I really like Lent. I like the challenge, the discipline, and the accountability. It was never a part of my life until college, and even then it was usually coffee or sugar (neither of which I probably followed through with). Those things are fine to give up, but it wasn’t until grad school and my program at Denver Seminary that I really started to understand the importance and weight behind the practice.
I started giving up things like bitterness, rash decision making, anger, etc.
This year I am giving up Fear.
I realize when I look back on my life how much of it has been dominated, controlled, or limited by fear. Anxiety has played a huge part in my life, influencing my relationships, my sleep, and my decision making. I am afraid of lots of things – being forgotten, left out, failing, missing out (I’m the queen of FOMO). And it has been helpful to simply become aware of these fears. But this year, I’m done. I’m sick of Fear keeping me up at night, making my heart race and shortening my breath. Fear is a mean bully, and he’s relentless.
So when I attended the spring retreat at the college I am working at, and we had a chance to listen and wait for the Lord to speak to us, I was overwhelmed but not surprised at what He chose to say to me: “I want to heal you of your fear.”
So what better time than Lent, to embrace that healing and join Him on the journey of removing Fear from my life?
Ok, Kallie – that is a nice thought. But how do you actually give up fear?
Join me on the journey.
First of all, I am starting a sticky note collection. Every time I experience fear in any capacity, I write it down. I don’t really know why yet – probably just to show myself the amount of fear I experience, and the reality that most of those fears are worthless and dumb. But also to realize that sometimes we are scared of real things – things that are bigger than we can handle. Those are the things we need to face and lay at the foot of the Cross.
Second, I’m going through Scripture. I’m going through all the words in the Bible that relate to fear: afraid, anxious, fear, etc. and finding out what God has to say about them.
Day one? Genesis three. The first thing that Adam and Eve experience after they sin for the first time? Fear.
Fear comes riding in like a monsoon through the words of the devil, attempting everything he can to separate us from God.
“I was afraid – so I hid.” That is what Adam says when God, inevitably, finds him hiding.
We can’t hide from God. We shouldn’t hide from God. When Fear tells us to hide, we need to do the opposite.
Day two showed what happens when we don’t hide. After God gives Moses the Ten Commandments, the people are scared, and they react the same as Adam – they “stood far off.” Moses tells them not to be afraid, but they still stand back. Moses, however, knows God and knows He isn’t scary – so He drew near to where God was. (Exodus 20).
I started to ask myself, which will I be? Which will you be? When Fear comes – will we hide? Will we stand far off from God? Or will we be brave enough to fight back against our fear and draw near to God?
I’m excited about Lent this year. Because this isn’t something I am only giving up for forty days. This is something that I never want to have back. Let’s be people who draw near to God, not people who hide. Nothing good comes from hiding.God is faithful, and He is not scary. He is the God who fights our fears and holds us close. Like Hebrews 10:22 says, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”
And a favorite quote of mine, just to chew on: “Fear is real, but it’s dumb.” – Doug Wekenman