My friend Nicole wrote recently in an email,
“let’s chat soon! which party of nyc are you moving to?”
I don’t think it was intentional, the party part, but I loved it because I’ll be moving to the party in Brooklyn very soon. I spoke to my future roommate again on the phone a couple nights ago and God could not have orchestrated a more beautiful combination (we’re both planning to use hammocks as beds and our phone convo ended in prayer). But I’ll tell you something that might surprise you – fear is moving with me.
Yes, bat-crazy-mad-fear is a real thing and when it comes, I either bury or break it because those are the only two options. I can bury it in the proverbial luggage I carry around and hope it stays hidden or I can break it with the sword of Truth. Bury or break the bat-crazy-mad-fear, those are my options.
And then there are times like now when it all gets so woven in I don’t know where to swing the sword. The joy and the bat-crazy-mad-fear and the contentment happen all at once. I know because it happened to me this week – like my affections were marbles and some sticky-fingered kid threw them out on the cement where they all ended scattered in asymmetrical, haphazard fashion.
I guess this is some strange sort of confession (more personal than my previous posts on fear here and here). It’s good to be honest about this sort of thing – not having “it together” and not being able to muster the bravery all my fear requires.
It’s good to be honest because bat-crazy-mad-fear is not something you can ignore or bury. Not for me, anyway.
It’s all the bold questions about saying goodbye to my cases and buying a plane ticket to the Big Apple and feeling so small under the starry Midwestern night sky. It’s the realization that I may never be as adult as the world requires and I may never be the kind of success that makes sense. It’s the rumbling in my belly that I’m not sure where I’m going, even though I’m moving in a very specific direction. It’s big questions about significance and little questions about insecurities. It’s the reason I spent hours agonizing over my packing list before visiting Patrick in NYC. It’s sometimes the conversation when I stand on a scale and the voice in my head that lectures me on finances.
My bat-crazy-mad-fear is a real thing and I’m sure it’ll get packed in my bags when I move to the party in Brooklyn. I won’t pretend that I can master it or banish it from my days. That just sets me up for unnecessary, epic battles in the future. Bat-crazy-mad-fear is a thing that will keep showing up in my life, but I’m learning.
I’m learning that the fight is not so much about coming out swinging – not so much about the grip I’ve got on the sword. Instead of trying to strategize fear out of my life with the knowledge I have of the Word, I am learning to just love the Word more.
Just love the Word more.
“Fear not, for I am with you. . . . I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
When I read this, I don’t want to fight fear. I just love that God promises to strengthen, help, and uphold me with His righteous hand. He’ll do the fighting, I’ll do the believing. Because fear is coming to the party in Brooklyn and I need to believe God’s presence is always going to be a bigger deal.
Perfect love (not perfect people) will cast out fear.
So, I will stand in my imperfection and I will admit that fear is always lurking somewhere. I will get honest and broken about the bad-crazy-mad-fear that threatens my hope and then I’ll surrender to the love that can cast it out. Oh, and then I’ll pray that God will help my unbelief when I start thinking my sword-wielding is more important than the sword.