Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Fear or Faith


Fear or faith?

Today, I found out some news about a coworker of mine.  A person I've known quite a while.

She's leaving.  She's leaving our school and "us."  Heading to her son's school to wind down her teaching career being closer to him as he moves closer to his graduation years.

She's young.  She's vibrantly healthy.  She has a great life.  She will be 52 when she retires.

This move made several of us look at our own lives, and while we were extremely happy for her, we all felt less than.

Not healthy enough.  Didn't go to college or college early enough.  Didn't pick the right degree in college.  Aren't making six figures.  Aren't close to retirement.  We felt less than.

I looked at my own life.  Didn't move off to college.  Helped a Parent.  Stayed at home.  Got a two-year degree and had to quit college before a four-year degree could be achieved due to that Parent's lifestyle. Got married.  Got divorced.  Making five figures (a mediocre five figures).  Struggling to pay bills.  Trying to be good at other things.  But always feeling a little less than.

A coworker today said to me, "I can go down a black rabbit hole looking and thinking about this, so I'm choosing to say I made my choices in the past and I wouldn't go back and change them."

A lot of emotions at work today.

A few minutes ago, I sort of forced myself to open up my devotions and read.  I can feel the crying looming in the back of my eyes and my throat.  "I'll be working forever."  "I'm going to lose all my savings." "I'm going to always be less than."

So many decisions life threw me, and here I am today.  Less than.

So to have Ben Stuart speak to me tonight was a God thing I think.  This devotional was written for students, but I love Ben so I am going through his thoughts and writings for a season.  A few minutes ago, I read about Faith and Fear.  I think this about sums up my day and life in general:

One of the most common commands in all of Scripture is “do not fear.” Left to its own, this isn’t an incredibly helpful statement. However, where this statement is found, so is the One who says it. How can we live a life without fear? By finishing the verse. “For you are with me.” Underneath this mask of fear is self-dependence. It’s the opposite of faith in Jesus. Fear sees a problem and looks to self for the solution. Faith sees a problem and runs to the Lord as the strong tower of defense. Fear sees a problem and looks inward. Faith sees a problem and looks upward

Did you catch that?

"Underneath this mask of FEAR is SELF-DEPENDENCE."  I had to read that twice.  Under my mask of FEAR is SELF-dependence.  Wow.

"Fear sees a problem and looks to self for the solution."  Yep.  That is preaching some truth right there.

I have so many fears, and I am always trying to learn and better myself to fix my problems.  But what I forget is this:

"Faith sees a problem and RUNS TO THE LORD as the strong tower of defense.  Fear...looks inward.  Faith...looks upward."

I need to remember these words, "There is a Shepherd who walks with you. Don’t be afraid."

I really, really, really need to commit these words to memory.

To be honest, I feel like an island most of the time.  I am around friends and they don't seem to have the interest or depth of interest I have in faith and living a certain way or learning more or honoring certain things.  I am around family members who check off Sundays at church on their checklist and never open a Bible during the week or think about living the way the Bible tells us to or applying Scripture to their lives.

I just feel alone and like an island most of the time.

So, Ben's words tonight are a little bit of encouragement to me.  Just remember the Shepherd who is walking with me and try not to be afraid.

I'm not really sure how to wrap up this journal entry.  I'm a bag of mixed emotions tonight.  Alone.  Less than.  But yet - I really do understand that Jesus is walking with me.  I am off to think and pray some more before bed, and maybe somewhere within that time frame, Jesus will take the fears and feelings of inadequacies off my shoulders.

If you are also struggling with getting older and feeling less than, remember these words from Ephesians 3:19, "and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

We are going to make it.  We just need to keep the faith and remember who is walking with us...

May your evening be full of peace and rest...

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