Fear & Joy

Why do I let fear grip me? Why do I let anxiety tear at me, peeling my skin until I am exposed and shaking, freezing in the bitter, piercing cold of [the false]* reality [I choose to let myself believe in]? How can I allow my soul to be afraid when there is truly nothing to be afraid of?

I worry what others believe about me, what they feel about me. In turn, I fear their thoughts, I fear their words. I worry that my life will not be comfortable, rewarding, successful, joyful. In turn, I fear that which I cannot control. In pursuit of joy, I let my soul-shaking fear be the map and compass in a self-ravaging journey.

In order to find the joy that my fear is keeping me from, the fear must be put aside. I believe that happiness + contentment = joy. When I search for the key to contentment and hunt for the solution to happiness, I come to naught, though, because I will never find them. I may very well get close on my own, but I’ll never truly find them both, together.

I have found contentment, I have held it gently in my hand and felt the promise that in any circumstance, its presence will remain, if I do not snuff the light out. That is all well and good, but happiness (which seems to me less valuable than contentment, at this season in life) evades my grasp. It is often hard to keep contentment in one’s hand while reaching for something else, but I suppose that is expected. At times, I have also found happiness—those giddy, mischievous times growing up, when nothing else seemed to exist. The two of them, though, rarely seem to be seen together.

The truth is, the entire time I have been running from fear, looking for happiness and contentment, Jesus has been Here, waiting, holding the key in his hand, being the very key in and of himself.

The Lord (YHWH) will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Fear loses its power and every anxiety shatters in the face of YHWH, because there is nothing in this universe that holds its power under his all-pervading reign.

The Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Again, why do I let fear grip me? The all-powerful, all-knowing, all-pervading God is in my very soul, the innermost part of my being. How can I begin to worry what others may think or say about me? He is my comfort and reward, he is the source of my joy. Fear doesn’t stand a chance.

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself.

I am not a good person. I am not wise. Jesus doesn’t ask me for this, though.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus doesn’t expect me to stand up to my fear; he knows I can’t do that on my own. I’m weak, I doubt him, I doubt his love for me. But he has the power to banish fear. Jesus doesn’t expect me to be a paragon of joy. He knows that, without him, I will revert to a twisted, contented depression, devoid of light. But with him, my heart can be happy, and my spirit contented in him. This is how he casts out fear, bringing the light of his joy.

**Scripture quotations are from the NIV, emphasis added. Shared here are the passages Exodus 14:14, John 14:26-27, Matthew 6:34, Matthew 11:29-30. For more on Matthew 11:28-30, see Anchors: an exploration of self-love, toxic people, and Jesus. [Pronouns reffering to diety are purposefully left uncapatalized, as this may sometimes be a meaningless ritual, and in place of this sign of respect for the Godhead, other linguistic changes are often mindfully used.]

*[Words in brackets were added 3/28/18 at 5:12pm.]

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Change

So, as most seasons start, I get this big-ish feeling of change and newness. This happens even more at new years, but as new seasons start, I get little doses of it. So recently, I’ve been making Summer plans. (Studies show that making a better tomorrow can make your today feel more hopeful. You don’t actually have to do anything.) My Summer plans include:

  • Reading a special list of books that I’ve prepared (I might share it later).
  • Memorizing Scripture (I’ve wavered a lot on what to memorize, going back and forth from many verses to one large passage or even a small book, tell me what you think in the comments.)
  • Running (I guess I’ll just continue the parenthetical statements. I liked running last Summer, but I only got into it as Summer got colder and began to dangerously approach Autumn. This Summer, I want to run two or three times I week and see how far I can build up to.)
  • Not writing at all. (Hey, if I’m going to read, continue my math, run, and memorize more Scripture, I need to cut some things out, so I thought I would just take a break from writing and come back to it. More on coming back to it in a future post.) This means no novel-writing and no blog-posting. But I will be back, if I don’t get mobbed by squirrels.
  • And… other stuff…? (I know I’m forgetting something.)

As I’ve created these goals and idears (I just like spelling it that way, get over it) I’ve begun to nag others about their own self-development. So let me nag you for a bit.

Change yourself! You can do it, through the power of Almighty God inside you! You really think you’re addicted to Facebook? You really think you’ll never get yourself to read more? You really think you can’t improve your physical shape? If so, you’re totally wrong! Change is out there… change is possible… just let me whisper that in your ear while you sleep… wait no that would be creepy.

So go change. Use Summer as an excuse to be awesome, not an excuse to be lazy