February 13, 2008

I Am Afraid.

I learned something about fear last night.

I learned that a lot of times it is telling you that you NEED something. But it's always lying.

I met with a group of ladies last night, and one of the questions we dove into was "What is your biggest fear?"

My biggest fear is never being seen... never fulfilling the plans that God has mapped out for me. I am terrified that I am never going to figure out what I'm 'meant to do' on this earth, and I'm going to die without ever being who I was called to be. Unheard. Unseen.

My fear is telling me that I NEED to do something big and grand and extravagant with my life, or I will amount to nothing at all.

But you know what I realized last night? Even if someone walked up to me and handed me an opportunity to do something grand and extravagant and big tomorrow, and I seized that opportunity, I would still wake up the next morning with this fear. Throwing myself in the spotlight isn't going to magically make the fear disappear. It will always want, will always need MORE.

And I realized that this is true for pretty much any fear. Fear of poverty? Throwing money at it won't make that mindset, that deep down belief that you'll never be provided for go away. I know of people who are wealthy, yet still they are terrified of poverty. Afraid of being alone? Getting married won't fix that. Marriage can be just as lonely (if not, in some ways, more so) as being alone can be. Afraid of sickness/death? You can be perfectly healthy and still spend half your life worrying about the 'what ifs'.

Fear is always rooted in something deeper, something much more difficult to pin point. It creeps in when we least expect it (oftentimes when we are young and defenseless) and puts a choke hold on us before we even realize we're afraid. And then it wears us down, slowly, until it controls everything in our lives.

I'm learning that the only way to really get rid of all this fear is to stop and LOOK at the things I am afraid of, and then ask God to be all of those things FOR me.

I am afraid of being unseen. God tells me HE sees me and delights in me- just as I am. I need to know that I am seen by Him before I'm going to feel seen by anyone else. Period. If I'm afraid of not having enough money, I need to know that He promises to provide for me... that He alone is my security. I need to know that even obscene amounts of money couldn't (wouldn't!) offer me those things.

So, that's where I am at. Trying to rip out all the roots that have grown in me and told me that I'll never be enough. I'm asking God to be my Enough.

I was reminded of something that God said to me back when I was in college and struggling so much with thoughts of death and feelings of abandonment. I felt completely unseen- unseen by Chris, unseen by God, unseen by the Church. And one night, I was sitting in my apartment across the street from the college I was attending, and I was journaling. I was telling God that He didn't even know me, that He obviously didn't care for me because He was nowhere to be found when I needed Him the most. And then, clear as day, I heard Him say:
"Emery... You are NOT just another face in the crowd to Me."

I remember I was completely stunned for a moment. I cautiously wrote what I had just heard in my journal.

And then? I started bawling my eyes out.

God knows our fears better than we do ourselves. And sometimes, if we'll just stop and listen, He will remind us gently that He's stronger than fear.

And He won't stop there, either. He'll grab hold of those fears that have gripped us and bound us, and He'll turn them for good... Taking the very things that we've pushed Him away with for so long and using them to draw us closer to Him than we've ever been before.


In other news, Thanks to Piper for this lovely gift! Just in time for Valentine's Day! I feel the love. Click the picture to get swept away to the loveliest blog of them all!


megan said...

Hi. I am new to the blogger world. Your posts are such an inspiration to me. Thanks for sharing your views and beliefs! I can totally relate to the way you feel and am so glad that God is always there for us when we need him.

Liz said...

I think that your posts are beautiful. Raw and full of truth.
I think that God wants you to share your life, your struggles with the world at large so you can inspire people, and change lives that way. And trust me, you make such a difference in my faith life, and I know we will never meet in person.
Your blog has meant so much to me that I share it with people in my life.
So thank you again for sharing. You are making a difference in the world. And you are very much "seen" even if it is in the virtual sense of the word.

Flo Oakes said...

Fear is something I struggle with every day...
I started realizing that I was mostly scared for my safety..and that the safety itself had become an idol.

Then, I read a verse randomly (Psalm 64-I think) where David asked God to "save him from the fear of his enemy".

It was so interesting that he didn't asked to be saved from his enemy, but from FEAR.

It was an amazing revelation for me.

anna joy said...

this totally helped me with the situation I'm going through right now (which you know about). Thank you, God seriously uses you so much you have no idea! p.s. remember God's 'perfect love casts out all fear'... 1 john 4:18

Bekah said...

you are so incredible. when i read your blog i get swept away. i feel the way you do about fear. it was inspiring to me. thanks

Andrea June said...

I know what you mean about fear...I struggle with it all the time in different areas of my life. It's hard getting to the root of things, though, because so often just when I think I've figured it out, I discover that it's something else altogether. Thanks for this post!

Hunny Bee May said...

Emery, thank you for your words. I think it's safe to say we all, or many of us at least, struggle with the same thoughts and definitely fear. When I had my son, I left behind my education and all the dreams I had for my future career. I put them all on hold, with no regrets to be sure. But it had taken me seven years in college to get there, to get to the place I knew I was meant to be in. Changing majors, moving, switching schools. What a disappointing mess I'd made at that point. But I had finally figured out my purpose and was on the path. Finally! And then pregnancy happened. A surprise. Unplanned (though I was married).
I knew I wanted to stay home, but I was afraid to admit how much I missed pursuing my dreams, especially since it had taken me SO LONG to figure out what they were. They have stayed with me though so I take comfort in knowing that they aren't going anywhere. When I hang up my SAHM hat, my school/career hat will be hanging right there where I left it, dusty but ready to be worn again. And in the meantime I've discovered a new purpose, one I couldn't have known unless I took the unexpected in life and ran with it. Being alive, giving my all to the place I'm in now and seeking God with all my heart are my purpose and beyond that, my life is in His hands.
You have a gift, a gift of words that most of us other bloggy gals envy (in love). You provide more inspiration in sharing your humility than you could even imagine. Perhaps your purpose right now is in just embracing where you are, who you are, however confused and afraid you might be at times and living life.
For the record, I think you and your life sound amazing. You're so unique and seem so confident I would never know that you struggle in this way.
Thanks again, for sharing. You really are a blessing my dear.

Around The Funny Farm said...

It is almost 20 years of marriage for me.. (I got married young, it worked!) And, I've always been secretly afraid he will die before me.

Ashley Forrette said...

I think everyone feels like this sometimes. Emery you need to write a book. I love your posts.

that photo of you is sweet.

Maggie said...

i don't understand how you could be scared of being seen when you're seen by so many readers every day. i think you need to define specifically what you mean by "being seen" so you can persue it. you will absolutely succeed once you know what it is you want to accomplish!

anna joy said...

p.s. i love that picture of you, look how long your hair is, yeeeow!

randomdtd said...

I can totally relate to this post--it's such a blessing to come to your blog and know that others struggle with fear just as much as I do. Your fear of not being seen reminds me of a Don Chaffer song (he's one half of Waterdeep) on his album You Were at the Time For Love. The song is 'The Worst is My Being Alone.' I think a lot of women (and men, but mostly women) have fears that are rooted in a fear of never being loved unconditionally, even if they ARE loved unconditionally. Satan knows that since the fall of man, women have looked to man for protection and love (Gen 3:16) rather than their Creator.
Anyway--I'm letting my long winded tendencies get the best of me. All of this is to say that I appreciate your honesty and candor. Even when you feel like you aren't making a difference, just know that there are blog readers out there in whose lives you're making a difference. :)

Talia said...

that picture of you is so beautiful and vulnerable that it almost makes me want to cry!
these are wonderful insights that you've shared-- ones that will not only mean so much to everyone here, but will also help you on this journey you are on. I hope God continues to send you all the insight you need each day.

Momo Fali said...

I should be full of fear right now over certain things in my life, but I have learned, over time to surrender things to God. Instead of being fearful, I am at peace.