“…for we walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Cor 5:7
I’ve always liked this verse – Perhaps because I’ve never been able to live it.
As much as I don’t want to admit that it’s true, I know that it is: I live my most of my life in fear.
Even as a child, I hated the grip that fear had on me. When I was in junior high, I decided that I was going to conquer one of my biggest fears – heights. I signed up for a week long summer camp that revolved around heights. Literally. A week of high-ropes courses, rock climbing, zip-lining, and other stomach-churning activities. I thought if I could just show “knuckle-down” and “man-up,” I’d be able to walk away cured of my fear. Fool-proof plan, right?
It didn’t work.
Of course, I did make it through the week. I did all of the activities we were supposed to, and only wet my pants once or twice. But I walked away, still afraid of heights. To this day, being more than 6 feet up makes my head spin and my stomach churn. I couldn’t conquer my fear of heights, and I don’t think I ever will.
Even though I know that didn’t work, I keep thinking that if I just try harder, I won’t be so scared anymore. I keep swallowing my fear, and forging ahead, thinking that doing one more “brave” thing will make it go away. But every morning, I wake up, roll over, and find that familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach again.
I’m so sick of living in fear. It clouds my days, robs my joy, and strips my faith. It flys in the face of all that I say I believe.
I don’t think I’d ever realized how ruled by fear I am until this season of my life, when so much seems to be shifting under my feet. I’ve moved out on my own, started a new job, have begun applying for my next job, and am planning my marriage. The questions are unending:
Where will we live? How will I ever save enough? How will we pay for X (our honeymoon, an apartment, a mattress, my medical bills, etc.)? What will we do? Should we go into full-time missions work? Where will the money come from if we do? Will we make it? Will our marriage last? Am I doing the right thing?
They pile up around me, burying me, until I’m drowning in my own paralyzing fear. I choke, cough, splutter. Whisper tiny cries for help. It takes everything in me not to give in, pack it all up, and head for the hills. And in this metaphor, the hills are a stable, stationary job with a reliable paycheck and a life devoid of relationships that might be painful or fail. It seems easier than looking at my trembling face in the mirror every morning, and wishing there was a braver soul looking back at me.
I’ve been doing everything in my power, especially these past few months, to ignore the fear I feel inside of me. I didn’t know what else to do. This morning, though, my pastor said something that really struck me. While preaching on Luke 1, in which Gabriel tells Mary she will conceive Jesus, he said this; “If you want to truly follow Christ, you have to realize you won’t have your questions answered before you say ‘Yes, Lord.'”
I won’t have my questions answered before I say “Yes, Lord.” I will say yes, and most likely be swimming in a sea of questions. But just because I have questions, doesn’t mean I’m not walking in faith. In fact, saying “Yes” in the face of those questions is the very definition of faith. I won’t be walking in perfect faith all the time, but I don’t have to live in fear either.
Like Mary, I will say “Yes, Lord,” when he calls. I will wake up every morning, and look at my trembling face, feel my heart shaking with fear, and remind myself, “You walk by faith, not by sight.” I will fear my deep, paralyzing fear, and cry out to the God who emboldens my heart and strengthens my soul. And He will not disappoint.
My name is Emily. I live my life tempted to fear. But I have the power of the living God inside of me, and I will choose to do what I’m called to, even when I’m scared. I don’t know what this means for me yet, but I’m sure I’ll learn.
“….for we walk by faith, not by sight.”