Fear(less): Work in Progress, part 1

 As scribbled down in early October, when my Kailey was fighting an awful case of the croup…
The world looks different from the inside of a hospital room. I’m on the 5th floor of Wayne Memorial today, on the dreariest, rainiest day ever. Kailey is asleep in the hospital bed, wires connecting her heart rate and oxygen levels to this monitor that I keep obsessively checking. I’m looking out at a gray sky, a side road into the hospital parking lot and a main road through the city, busy with cars and people. From here, it seems strange that all these people are going on as usual. From here, the world seems trivial and too full of people wondering what to make for dinner or if they remembered to TiVo their show.  And although when she’s better, I’ll also worry about the little things…for now, it’s inconceivable that anything else matters besides getting a smile back on her face.  She’s my girl. My whole world stops when she’s in pain. 

Sitting here by her, I’m thinking a lot. About her future, about our relationship. I’m thinking about all that I want  for her…I  hope she will never doubt how much I love her and how unbelievably wonderful she is.

I want her to be strong, confident, passionate. I want her to know, without doubt, that she is valuable and has purpose. I want her to know that she is beautiful in every stage of life, be it awkward or graceful…because she was made specifically to be who she is by a God who makes no mistakes. I want her to know that she is talented and lovable. I want her to be caring, giving, and loving. I want her to know God alone will fulfill her. I want her to stand up for those who need help.  I want her to be like Jesus.

It’s a big list, I know. And I can’t help but think—as far as examples go, am I setting the one I just described? Am I the kind of woman I want my daughter to become?

I guess finding that out means asking some hard questions. And, even worse, answering them.

Do I believe that I am beautiful, no matter what, because I reflect my Creator?  Do I believe that I have worth? Do I belive I am unconditionally loved? Do I believe I have a purpose?

I want the answers to be a whole-hearted yes. In my head, I know who I am in Christ. But in reality, do I live with the confidence of a woman who finds her value in Jesus? Or do I play into Satan’s subtle game-plan of ‘comparison’, in which I keep my eyes on myself and others…always ending up on the down-side of the equation?

And back to today…

I’ll be bare-soul honest with you. I’ve struggled with fear throughout my entire life. Fear that I can’t measure up to other people. Fear that no matter how hard I might try, I’ll never be worth real love that won’t abandon me. Fear that I won’t accomplish anything with my life.  Fear that my abilities aren’t good enough for God to use.

Does any of this ring true in your life?  If it does, let me tell you something.  We are  not meant to live like this. I would never wish this fear of worthlessness for my girl or anyone’s girl.

And  I am God’s girl. You are God’s girl (or guy, if that’s the case.) So He doesn’t wish it for us.

In fact, He brought that to my attention late last year with this question: Do you trust Me?

My answer was quick — of course. You’re God. You’ve saved me and blessed me. I trust You.

And yet– the Holy Spirit wouldn’t stop nudging me.  So I had to stop and think about that declaration of trust.

Because if I really trusted Who He is and His intentions for me, would I constantly second-guess my worth?   If I really trusted that He was sufficient for me, would I seek validation in other people and successes? If I really trusted His power and purpose, would I be afraid to step out and speak up for Him?  If I really trusted His forgiveness, would I keep holding onto shame from my past? 

These questions urged me to jump back into God’s Word. Because I knew that God’s perfect love would drive out fear — that’s promised to us in 1st John.  But I needed to re-understand God’s desires and love for me.  I think most of us know that God loves us in that general way that He loves everyone…but getting a hold of that in a personal, minute-by-minute, real way is vital to living in the boldness and joy that we read about in scripture.

Back in January, fearless kept running through my head…I wanted, so badly, for 2011 to be the year when my faith would carry me through and out of fear, so that I could effectively make a difference for God…I didn’t want to be held back by insecurities any longer.  And so when I came across the OneWord movement I shared a few posts ago, I knew that fearless would be my word for this year.

I decided to share this with you…whoever you are reading this…because I don’t think that I’m alone in this. I’ve seen too many women haunted by jealousy and insecurity. I’ve seen too many women trying to find their worth in a man and building their worlds on a foundation of another human’s emotions and actions…and way, way too many people filled with the fear that they don’t measure up to some undefined standard the world has given…and my heart breaks. Because I know how it feels.

And if, together, we can understand that Jesus is our portion and the purpose of our life — if we can really trust Him and understand that His love is truly more than enough to satisfy our souls….then I know that fear will taunt us no longer. Because in the presence of His love, our enemy will flee. And all of the negative lies he uses on us (to keep us from fulfilling our God-given purpose) will go with him. We have to choose to stop listening to satan, tuning our ears instead to the voice of God.

And in His perfect love, in His truth, we can forever stand with our heads held high and our hearts in unshakable peace.

I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand, You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. Whom have I in Heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” ~Psalm 73: 23-26

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