“Don’t be afraid.” Easier said than done, am I right?
You know, there are a lot of commands in the Bible that I can easily get on board with – a lot of straightforward, easy to understand commands. No, they aren’t all easy to follow of course, but a lot of them seem pretty black and white, right and wrong, do this and don’t do that. And I can see value in them all, even though I fall short of each one, often.
But when the Bible commands Christians not to be afraid, it throws me off because it isn’t just a suggestion or a good idea. It’s not just a friendly phrase to throw around in the midst of trials or to encourage loved ones with. It’s a command.
“Mom, be prepared.”
This is what I used to say to my Mom as a child every night before bed. Not your typical, “Goodnight-I-love-you,” am I right? I don’t know many women who long for their goodnight cuddles and their “I love you” to be returned with, “Mom, be prepared.”
But, for most of my preteen and early teenage years, I ended each day with a rigid routine – one where I placed my phone on the exact same spot on our coffee table, got ready for bed, washed my hands three times, restarted the bedtime music I slept to about 15 times, carefully took 11 sips of water – three regular, three big, three small, one gargling, one tiny – and then, always the same each night, “Mom, be prepared,” followed by the assurance, “Honey, I’m prepared.”
See, during those years I struggled with chronic anxiety and severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I couldn’t handle anything out of the ordinary and I worried constantly. I worried about my mom traveling on business trips. I worried about being the last one up at night. I worried about being away from home. I worried about school. I worried about losing my family or friends. I worried about germs. I worried about getting sick. I worried about what I thought. I worried about what I said. I worried about what I did. And I worried about change.
not sure why I thought it was a good idea, spending a freezing Saturday night
in October at a Haunted House when I’m the girl who’s always been afraid of
pretty much everything. I’m totally a listen to Christmas music in September, beg
for a Caramel Brulée Latte from Starbucks in October, and a let’s skip right
past Thanksgiving and get on to Christmas type of girl.
from candy, which I can get any time of the year (thank-you-very-much), I find
no pleasure in Halloween traditions. For me, there is no joy in being scared, I
despise horror films, I like avoiding danger, and I don’t need any inspiration
when it comes to fear. Disney’s Halloweentown is as scary as I like
things to get, and even that can be pushing it.
So, it makes absolutely no sense why last
Halloween, I raised the idea to my family and fiancé that we should go to a
haunted trail. I’m not sure if I thought I would rise to the occasion or if I
just figured that being a grownup meant I would find some type of joy in the
experience. For the record, neither ended up being true.
Ugh. Did you have to put it that way? “The Christian who doesn’t trust God…” That sounds so…harsh.
Yep. I did have to put it that way.
“Well, I wouldn’t say it’s anything that serious. Everyone doubts sometimes!”
“I’ve always been a pretty anxious person, it doesn’t mean I have deep trust issues.”
“But, I believe in God, so how can you say I don’t trust him?”