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Ugh. I slammed my phone down on the night stand and woke my husband out of a dead sleep. “What?!” He sleepily mumbled.
“I’m done. I’m hiding in my room and never posting another word any where EVER again.”
He half chuckled half snorted and then rolled back over.
Feeling cut through and through by her words, and his words, and their words — I turned off the light and curled into the fetal position under my heavy winter blanket. This was overwhelming, oppressive even. In the dark I cried out to God, “Lord, make this make sense to me, why do we hate each other so much, why does everyone have to be so mean.” In the black of night He whispered a quiet reply…
“What are you afraid of?”
Can we just talk, you and me? About what’s happening in the world around us, today, right now? And before you jump in with comments about Democrats or Republicans, immigration or marching women, I want to be clear, CRYSTAL CLEAR: This isn’t the place for that – not here.
However, this is the place to talk about people. Real people. The people you are talking to, or in some cases fighting with. I want to talk about that, about how this is hard and it hurts
and how we are afraid.
You see, fear is an incredible power, maybe even stronger than love. Our physical bodies have a built in mechanism just for fear. One that’s activated by threats and then reacts to those perceptions. See a weapon – run and hide. See a bad guy coming at your kids – fight. See a fire – back off.
Our hearts have a mechanism too, with the same reactions except with people. My people, your people. I am afraid of rejection — I hide. I am afraid of those differences that might separate us — I fight back. I am afraid of not understanding or being understood — I back down and build walls. I am afraid.
This fear has had a subtle onset. At first it started playing in my Facebook feed. One friend commenting with sharp words to another; a jabbing meme shared here, a flippant comment over there. I thought it might end with time… but it hasn’t. Instead it’s deepened, becoming a twisting dagger. People are unfriending and unfollowing; loved ones are distancing and avoiding.
And then it exploded, marching boldly across my heart, shadowing my thoughts and silencing my hope. So, I curled up under my sheets in the dead of night and wondered. I feared.
What is it we really Fear?
I fear loosing them. I fear a chasm breaking wide open between us and us not ever relating again. I fear awkwardness across the Thanksgiving table or at the buffet line in her wedding. I fear the segregation at the lake for the summer picnic. I fear the silence.
Do you feel it too? Do you fear loosing connection?
Connection is crucial to our survival. It is the evidence of love. (and just incase you were wondering, conformity is not involved with connection- at all). But all of this, this biting talk, this snapping back, this name-calling and label-generalizing— it’s far more than demonstrating or taking a stand; this is fear, the complete opposite of love.
So I want to protest. I want to protest fear. I want to protest fear in my mind, fear in my heart, fear in my home. I am protesting fear in my relationships.
I have taken up Fear Fighting.
My friend said it this way in her new book,
“If we fear each other we have only handed the devil a wedge and invited him to place it between us.” *
How to Protest
This fear fighting won’t look like we think it will, because it starts in humility and surrender- not strength. This fear fighting means leaning in and letting God in. But, it is the only way to really hold onto connection. So, I will no longer cower to the silencer of fear but I also will not fall prey to the megaphone fear pressures me to pick up. I will not place a higher priority on ideals and agendas than I place on connecting with the ones in my sphere of influence. It might mean giving up some stale familiar comforts, but change never happens without an exchange.
In protest I:
Exchange commenting for connecting.
Exchange retorting for embracing.
Exchange ignoring for inviting.
Exchange awkward tension for a willingness to listen.
There are ways to hold onto truth and not compromise love. It might get tense, but it will not fail. It might get messy and unprecedented, but it will not collapse. Love never fails, it never gives up. Love delights in truth and holds no offense. Love honors and protects, trusts and perseveres.
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 1 Corinthians 13:1 (MSG)
I exchange fear for love.
“What was spiritually dry becomes spiritually soaked, packed and dense with real flow; it has a strong enough current to ripple through the world. It’s like the Spirit is lighting a match. We just let it strike us and then we step back and see with new sight. Others look, too, because fire draws people.”*
*Kelly Balarie, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to overcome your fears. (Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Publishing, 2017)
Now for the Fun Part:
My Friend Kelly wrote this AMAZING book about becoming a Fear Fighter. I know- I thought it too, but you know what- this book is different. This is not a “talk me out of feeling afraid” book, this is a stop, drop and roll kinda book. One that opens you up to let Jesus replace fear with faith. I dare you to crack it open. (click the pic to get more info, and order your own).
I met Kelly, gosh over 2 years ago at She Speaks. Friends- this girl is real. She is the most encouraging soul I’ve ever met. Kelly listens, like for real – she hears you, she gets you, she prays with you and she leaves you with a smile. Come check her out over on her blog: Purposeful Faith
AND!!! Friends! If you liked this post even a little-
would you vote for it HERE.
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