Life is scary. It's a fact. From one day to the next, we are surrounded by the unknown. We are made aware of our insufficiency. We face challenges. Not all fears are rational. I have a few that make no sense at all. Statues, octopus, and falling from heights are the top three. I cannot explain them. There are others too - fears that go deeper, that have taken root, that make sense. Fears - we all have them.
Over the summer, I was looking at photos with my mom and she pointed out that for someone who has a fear of statues, I sure do take a lot of pictures of them. In response, I found myself sharing what I think the past few years have taught me more than anything else. I told her that just because something scares me, I'm not going to let it run my life. I take photos of statues and go where they are. When diving, my instructor pointed to my right and just an arm's length from my face was an octopus. This summer I had to climb the most rickety sets of metal stairs with an arm rail the size of a baton to get to the top of a bell tower. It was terrifying but the view was amazing!
While these are fears that have tended to hang around, sometimes it just hits. This summer as I repacked my bag to go to Croatia, I was blindsided by fear. I called Erin in tears just hours before my ride to the airport arrived. Peace did not come until well after I arrived. To this day I don't know where it came from or why I was afraid. Yet, there it was - real and almost crippling. Because of it, I very nearly missed a much needed vacation.
Any time I have done something that scares me, I have been thankful. I have wondered at artistic talent I don't possess. I have been awed at the beauty of creation. Asking myself why I was afraid to live overseas landed me in Egypt two months later. I've learned that stepping out to face the thing I fear most has often been the most rewarding. It's where God has shown up in small joys and in great peace. Whether it be in phobias, life changes, or relationships, every experience we have is a gift from God. This I have found to be true:
Perfect love drives out fear.
John knew it was true. He was speaking of God's love and what that looks like when he loves other through us. I think its true of fear itself too. What are we afraid of doing? What are we afraid of saying? How are we afraid of putting ourselves out there? Why fear? When we are filled with the love of God, facing those things we fear the most becomes small. His perfect love makes us confident and whole. It helps us face what we fear the most and see beyond it to the beauty. It's not easy but it's worth it - every single time.