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 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott


I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

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Why we should embrace fear

I got an email this morning that scared me.

We've been dealing with some financial difficutlies lately and I've been edgy and fearful, worried about our family's security.  

Even though I know God has provided miraculously for us in the past, and that he promises to always take care of us, I still doubt when I am faced with things I can't control. 

The email triggered all my insecurities.


Then I walked out to my car to drive the boys to school, and saw this...



At first I thought it was a raccoon because one time I left a window open and some kid snacks in the car; the next morning, I found dirty raccoon footprints and scattered popcorn through the whole van.  I glanced around but all the windows were rolled up. Then I noticed that the middle console of the van was folded down. I don't think raccoons know how to do that.

Then I thought maybe Michael was looking for something. But he wouldn't open up every compartment in the van, root through things, and then leave everything thrown around.

Which meant someone broke into my van while it sat in my driveway last night. The van parked right next to my master bedroom window, eye-level.


I ran inside to check and see if my purse was still hung up in the front hallway. I've left my purse inside my car before, with the car unlocked.

But my purse was hanging up. And nothing seemed to be stolen from the van. Not the phone chargers or the CD's or the Target return in the backseat.

Which was nice, but it didn't really help.


Seeing my stuff thrown around the van triggered me right back to the house fire, right back to the feeling of being violated.  

Right back to the injustice of not being guaranteed safety for my stuff, or for my family.  


I took pictures of the mess, put everything back, then thought about how my fingerprints were now mixed with the culprit's fingerprints and I probably messed up the police investigation.

I drove the boys to school. I came home and made coffee, and yogurt with granola and strawberries; granola always makes me feel better.

Then my friend Becky called.


Becky still lives in Virginia, but she is one of my lifelong besties.  She led worship all last weekend at our old church, and I'd been praying for her. She had told me the weekend's sermon focus was on fear, and I'd thought about that- all the things Becky has gone through, the things we've gone through together and seen each other through-and wondered what could be said about fear?  


Many things probably. Fear is talked about so much in the Bible.  

But the one verse that came to my mind was Romans 8:15:

"For you have not received the spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but a spirit of sonship."

So I called her on Saturday before the worship service and left her a message about this verse. I told her that some of the translations I read said, "you have received a spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."

I told her sometimes I like to think about the words that aren't used in Bible verses.

I learned this technique of literary analysis in a college Shakespeare class. Our professor said it's always good to pay attention to what is not said. 

Why didn't the verse say, "For you have not been given a spirit of fear, but of courage?" Or, "You have not been given a spirit of fear, but of confidence?"  

Courage and confidence are feelings. They are fickle.

Sonship, adoption, belonging, are not feelings. They are the reality of our lives.  


I told my friend I think most sermons are pretty useless if they don't lead with love.

What do we get out of a sermon on fear if we don't talk about our sonship? About our belonging? About the endless love of the Father?

What is the point of any teaching if it doesn't talk about this kind of belonging love?  

I don't need another sermon on how I shouldn't be afraid. I just need to know I am beloved. 


So today, after I decided we were going to be broke and living on the street, and after my car got ransacked, my friend Becky called, and repeated back to me what I had left for her on her answering machine.

Then she prayed with me, and when she said, "I love my friend, Trinity. She is so precious to me," I started bawling. 

Even more than her words about fear, than her wisdom and her commiseration and her encouragement, it was her love, it was knowing I am precious to her, that spoke to my heart and gave me peace.


My friend Kathryn says that fear can teach us things.  

She says that we are so afraid of feeling fear that we fight it. Especially us evangelicals. We get in this combative position with our metaphorical swords drawn and we say, "Go away, fear!"  

But Kathryn says, what if fear has something to teach you? What if you embraced fear?

What if you said, "Hello, fear. I feel you. What do you want to teach me?"

Now, I'm not talking about embracing darkness or evil. Those things are different than fear.  


What fear can teach you is what stands in the way of knowing your belonging. 

So I asked fear today, "What stands in the way of me knowing my belonging?"

And fear said, "you don't think you deserve that kind of love."  

I don't have a wrap up for this story because I just got that answer from fear, and now I am going to go sit with that answer some more.


I am also going to call all my neighbors and see if their cars were broken into as well.

I am also going to eat the bag of Ghirardelli Dark and Sea Salt Caramel Squares sitting in my pantry.





Reader Comments (2)

I really like what you said here :

"Why didn't the verse say, "For you have not been given a spirit of fear, but of courage?" Or, "You have not been given a spirit of fear, but of confidence?"

Courage and confidence are feelings. They are fickle.

Sonship, adoption, belonging, are not feelings. They are the reality of our lives."

I have been thinking a lot lately about feelings and how they are not constant and unsteady. But sonship and adoption are forever. His love is constant and never-changing. Just a great reminder.

April 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Thank you Stephanie for your comment!

April 25, 2013 | Registered CommenterTrinity Wilbourn

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