Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Facing Your Naked Fears

That moment when . . .

. . . you realize you’ve been living in terror of what the future may hold.

In fact, that’s what fear is. Imagining. Fantasizing. Running from the storms before they happen. Fear lives in the present. But it always works in the future, using the past and present as its tools.

You’ll never escape.

History repeats itself.

It will always be like this.

Humans aren’t as vulnerable to fear when we’re feeling secure and loved in the present. But even when we’re happy and safe, fear tries to break in.

Remember last time you felt this good? Remember how it ended? That’s going to happen again. You have to hide. You have to protect yourself from accepting this love, because as soon as you get used to it, it will end.

And where the ability to accept love ends, that’s where fear begins its most dastardly work.

You’re not good enough.

No one could ever love you after what you did.

If people saw what you really are, they’d despise you.

Fear attacks you when you’re naked, with nothing to hide behind. In fact, the world’s first instance of fear happened because of nakedness.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid. (Gen. 3:7-10)

We’re still afraid of being naked. Fear has such a hold on us, that we think the second someone sees who we really are without makeup or fancy clothes or our sense of humor or a big grin or even a protective layer of sarcasm, they’ll hate us. They’ll withdraw the love we so desperately want.

The ironic thing is that in all our efforts to cover up what we’re afraid to let the world see, we are still naked. Maybe you fooled your next-door neighbor or your best friend or your mom or your pastor. But there’s one who sees all. “Everything is uncovered and laid bare (naked) before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Adam and Eve’s fig-leaf fashions weren’t good enough. And neither are your attempts to hide.

See, when I started this post, I was going to write about the different kinds of fear, and the different things we fear. But I think it all boils down to being inherently naked and trying to cover it up with filthy rags. Even if you decide to go be Mother Theresa for the rest of your life, justice cuts beyond any cover up.

See that’s the problem with fear. To some extent, fear is right. And that’s because fear’s favorite tool is truth. Twisted truth. Half-truth. Truth mixed with lies. 

Fear is right. You are worthless. You deserve nothing. Justice has the right to take your life and everything you hold dear.

But just as justice swings its sword for the death blow, there is a resounding clash of metal on metal. Love throws itself between you and death.

Fear is only half right. You are worthless without love. You deserve nothing, but love gives you what you don’t deserve. Justice has the right to take your life, but love steps in to save the day.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

Fear is what happens when we see justice without love. When we look at what we are and what we legally deserve under God’s perfect law, we should be afraid! But that’s only if we discount love.

Love says “No, you’re not good enough. But I still want you.”

And that’s how love defeats fear.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27)

If you are living for Jesus through faith in him, you are a child of God. Fear has no place in your life. You don’t have to be naked anymore.

Are you going to accept the clothes he offers?

Up next:

Have you been taking the Self-Pity Waterslide? Learn what it is and how to avoid it in my next post! Also, I wrote a guest blog called "Shadows" a while back that talks about how fear can use your past to cripple you in the present. Check it out here!

Did this strike a chord with you? Can you relate? Please, leave a comment and let me know! And if you think this post could encourage someone else you know, why not share it by email, Twitter, or Facebook?

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