Fear and Trembling (sans Kierkegaard)

Today’s post is a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers, Rachel of The Lazy Christian . She writes with great wit, heart, honesty, and truth. She might be my blogging soul-mate. I am excited to introduce her to you. If you don’t already know her, you should! (Did you catch her cleverness in the title?)

Oh, no. I’m about to end a sentence with a preposition, which I hate to do, but it has to be done:

What are you afraid of?

Me, I seem to be afraid of a lot of things. Misplaced prepositions, for one. Kidding! I think the biggest problem with my fears is that I can’t tell if they are irrational or not. I have a fear of wrongful imprisonment, which is a little irrational. I just think I watched The Hurricane one too many times in college. I have a fear of someone breaking into my house. That’s probably not irrational. It’s something that happens fairly frequently, and it may have been borne out of my desire to protect my family. In that vein, I also fear things happening to my husband and son which is—rational?

See, I have a hard time making the distinction. Part of me thinks that the quantity of worrying associated with a particular fear directly relates to how rational it is. The more I worry, the less rational the fear becomes. Does the likelihood of a fear materializing increase its rationality?

These are the things I ponder…

I wonder how much of my brain power is sucked away by worrying and fear. Sometimes I lie awake thinking of all the horrible things that could happen at just that moment, and I desperately try to think of Buffy-esque moves to fend off burglars or would-be assassins. Really.

The only thing that can get me out of the worrying mode is Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Which follows my other favorite verse(s), Philippians 4:6-7:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Worrying and fear are not noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, or praiseworthy. Clearly, I should not be worrying or fearing. And the other verse tells me specifically not to be anxious about anything. Not. A. Single. Thing.

So why do I have so many fears? Why do I worry?

Oh, this human brain! I really don’t understand it. I think, “Surely, God will protect me from nasty things.” But sometimes stuff happens. Christians get mugged or beaten or murdered or in car accidents just as much as other folks do. God lets those things happen sometimes. I can’t understand it. I guess I don’t really want to. I’ll leave that to him.

What I do know is that a lot of God Stuff happens on the other side of that awful stuff. God can use those circumstances for good, even if they’re horrible. He has an amazing talent for changing people for the better or making miracles happen just on the other shore of a sea of troubles. I know he does that. But how do I feel better on this shore? How do I put the fear aside now and not have to wait for hindsight to kick in?

Trust. Lots and lots of trust. I have to admit my humanness one more time and ‘fess up that this little brain has control issues. I don’t like surprises. I want to know what’s around every bend. But the fact is, I’m not going to know. I have to trust that God knows and that he’s taking care of things.

My job is to live my little human life the best I can and let God be God. Really, he’s the only thing we’re supposed to fear. And it’s a good fear. A healthy respect sort of fear. A think-about-more-than-this-life kind of fear.

A rational fear.

What do you fear? The rational as well as the irrational? How has God dealt with your fears?

Rachel Snyder lives in Indianapolis with her husband and son. After some time as a freelance journalist and an English teacher, she is now a stay-at-home mom. During her toddler’s naps, Rachel has maintained her writing through this blog, The Lazy Christian, and the book of the same name. The Lazy Christian book has been in the works for a couple of years, and hopefully this will be the year it gets to a publisher. If she can stop dragging her heels. You know, the whole lazy thing.

Contact Rachel at [email protected] with questions, comments, or prayer requests, as she has resolved to become a prayer warrior this year.

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9 thoughts on “Fear and Trembling (sans Kierkegaard)”

  1. My stock “joke” answer is “I’m afraid of snakes, motorcycles and redheads…that’s it”.

    The truth is, I’m afraid of being a disappointment to my wife, children, friends, parents, employer, and myself. I want to be the best I can for the people who need me to be.

    Being a Christian and having social anxiety disorder is, at times, is being a freak. The Bible says place Faith in Jesus, believe completely, and there is no need for anxiousness. Yeah, God, try, living in my messed up brain. I live with the same irratinality every day but I recognize, medicate it, and think of how I can be better for HIm, them, and myself. That’s all I have.

    Good post.

    1. You know, I’ve felt that way about depression, too. There’s a feeling of, “Aren’t I supposed to have the joy of the Lord or something? I must be a lousy Christian if I can’t get out of this depression.” Same thing with my anxiety. But I think some of these things are just in our chemical makeup, and they become our “thorn in the flesh.” Something we have to be conscious of and turn over to God every time it comes up. It’s stupid. But God isn’t. So I just keep reminding myself of that…

  2. I have some of the same fears you have. For years I would panic if my husband was late from work…thinking he’d been in an accident, or worse. Same with my kids…especially when our oldest started driving. But you’re so right. Its about trusting God no matter what. Not that we accept or want the bad to come, but even if it does, He never changes. Nor do His purposes and plans for us while we are in this temporary place. Great post, Rachel.

    1. I should tell you about the time the voice mail my husband left me was cut off in the middle and I thought for sure he’d been attacked mid-sentence by a violent home intruder. Within two minutes I’d determined which closet I’d check first to find his body and what I’d do if the attacker was still in the house. Makes me feel insane sometimes. lol

  3. I love it! I was thinking at the end when you said “Really, he’s the only thing we’re supposed to fear.” The scripture that says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” I wonder if my lack of wisdom on fearing rational and irrational can be directly connected to a deficiency in a healthy fear of God? Hmmmm… something I’ll be chewing on today! Thanks for the post!

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