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!