Monday, August 9, 2010

What Fear Does & How Truth Overcomes

We ended a fun week at church of doing free stuff for our community with a big BBQ on Friday. Our whole family participated in different ways and went to the grand finale. There was cotton candy, sno-cones & popcorn, family portraits & a skateboarding competition,
(this is the 'diva' style face paint she picked - 
suits her personality perfectly!)
and one of these:

Doesn't it all sound like a dream come true for families? Free dinner, lots of fun stuff for the kids, and no mess at home to clean up? I thought so, too. 

Then fear came to the party. 

We arrived and Micah did what 15 year-olds do, dropped us and found some friends to hang out with. Grace and I perused the BBQ offerings, settling on face painting before the line got too long. Then cotton candy, then the Olympic. Obstacle. Course. (You should feel the impending doom at those words.) Grace wanted to go through the obstacle course with me and was having nothing to do with anyone else. We waited in line, got to the front, Ready...Set...Go! And I run and jump through that first hole, almost lose my pants, am full of grass... (this could be a hilarious post if I continued through the course...) and Grace is outside crying. I try to encourage her, offer to lift her into the hole. Now she's sobbing, dripping face paint with tears and drool. So I climb out and we let the next team go.

Off to the side, Grace cried and told me how she wants to do it SO BAD but is just too scared. I reassured her, I would do it with her, help her, protect her, and.... we try again. Mmmmmm...... nope! Now let's try with Lynsi (favorite friend/babysitter)..... nope! We're done. We'll try next time we see one of these and Grace will be older.

At this point she's a yelling, blame-throwing, sobbing mess. She wants to do the obstacle course so much that she is beside herself with frustration. She can see what she wants, it's available to her, but she just can't make herself take the step to get there. We go home, wash her face because she needs to get every last vestige of the ruin of a night off her body and out of her mind. It takes a long time for her to sleep.

I know exactly how she feels. Fear takes you captive if you let it. I have the niggling feeling that God is speaking to me in this, but it's pretty painful in the way a parent hates to see their child suffer, and I am ignoring it. But I know I do this on the inside, I scream and wail and want to do the thing that terrifies, but just can't make the leap.

Church on Sunday brings a message that was aimed right at me. I both hate that and love that. The message was based on Romans 12, offering ourselves as living sacrifices, and the lyrics from 'Moment of Surrender' by U2 (we're talking about when faith and culture meet). And these lyrics completed the idea that God was trying to get me to think about:
I tied myself with wire
to let the horses run free
playing with the fire
until the fire played with me
Oh how I have lost myself, how I have allowed the things I thought I was using to protect myself to rule me, keep me afraid, keep me tied down, held back. I live in fear of disappointing the people I love, the people around me, and the One who made me. I am so afraid, all the time. Here's the part that knocks the breath right out of me:
It's not if I believe in love
(it's) if love believes in me
Oh, believe in me!
It's the longing of my heart and the resolution of my fear. Perfect Love casts out fear. If Love believes in me.

But that's what fear does. It lies, it makes you afraid of Truth, it rules you while using the guise of safety.

That's what God is showing me through the terrified tantrum of a 5 year old and a song. It's where my culture and my faith meet.

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