Monday, March 16, 2015

Fear or Freedom? The Choice is Yours

It’s been awhile since I’ve written – really written.  Why?  Well, the simple answer is I can’t find the time?  Not hard to understand with a husband, four kids and a packed schedule.  But, in truth, the slightly more complicated answer to my writing dilemma is FEAR – fear of exposing my heart and soul to whoever is out there reading, the fear of being consumed by my need to craft the perfect thought, and the fear of writing something without purpose and meaning.

For much of my life I have been kind of a perfectionist.  Not the OCD, my house has to be spic-n-span type, but the, “Oh my goodness, I have to do and say and write the “right” thing,” kind of individual.  The thought continues if somehow I don’t succeed at this task I will have diminished my value as a writer, a leader, and ultimately a person.  So, if writing is such a burden then why do it at all?  If only it were that simple.   The problem is, when you seek perfection and bow down to it, as any idol, it affects not just one area of life but every area of life.  

Fear as a method of self-preservation really stinks!  It does just the opposite.  It isolates, shrivels and embitters one’s spirit.  It is a cruel and greedy slave master.  There is no need to bother with a prison guard when we lock ourselves up so easily on our own.

Fear is not content to stay and bind us in one area.  It wants complete control. When we give ourselves to that fear, it holds us captive.  It causes us to relive past failures and keeps us from allowing others to see our weaknesses.  Ironically, it’s when others glimpse those imperfections in us that they feel less awkward and more able to relate.  Sometimes our bad days, weeks and months are the doorway to sharing the Good News of Jesus love and freedom!

Freedom is the answer.  Freedom is the opposite of fear.  Fear keeps me focused inward and causes me to look at life with a microscope.  When I am so focused on the minutia of life I miss the 30,000-foot view that God wants to show me.  When I am consumed with what is in my headspace I resist joining God on the Mountain and gazing on the grandeur of His creation.  I essentially take the paintbrush from His hand and try to add something to His masterpiece.

Rising above our own fear is a risk.  Risk-taking is difficult for those of us that like to set agendas and plan life out to the second, but risk is also tough for “free-spirited” individuals who have flown high and been shut down.  So, that includes just about everyone.  

Failure and rejection are scary things to be avoided at all costs.  When we insulate ourselves and hold people at arms length we feel like we have control, but do we really control anything?  It may seem as if we hold the reins for a time, but at what cost?  Is it harder on one’s spirit to risk pain and failure or to deny our dreams and passions, the God-given purpose that has been placed inside each one of us?

Fear says, “Stop; you’ve gone too far.  You’ve been here before.  The risk of pain and failure is too great, and it’s just not worth it.”  Fear ties our hands and weighs on our hearts.  It prevents us from taking risks that might hold true purpose and meaning.  Fear brings death to dreams and the spirit.

Freedom says, “What new adventure lies behind the door?  The options are limitless.  After all, 'there is nothing to Fear, but Fear itself.'  Let’s open the door!”  Freedom is rooted in trust and security.  Since freedom grants us peace of mind, it banishes fear.  Freedom opens us up to both failure and success, a broken heart and true love, hope and longing, doubt and faith.  Ultimately, freedom found in Christ leads to life with purpose here on earth and prepares us for an eternity with God.  

During the American Revolution Patrick Henry, one of our forefathers, brilliantly posed,  "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, sat to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?  Forbid it, Almighty God!"  I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"  Freedom is precious.  Interestingly, it is through death to our own pride and ambition that we find liberty.  In fact, it is in complete surrender that we enjoy victory.  "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin."  Romans 6:6-7 

I surrender my all to Jesus, and I choose Freedom!

It is for Freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2