Dowd Simpson

08 Sep, 2015

I have a lot of fears. I have a lot of anxieties. I never thought I was a worrier. I don’t think I would have classified myself this way. But I certainly have become one. It became most apparent to me after I got pregnant. The entire pregnancy I worried about that baby growing inside me, up until the day I delivered. Then after that, the worries went from inside my body to the actual living, breathing, precious gift in my arms. At the heart of all of my fears was the aching question, “Would I be able to keep this child alive?” Now as a result, if I am being blatantly honest, I find myself parenting from a place of fear. 

I have also found that this fear does not have to have its home solely in the lives of my children. There are certainly other fears in my life. I know I can become gripped with fear and anxiety over relationships, friendships, finances and the future. I can easily find myself slipping through the fingers of Trust, into the depths of fear. My mind can be my best friend or my worst enemy. It reminds me of the poem by Robert Frost. There I stand, in his yellow wood, with two paths before me: the one that bent in the undergrowth and the one that wanted wear. For me, the one that bent toward fear and the one that wanted faith. On the other side of that undergrowth, I know it all too well. It is a cold, dark place; a deep well of jagged emotions, drudgery, and life by asphyxiation. The path wanting wear I long for, yet feels just out of reach. Some days close, like within the grasp of my finger tips. Other days, like a pin point of light miles and miles away in the distance.

Each morning both equally lay. Will I take the path of fear or step down the path of faith? I want the path of faith. I want to be completely dependent upon Jesus and what He has done for me. I want the belief in his grace and his sufficiency to totally metamorphose my mind, heart, soul and actions. I want to be in that transformative place of freedom that produces actions of trust.

So what is the barrier? If I believe that I am so deeply loved and cared for that God sent Jesus to rescue me in order that I could be in a relationship with Him, forgiven for my sins, and the guilt and the shame that come along with them, then shouldn’t that affect all of my actions? I suppose the hiccup I have is in the change part of this equation, the thing that happens to produce the other thing on the other side of the equals sign. Where is the change in my life? Why do I keep returning to fear rather than trust?

Here’s what I think, to answer my own question. The reason the change isn’t happening is either that I am trying with all of my might for transformation, disguised only as behavior modification. Or that I sitting in the stink of my sin, wallowing in the awareness, and stuck in the sidelining shame.

It’s one thing for me to recognize my sin tendency of fear and anxiety. It’s another thing all together to walk with the Lord as He works on that sin in my heart. The difference being, a recognition of the struggle, versus a running to the Healer. So, I turn to the Word and by His grace alone, my eyes are opened to a deeper understanding of anxiety. The sin of anxiety is rooted in something deeper. Fear and anxiety are just the branches that the root sin produces. The more I read, the deeper I dig, and there underneath the cold metal of excavation lies the tiniest section of the wiry skin of the root. And it penetrates deeper than I could have ever imagine, spiraling, tightening and wrapping its way into the depths of my past, penetrating to the genesis of The Fall. The root sin is idolatry. I have another god other than the One True God. Me. I am that other god. I believe that God is holding out on me and that He doesn’t have what’s best for me. I believe that I can do my life better than whatever God has planned for me. I believe that God either does not see me, has forgotten me or does not love me. All of these reasons would confirm the fact that my actions can come from a place of fear. The root sin of fear is idolatry. The branches it produces are fear and anxiety. There are a gazillion other branches I have come to identify as well from this root sin of idolatry: control, comfort, anger, people pleasing, lust, laziness, the list goes on and on and on, but the sole connecting factor for them all is that I want to be god of my own life.

What an ah ha moment! By the grace of the Lord, my eyes have been opened to the awareness of my sin of fear. By the grace of the Lord, my eyes have been opened to the truth in His Word. By the grace of the Lord, I see that all of my immediate, surface sins have the root sin of idolatry. By the grace of the Lord, I am able to release this to Jesus, knowing the promises that He offers in the Bible (Deuteronomy 31:6, Matthew 28:20, Romans 8:28). By the grace of the Lord, I am able to trust that He is transforming me from the inside out. By the grace of the Lord, I can ask for the peace and patience of the Holy Spirit to bloom in my life as His grace and mercies are renewed every morning. By the grace of the Lord, I can say two paths diverged in a yellow wood, and only because of the redeeming work of Christ in my heart, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.   

Gracious Heavenly Father, pull this massive oak of anxiety from the ground, rip out the roots so deeply imbedded in my heart and in the huge gaping hole that is left, pour in your healing waters of grace. God, continue to push me to feed on your Word that You promise will produce in me the Fruit of the Spirit, offering me the peace and freedom that surpasses all understanding and that is so longed for and needed in my life.

* (I understand that there are hormonal imbalances and chemical changes in one's body that cause a level anxiety that by God's grace medicine can assist in the healing process. I am not undermining the severity of this type of anxiety with what I have written above and am grateful for the advances in modern medicine.)