Our family launched a new practice this year: we now have enough Nerf guns to have a battle. Turning nearly all the lights out and taking teams, we establish ourselves on opposite ends of the house and slowly make our way toward one another. Three shots and you are out of the game. The kids love it!
Wednesday night, we battled it out, and surprisingly, I’d managed to stay casualty free. I wouldn’t remain that way for long though. As I crept down the dark hallway, my daughter jumped out and stuck the gun in my face, shooting a plastic-tipped bullet right into my eyeball. I couldn’t see the gun nor how close it was to my face, but I felt the explosion of white light. Stunned,–yes, I screamed–I dropped my gun and grabbed my eye, thinking I might have gone blind.
As a little girl, I had run across my grandma while she had some dry-cleaning clothes draped over her arm. My eye was just at the right level to snag the end of the metal hanger. I’m guessing I was under five years old, but I have vivid memories of my parents trying to put the eye-drops in my eyes to prevent infection. I’m sure that wasn’t an easy experience for them either.
The trauma of that event lingered with me, and I’ve always been overly cautious about my eyes. Having the “legally blind” stamp from a doctor doesn’t help my paranoia either.
As I deal with the aftermath impact of shadows across my eye and soreness from the blasted Nerf bullet, God started to reveal something deeper going on in my heart. I struggled with the fear of blindness, and not just blindness for its sake (although living in darkness would be a challenging life to accept). I cringed at the idea of blindness because of what it would mean to me and my family. I’d no longer be able to teach online classes, homeschool, drive to church, co-op, or the grocery store. I wouldn’t be able to read to my kids or see their boo-boos or chop vegetables for a meal. How would I write? How would I paint? How would I hike or explore the outdoors? My contributions to our home would greatly diminish and I’d become the dependent instead of the helpmate.
I had thought I’d wrestled with many of these insecurities over the years, but realized Thursday morning that I still rest enough of my identity on how much I can do and whether I am donating financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually to my family. Do I really believe I would carry the same worth if… I couldn’t teach my children, bring in a paycheck, prepare meals, attend to the house, run errands, and keep up with laundry? My head said “sure”, but my heart was reluctant to comply.
Even deeper than my insecurity crept the lie that God would not be enough. That if I didn’t, He wouldn’t. If I could no longer help carry the load around here, He wouldn’t pick up the slack. Or I would be too uncomfortable depending on others to do it–feeling worthless myself. What did I truly believe about His character and where did my belief system need amending? Many people don’t see me as a fearful person because my worry often comes out as anger or control/bossiness. At the root of my desire for control is a belief that God isn’t dependable and that I might just be on my own.
“When I glimpse the pain and suffering that our loving God doesn’t spare us from, I feel desperately afraid.
I am afraid He isn’t good enough. I am afraid He isn’t powerful enough. I am afraid He doesn’t love us enough.
What if the very thing that God is allowing for our good, our faith, our hope, our perseverance, we keep pushing away and avoiding? […] If we choose avoidance, no only will we miss the hard parts, but we will miss the best parts, too.” ~Jennie Allen, Proven
If He calls me into my deepest fears, I want to trust that His light and power will shine even brighter than I’ve seen it. Breaking the chains of fear, I don’t want to live in bondage, nor pass that on to my children.
Contrary to popular belief, we won’t find our ability to overcome hidden within ourselves. We are weak and insufficient and some day we will come to that realization–the easy way or the hard way. Through Christ, we have been set free to live abundantly in Him. Through the Body, we are surrounded by the interdependent community we need to support, challenge, and help one another. Self-reliance is a lie. And fear is slavery.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” ~Galatians 5:1
“Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” ~Isaiah 52:2
Am I going to stand my ground or let the enemy recapture what God has claimed “free” in me?
Go deeper: What are some of your greatest disappointments? Doubts? Fears and Insecurities?
What do you believe Jesus would say to your greatest fear? How does Jesus want to meet the needs of your life?
[taken from Jennie Allen’s Proven study, 120]