“Whoever believes in him!” What a wonderful promise. My voices, my internal dialogue do not remove my belief in Him or exclude me from Salvation. They give me more and more cause to believe in Him.
And here’s the deal…
I love and believe in my heavenly Father and I love and believe in my Lord and even if my doubts, my fears were to exclude me from salvation – which they don’t – I would still go on loving them just as I do throughout those times when the doubts and fears are the greatest.
And I would still go on testifying and witnessing and sharing about God’s love and encouraging others heavenward. Why? Because my doubts and fears speak only into me and not about Him – other than you show how wonderful His love is.
They and my reliance on God’s promise demonstrate that He understands and loves each and every part of me – yes even those parts that hold those fears and those doubts.
Because His love is perfect and “perfect love casts out all fears.”