Face Your Fear (November 6, 2012)

…Opening To…

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer… I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me… Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. (Frank Herbert, Dune)

…Listening In…

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me. Your rod and your staff—they protect me. (Psalm 23:4; context)

…Filling Up…

Perhaps you were afraid of the dark as a small child like we mentioned yesterday. Or perhaps you were afraid of the monsters under your bed. There they were: always lurking, rumbling, slurping, ready to pounce – until you summoned up enough courage to dangle your head over the side of the bed and chase the monsters away. You faced your fear, and you overcame it.

We look back on these fears of our childhoods and chuckle at how intangible worries grew into monstrous fears. The shadow of your own feet under the covers cast a winged creature on the wall, and the creature moved the more you shook. Under your bed, a pair of shoes and a couple of tennis balls made the ears and eyes of a monster peering up through the floorboards. The fears were nothing really. Our imaginations ran away with us, that’s all.

At least, this is how we dismiss those childhood fears now that we are older. We dismiss them as fanciful or as attention-seeking or as the fruits of overactive imaginations. But hidden within this easy dismissal is also a tacit dismissal of our parents’ advice. “Face your fear,” they said, and we did, and everything got better.

But those were our intangible, childhood fears. That advice couldn’t possibly work on our concrete, grown-up fears, the kind of fears that start to nag us around the beginning of high school and only grow larger as we get older. These fears are too immediate, too relentless, too real. Of course, we forget that this is exactly how our childhood fears felt, as well. Perhaps our parents’ advice, the same advice that I learned reading science fiction, really might work in our lives today. Do you know who gave us this advice, as well? That’s right – Jesus did. But we’ll get to that tomorrow.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you were with me as child, lightening my darkness; you are with me now calming my fears. Help me to remember your presence in my childhood as I look for your presence now. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you God, ready to face my fears with the knowledge that you are with me.

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