Friday, September 14, 2012

On Fear - A Guest Post!

Hi! I'm Bernadette, and I write over at Barefoot Hippie Girl about life, fitness, cooking, issues and Scripture. Thanks, sweet Sarah, for entrusting me with your corner of the www today.

One of the things God has been speaking to my heart about lately is fear. We all have fears...some are smaller and some are bigger. Some are common sense, like being afraid of a car hitting you, so you don't just run out into the street.

Some are a little less common sense-like my fear of snakes. I know, there are big, nasty snakes in this world. And I hate them with a passion. But there are no big snakes in my neck of the woods, except for at the zoo. I will not watch movies with lots of snakes, and I mostly avoid reptile houses. And, I hope God never sends me as a missionary to Africa. We'd have to have a chat.

Our words for crippling fears are all ______phobia. Phobia is a Greek word that has transferred over to English. It is a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. You could say that my fear of snakes is irrational. But it doesn't really adversely affect my life. It doesn't keep me from running even though I see little garter snakes every once in a while.

Interesting fact though...I do have a fear that is a phobia. It is a fear that too often keeps me from doing what I know I should. 

It is the fear of man. Being afraid of offending someone. Being afraid that someone will go off on me for something I say or do.

In my life, this fear is a fear of a particular person. It is warranted. This person wrote me a very abusive email soon after my blog started. It was the kind of missive that makes your heart race, and puts your stomach in knots. This person wrote me another email in the same vein this spring. And finally towards the beginning of the summer, they completely blocked me from any online presence in their life.

I can honestly say that I have no idea what put me on this person's hate this. I don't know what I said or did. 

Furthermore, this person is an unavoidable IRL relationship of mine. There is no way to avoid this person, long term. A "can't live with them, can't live without them," situation.

This situation has had me in knots all summer. Do I pursue the issue and get lambasted again? Do I avoid the person? Are they reading into everything I do or don't do, say or don't say? Do I change what I write or do? 

I was totally afraid of them. Afraid of getting hurt badly again. And I was letting it steal my joy and peace. All summer.

I knew that I was going to have to see this person last week. I wondered if they would cause a scene. I was nervous. Sick.

And this is what God said to me...

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear. {1 John 4:18} 

To avoid this person, or let the fear of this person shape my life, is not loving this person. I don't have to be manipulated into writing what this person thinks I should write. There is no one forcing them to read my blog. I need to be true to write what God is laying on my heart. In humility.

And this is what else God spoke to my heart...
Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed. For I am thy God, I will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand-upheld by My righteous omnipotent hand.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee, I only design, thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose, I will not, I WILL NOT, desert to his foes.
That soul though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no never, no never forsake.
-How Firm a Foundation based on Isaiah 41 and 43

See, this is the crunch...God is my master. God has the prior claim on my life. I need to do everything for His glory-including what I blog about, and how. There may be opposition. We are unique individuals with different beliefs. But, my focus needs to be on God, not what others think.  God is with me through the rough passages. He never promises there won't be fiery trials, but He did promise that He will be with me, upholding me. 

His grace is sufficient and He is refining me. Come what may. I will not be afraid.


Thank you so much, Bernadette, for sharing what is on your heart.  I know I struggle with fears of man sometimes.  I stand in agreement with you that what is done in life as well as through writing needs to be a true representation of yourself and how you can glorify God through it all. Thank you again.  Friends, please head over to Barefoot Hippie Girl and show Bernadette some love over there!

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