Have you ever been afraid?
I don’t mean the kind that makes your heart race,
Palms sweat and stomach knot in the face of imminent danger.
This is a different kind
It’s the kind of fear that starts slowly in the center of your chest,
Wraps its cold hands around your heart,
Crawls down your spine,
And turns you into a shivering, weepy, incomprehensible mess.
This kind does not just show up because there is trouble on the horizon, no;
It lives with you every day
Shadowing your decisions, dodging your relationships, haunting your mind,
And on bad days, leaving your mind blank,
Your body folded in fetus position,
And your mouth incapable of speech.
It’s the kind that leaves you questioning your sanity
Your ability, or even your humanity
Have you ever been afraid?
This kind of fear leaves your head perpetually hung and your hand lowered
It makes you think you belong in the back of the line,
Or that the front was not made for people like you
You never really stay
You’re never really here
You don’t really fit
It’s the kind that tells your mind that you are not deserving,
Except maybe of the myriad of misfortunes that are dumped at your feet
It’s the voice that tells you that you were wired wrong,
and you will never be fixed
It is one that constantly nags your heart with what ifs:
What if you die here? What if sin’s chains choke you and you die?
What if you never find your voice, or the courage to tell the truth?
What if your life is lived by someone else because you’re too afraid to demand it back?
What if you never stop hiding?
What if shame keeps your hands from rising?
What if you never heal?
What if all your wounds fester, and you rot, a bloated mass of bile and bitterness?
What if you end up broke(r), miserable, and alone?
What if your dreams make no sense or don’t take flight?
What if this is all there is to you?
What if you never become?
What if the curse wins?
What if, one day, you look in the mirror,
And the monster you have always abhorred stares back?
Maybe you’ve never been afraid
Maybe you’ve always been confident
Maybe life’s lemons and curve balls have never
Made you pause and doubt yourself
Or wonder what quality of life you have
Maybe you’ve always gotten what you wanted
Maybe your hard work has always paid off
But if, like me, you have been here,
You know that this kind of fear can completely engulf your mind
It can become a living, breathing thing inside you,
An extension of yourself that is no longer distinguishable from who you are.
Thankfully, there is a cure for the anxious life
And it is this: Trust. Complete, utter, and confident trust.
Belief in God and who He says He is.
You were made for more than fear,
More than shame and cowering in corners like those who have no hope.
Don’t you know that God is more than able to look after you?
Fear’s fierce wind may huff and puff,
It may rattle the cage of your heart and threaten to blow your house down,
But when it does, look into God’s word and remember your name.
Look fear in the eye, and declare with all the assurance you can muster,
That your Father is good, and He can be trusted.
Then close your eyes, and leap.