I am told that this whole “word of the year” thing was fashionable a few years ago and is on it’s way out. I inwardly rebel to what is fashionable, but somehow last year, a word came to me for 2018, and I took it. Last year’s word was PERSPECTIVE, which taught me a lot, and I probably should write about it, but won’t right now.
This time, as 2018 faded, I realized that maybe it was time for a new word. I know that as a recovering perfectionist, I often face the fear of failure. I have begun to realize how often I simply don’t because there is something to fear. I have prided myself in not being easily intimidated, but I am realizing that is not true at all.
So, for 2019, my word is FEAR. First, because I want to become better at identifying fear when it shows up. Each time I feel myself hesitating or holding back, I want to ask myself, “What am I afraid of?” There may be some legitimate reasons to hold back, but too often they are linked to pride.
Which brings me to my second reason why I am choosing FEAR. I want to learn to love God more and grow in a biblical fear of God. What does that really look like anyway?
Friday, I was sitting in on a chapel at a school I’m interning at and one of the seniors stood up to speak. (God has a sense of humour. I was sitting there with my binder copying the school logo from the gym wall and making observations about school culture when this senior named Travis introduced his topic. He said that first he was going to talk about fear and then about the fear of God. Hahaha, God, very funny.)
When he spoke about the fear of God, he described it as “standing in awe of Him” and as “characterized by obedience.” He went on to say that if our focus is fearing God, that will take care of our other fears.
Also, during his chapel he shared a story of a water buffalo getting some advice from his father.
Son: Is there anything that I should be afraid of?
Father: Only lions.
Son: What should I do when I meet a lion? Should I run away as fast as I can?
Father: No, that’s the worst thing you can do. If you turn and run from the lion it will chase you, catch you, and tear you in pieces.
Son: What should I do then?
Father: When you first see a lion, turn to face it and stare at it like you are not afraid.
Son: Then what?
Father: If the lion doesn’t leave, stamp your hoof and shake your horns at it. If is still doesn’t leave, charge at it.
Son: But, Dad, the lion will kill me. Why should I charge at it?
Father: Look around you, son. You are surrounded by a whole herd of water buffalo and each one has broad shoulders, sharp hooves, and horns. If you charge the lion, we will be right behind you, supporting you, and helping you fight it. But if you turn and run, there is nothing we can do to help you.Source unknown
When we refuse to face what we fear, we refuse all the help of God and the people He gives us to conquer that fear.
Heavenly Father, when I am afraid let me trust in You.