Somewhere around the turn of the New Year, thoughts about fear kept weaving themselves through the fabric of prayers, experiences and conversations that make up the living, breathing fabric of Life. I suddenly stepped back and saw a greater pattern in mine. I saw some of the ways that fear has dictated my thinking and guided my decision making process.
Fear dominated much of the way I approached my faith.
Fear snuck its way into my thoughts about femininity.
Fear told me to hold back reserves even in my deepest friendships.
Fear kept me from following.
Fear had my hopes for the future locked up tight in cages.
But something has been shaking loose.
"Be a Lamp. Or a Lifeboat. Or a Ladder. Help someone's soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd." - Rumi
The BIG parts of life and death keep hitting me like a Mack truck. Rather than be the sad llama who feels oh so sorry for herself, I want to be the little big me, who puts one foot in front of the other and is a lamp, lifeboat, or ladder.
Because fear damages our souls when it keeps us from looking at other people. It keeps fixated on our belly buttons, it would have us stay under false phosphorescent lamps rather than enter the darkness with a candle, steers us away from the storm-wrecked lives of those who need help, and tells us that the heights are only for those who are not grounded in reality.
Even worse is the way that fear has us lock up our questions about God and faith into neat little boxes rather than let our hearts be honest, clear, and messy. One thing I learned this year was to be unafraid of asking my questions. Because sometimes, our spiritual lives are more like a shouting match, than the traditional and celebrated "quiet time."
And when the storm is at its loudest point, and the winds of disappointment whisper that darkness and despair are all that is left, THAT is when we see the figure in the waves shouting back at us, "Hey! It's me. Fear Thou Not. I'm right here. Let me get into that boat and ride this storm out with you." [John 6:17-21]
Fear Thou Not.
I say it over and over again to myself, "Fear Thou Not."