Fear: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

It was early September 2011; I remember it clearly. I flipped the switch at the pantry entrance; and opened the door; the light flickered. I thought, “Great!”, then, “Oh well, there’s enough light that I can see to get what I need.” I proceeded to walk in and turn to my left to retrieve a plastic bag from the fabric bag holder that my grandmother made me many years ago. As I turn, I come face to face with an oak snake on the shelf to my right. The intensity of my heartbeat was so strong I could see my shirt moving.

My next thought was, “I don’t want him to disappear.” I grabbed my phone & a flash light, so I can watch through the crack of the door. I called my husband and got his voicemail. “Where is he? He should be home by now!” I can’t see the snake anymore. Maybe I should just watch the floor to make sure he doesn’t make his way out. “Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.” So now I’m sitting in a chair, with my feet up, watching the floor, outside the pantry; waiting on my husband to get home. By the time he gets home, the snake has worked his way to the very back of the pantry, and wrapped himself so tightly around the wire shelves that my husband had to pry him loose.

This incident made me think about how we sometimes bury or hide our fears and, like that snake, they can grab hold of our heart, and the longer they are there, it seems the harder they are to deal with. Now, I think that the fear of snakes is just a healthy fear, like an internal warning actually, to let you know that you need to back off. You need to respect the fact that they can do some damage to you, and you need to watch out for them. Now, I know, oak snakes are not dangerous. I still don’t want them in my house. I am just using this as an example.

Let’s say, for instance, that you grew up where there was a divorce in the home and the absent parent continuously postponed visits with you. This may instill within you a “fear of abandonment”.

Abandon means “to give up to the control or influence of another person”.

But this fear has been there so long, buried so deep, like that snake, it has wrapped itself so tightly around your heart, you really don’t notice it. It has become so much a part of who you are.
When you felt that were abandoned so many times; your heart was wounded by someone you love. So you have made this subtle agreement to never give up control of yourself to anyone. You will take care of yourself; because you are the only one that you can depend on. What you don’t realize, is this agreement includes God as well.

Over the past two years God has revealed to me, because of past hurts and subtle agreements that I was unaware I had made, that I had developed an “independent spirit”.

Perhaps my particular scenario doesn’t apply to you. Maybe you grew up with a condescending parent, or had a bad breakup in a serious relationship, or were made fun of because of your weight.

My point is, we are all human, and will, more than likely, at various points in life, bestow upon others, some form of pain. And we, ourselves, will almost certainly, be the recipients of some unhappiness, and depending on how deep the wound, how often it occurs, and how it is dealt with, will probably fear being hurt again. If that fear is not dealt with; then an agreement may be made that we may not even be aware of.

We have to “Keep (guard, protect) our hearts with all diligence, for out of them spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

John Eldredge writes in Walking with God

“Agreements are really subtle and nasty things. They pin our hearts down, or shut them down by handing them over to the enemy a sort of key to a certain room in our hearts, and in that place he shuts the door and locks it. In those moments when you were wounded you were really vulnerable for agreements to come in. They come swiftly, imperceptibly, often to some response to some message delivered with the wound. Our enemy is cunning, and after he secures the agreement, he drops the issue for a while, goes underground, lays low for a while so that nobody discovers his work there. By “lays low for a while”, I mean it could be thirty years or more.

To go through this life and feel no sorrow is something I’m sure we all desire, but is not realistic. Pain will surely come, we needn’t fear it; and how we deal with is the key.

Proverbs 29:25 says “The fear of man brings about a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”
2 Timothy 1:7 says “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

I would like to invite you to spend some time with God and ask Him if you have any wounded areas of your heart that you may not have acknowledged. Maybe you wanted to forget about them, they were too painful, but may need to be dealt with now. Then, ask Him if you have made any agreements that you are unaware of. This is very freeing. I have included a short, simple prayer, if you would like to use it.

“Father, show me what sort of agreements I may have made. Show me where they are, when they came in. Walk with me there. I am willing to take a look. Help me to let them go. Heal my fearful heart. I give this to you. I renounce any agreements. I invite you into this pain. I trust you. Heal any wounded areas of my heart. If I have buried the pain so deep that I don’t even recognize it, please help me to acknowledge it now. I give this to you, in Jesus name, amen.”

Be extremely blessed, Sheri Haskins : )

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Convenient Caring

I realize that we all have an area of gifting in our lives; and everyone has the choice of whether they want to allow God to use theirs for His glory or not. But caring for one another is something that we can all do without having any special talent.
Some of the most endearing memories that I have of my grandmother, are of her caring for others. I think for her, it came naturally. I can’t imagine her ever thinking twice about calling or going to see someone, or sending that encouraging card at just the right time.

I’m just wondering; have we become so wrapped up in our own lives, our own circle of friends, or perhaps our own problems; or maybe too callus to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, to care about others anymore?
Have we become a victim to our enemy, who is stealing away our precious time, our health, and our energy? “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” John 10:10 Now, I know it goes on to say that “Jesus came so that we may have life, and may have it more abundantly”; but what I am talking about, is; how do we allow the day to go by when someone is in need, and we probably know; but we never bother to make that phone call, or send that text, or email, or message them on FB; or however it is that you choose to communicate, to let them know that we care?

Am I the only one that has ever been guilty of this?
Well, just in case I’m not; I would like to say to those of you that feel you missed the opportunity to minister to that person; “God is so forgiving and loving, and for that I very thankful! He will give you another chance to minister to someone else; if that is what you want. Just make yourself available to Him, and listen.

BUT

We don’t need to wait until it’s “convenient” and we see that person in Wal-Mart and say, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about you. How have you been?” Then we find out they have been going through a really hard time, and they could have used an encouraging phone call a few weeks ago when God laid them on our heart. Then when you leave, you feel guilty and condemned because you didn’t follow through. Now, that is the enemy. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

Not only has this person been robbed of being blessed, but you, me, whoever was going to be used to minister to that person have been robbed; and now, if we allow ourselves to, will feel guilty. What does that sound like to you? Sounds to me like “our adversary the devil walking about, like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”1 Peter 5:8
Just think about it. God laid that person on your heart for a reason. Do you really think that Satan is just going to let that go? Again, 1 Peter 5:8 “We have to be sober, vigilant” because he, Satan, is aggressive! I’m telling you “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.” 2 Corinthians 10:3

Sure; you and I make our own choices on how we utilize the moments given to us each day; and there will most assuredly be circumstances to warrant our attention for a period of time. I mean, if we are honest, our family activities alone require much of our schedules; and before we know it, the day is gone. You meant to call, but you didn’t.
But, we make a choice on what to do, right?
Now, I am not saying; do not participate in anything. What I am asking is, if we are living any differently than the rest of the world. As Christians, are we listening for God’s voice in all that we do each day, or are we just going about our lives nonchalantly.

Excerpt from Walking with God, John Eldredge:

Jesus said “Remain in me, and I will remain in you” John 15:4. As Christians we don’t get to live a “normal life”, and accepting that fact in all the details of our lives is what allows us to remain is Jesus. I remember a friend admitting something like this about his family vacation, “I don’t want to ask God if we’re supposed to go to Hawaii this year. I just want to go.” And you see how the collision of our desire to live a nice little life and our need to remain in Jesus can bring about a sanctification of our will, where all things truly are subjected to Christ. But there’s something we need to be honest about; part of us doesn’t really want to hear what God has to say. He goes on to say,“Really. Even after years of God’s rescues and surprises and blessing upon blessing, there’s a part of me that gets irritated when someone says, “Let’s ask God.”

I challenge you, let us not be Christians living a “normal life” that care when it is “convenient”, but listen for God’s voice and follow through when He lays that person on our heart.

Matter of fact, let’s go a step further and purposefully ask Him each day to give us someone to encourage.

Now, for you, my friend, who may feel you have messed up way too many times, made too many mistakes, and for some reason you think that He can’t use you. If you truly want God’s forgiveness, 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And, just take a look at the Apostle Paul’s life.

Be extremely blessed,
Sheri Haskins : )