I have been reading a terrific book. It’s Ann Voscamp’s latest, “Waymaker”. It’s one that has so many rich insights, I can hardly take them all in. It’s definitely one I will read again, or at least read all my highlights! My prayer has been that God would help me to remember these insights so that I can apply them to my life!
I am led to share one truth that she wrote about. It’s about fear, which is something we have all felt from time to time, I am sure.
Remember when Jesus is out on the boat with His disciples? A huge storm blew in. The disciples were full of fright. They woke Him up and said, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Then Jesus awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea and the wind, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. Then He said to them (and this is the part I want to focus on today), “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Ann Voscamp goes into the topic of fear so profoundly. She says….
“Jesus asks US to examine why we are so afraid because He knows: Fears can turn and burn our hearts so they ignite fight-or-flight responses, making our fears masquerade like anger, like control, like perfectionism, like procrastination, like self-harm, like a thousand other masked faces. God knows no question may matter more than asking ourselves why we are so afraid, which is exactly why God commands us, more than any other command in scripture, “Do not fear.” Because God knows, and I’ve been slow to know and slower to admit: Fear is about losing what we love. As Augustine wrote: “Fear startles at things….which endangers things beloved.”
Wherever one is afraid, one is afraid of losing what one loves.
As Augustine also pointed out, “We fear nothing save to lose what we love.” So, in other words, our deepest loves drive our deepest fear.
Jesus asks, “Why are you so afraid”? I think, examining under all the layers, that maybe at the core: Fear is love of self. Jesus asks us to explore what we are so afraid of so we can see what we love more than Him.”
Whew! This insight from Ann Voscamp is weighty…..but this weightiness has brought me a new level of freedom in Christ. Praise be to God! I am so thankful that God is never finished with our sanctification till it’s time to meet Him!
I named this devotional “What Am I Trying to be God Over?” because what I have gleaned from this truth from Ann V., in a deeper way, is that whatever I am trying to be God over, brings me fear and reveals a love of self. My expectations of anything or anyone, my timing of anything and everything, my concerns about the future, my disappointments (which means I had expectations), my over-thinking things, my thoughts not aligning up with God’s…….my, my, my. Ugh.
What have I been trying to be God over (which means I haven’t been trusting the sovereign God of the universe!) and it’s given me fear and reveals a love of self? I will share one example.
If you watch any news at all, you are aware of the thousands of flights being canceled lately. We have a very important trip coming up the end of July to CA. to celebrate my Dad’s life. (he passed 4/17) I have such peace over it all now because I have given up the fear that our flights may be canceled. God is in complete control and if He wants us all there, He will ‘part the Red Sea’ to get us there. I trust in the character of God and He is good and all-loving. And if He doesn’t allow us to get there, I have to trust there is an good, unknown reason and His love is keeping us home. Debbie is off the ‘throne’ and not trying to be God over this event!
This is just one example. Ann V. recommends we all ask God daily; what am I afraid of and see if God reveals anything so that we can be free and not live in fear and get ourselves off our minds and stop trying to be in control.
A dear, dear friend of mine passed into glory a few weeks ago. I will always remember what she would demonstrate with her hands. We need to live palms up and surrendered, not palms down, clenched in control mode. Love that and am trying to live that out.
May the grace of God fall afresh upon you with a new freedom as you stop trying to be God over something/someone and be delivered from fear!