Estimated reading time: 5 minutes:)
God taught me a lot about wisdom this week.
I think it all culminated on Thursday. I accidentally left the light on in my car overnight, so when I tried to power up Susan (my 2007 Honda Civic), she wouldn’t start. All my family had left for the day and I needed to get to work, so I decided to just walk.
My work is only a short drive away, but it turned out to be an hour of walking just to get there.
At first I was frustrated with having to waste time just to get to work. (I am never taking a car for granted again).
But I think God knew we needed to have a conversation. Because my long walk turned into a long talk with Jesus. Which was so needed for my soul.
A lot of things are changing in my life. I don’t know if it’s just me? Parts of my life feel like spring: new growth and exciting things and flowers popping up everywhere. Other parts feel like they’re shifting into a dry season: where the sun is hot and it’s hard and I don’t see much harvest.
I’ve stepped into new seasons. And it’s exciting to start something new. It’s exciting that God is letting me move forward, that maybe I’m finally ready for certain things. But it’s also teaching me some very difficult lessons.
I’m an enneagram 7. Majorly.
And whatever you believe about the enneagram, I think it’s a useful tool every once in a while to better understand the way God wired us.
The dominant emotion for 7’s is fear. Which I always thought was strange. I mean, I’m not afraid of much. I’m the “I don’t care what people think about me” girl.
But then I took a step back and asked myself, “what am I afraid of?”
And in the changing of all my seasons, I’ve realized I’m afraid of a lot.
Not the typical stuff like dying. Not even failure.
Fear is more of a resounding theme, like shackles to my soul. Does anyone else feel like that? That if they’re not careful, fear will influence and manipulate your decisions because that’s just your default?
Maybe you’re always apologizing because you’re afraid of people getting the wrong impression of you.
Maybe you’re afraid to stick your flag in the sand because you’re afraid of the responsibilities and consequences of defending your beliefs.
Maybe you’ll withhold from being selfless to preserve your own heart in a relationship because you’re afraid of getting it broken again.
Anyway, the more my seasons change, the more difficult decisions I have to make. And the more I realize how often I let fear rule my decisions.
I’ve been praying for wisdom lately. Almost every day I’ve begged God to guide my heart.
And on Thursday, as I talked through all the things going on in my life, I caught myself discussing escape routes with God. “If this opportunity doesn’t work out, I could take this path…” “If this idea falls through, I can just do this…” “If this ends in disaster, I can always do this…”
On I went about Plan B and Plan C and Plan D. All the way down to Z. I mean, you can’t say you don’t have a problem with fear if you go all the way down to Plan Z.
I was afraid of what would happen if my plan didn’t follow through. As if all the little deviations, designed by God and written in his beautiful handwriting, were mistakes I needed to prepare for.
I let the unknown-ness of the future rule my present. All because I was afraid.
And as I poured out all my fears to God, he asked me, “why are you afraid of all the little consequences when you can be afraid of me?”
Immediately, I thought of Proverbs 9:10 ~ “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Suddenly all the little fears ~ not having enough, losing what I have, getting hurt ~ they seemed like ants compared to the power of my God.
And not in the feel-good way of saying, “God is bigger than your battles.”
But in the terrifying realization that God could do a hecka lot more damage than any one of my fears realized could.
My God could strike me with lightning at a moment’s notice and kill me right here. My God could prevent my dreams from ever happening in the blink of an eye. My God is God and he can do anything.
Not that He will.
But He could.
And as I stood under the huge blue sky, eyes wide at the bigness of God, He said,
“Annabelle, I am going to teach you how to fear me instead of all these little things.”
Already, in the last few weeks, I’ve seen fear curl up and die in God’s presence. And it’s been beautiful and amazing. But in that moment, I have never been more afraid to watch fear die in my life.
Being afraid of fear dying. Isn’t that a strange thought?
In that moment I realized what it really means to be in God’s hands.
Of course it’s a comforting thought, to “be in God’s hands.” But it’s also a terrifying thought.
Those hands holding me? They’ve reached out and touched lepers. They’ve commanded demons out of people. They’ve scrubbed dirty feet. They have two holes straight through them.
The hands that hold me are not just a passive steady ground for me to camp on.
They are God’s hands. They are active and moving and they call me to higher things. They have the power to hold me gently or crush me in their grasp.
But let me tell you: I’d rather have a healthy fear of God than fear the little things of this earth. because the more I understand the capacity of God, the power of God, the wrath of God ~ His love for me is all the sweeter. His compassions are all the more radical. His grace hits like a ton of bricks.
So I want to ask you the same question today: why are you afraid of all the things on this earth when you could be afraid of God?
Fearing the things of this earth only brings insecurities, anxiety, and paranoia.
Fearing God is the beginning of wisdom. Fearing God leads to trusting God. Fearing God is a step towards bravery, because if the one thing you fear and respect most loves you radically, what else do you have to be afraid of?
Take a moment and think about how small you are to God.
It seems pretty crazy and reckless and radical for God to love humanity.
But He does.
Live like you believe it.