Friday, September 17, 2010

Living in Fear...

Thanks for the headache advice. After talking to both Eddie and Mama about these awful things, I think we've determined that I may be having migraines that are caused by hormones. (I know I said I can't put my thumb on a rhyme or reason, but we've since sort of figured out what it might be.) That, combined with the fact that my not-even-one-year-old is going through the terrible twos (screaming, arching the back, knock-down, drag-out fits lately...this, too, shall pass!!!) have left me feeling less-than-par. I have to talk to my obgyn in about a month anyway when I wrap up nursing that silly little boy so I'll mention the headaches and we'll see if we can't come up with something. (Bess, the gluten is also a possibility. Mom reminded me I had Olive Garden the night before one headache this week and spaghetti the night before another one.)

Okay, onward! (This is going to be a long one!)

I have had a lot on my mind lately. More specifically, I've had a lot on my mind about a friend whose family has basically been put through the ringer in the past year. And friends, they are over it! Because I've been thinking about her a lot lately, I've been learning a lot lately as well. I have dug into my Esther study and every. single. bit. of. it. applies to her situation (and my life as well!).

This past Wednesday, we discuss living in fear. Let me just tell you, that is me. I have always, always lived in fear. I'm not sure what happened or where it began. Could it have been seeing the movie My Girl when I was too young? Could it have been seeing a girl in my YMCA day camp almost drown? Those two things stick out as memories of my second grade self, but I'm sure it's an accumulation of lots and lots and lots of things. Regardless, I live in fear.

Eddie and I were discussing my issue with irrational fear on the way to the beach. I don't think that anyone knows exactly how much fear lives in my head, but it's there. The reason it even came up on the way to the beach is because I wondered where the closest hospital was to the beach house. Seriously? Yes, my friends, that is what I think about on my way to a weekend of leisure.

So...Esther this week has jumped off the pages at me and I thought I would share in case anyone else is fearful of the world.

To set the scene for you, Esther (a Jew who is married to a Persian king) has been told that all the Jews in the nation will be put to death in a years time. Mordecai, her guardian, has alerted her of the decree that her husband put into place. (Her husband isn't aware that she is a Jew.) Mordecai tells Esther that she must go to the king and beg for the lives of the Jews to be spared. Esther, however, has not been called for by her husband in thirty days. That is a whole other issue that we could tackle in a completely different post! The law is that if a person goes to the king without being summoned he (or she) will be put to death. Esther obviously fears for her life. Mordecai reminds her that "If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14)

Our Viewer Guide from our study this week had these things to say:

Our protagonist made three shifts that moved her from self-preservation to brave determination.

1. Esther had a choice.
She [Esther] had to overcome herself in order to do what God had created her and positioned her to do.
{Beth points out here that we can "Protect ourselves out of our calling." God is going to make happen what he wasnts to make happen. You can either answer the call or He'll find someone else.}
2. Esther face the fear.
Consider general fears, then our context's specific fear:
Facing any fear.
If _____, the _____. (Fill it in any way you please...your fear in the first blank and what will happen if that occurs in the second blank.)
3. Esther took the courage she was offered.

Bear with me on this, I underlined lots and lots from our reading this week. I want to share it in hopes that someone else who suffers from irrational fears can benefit.

Once we are in Christ, Satan has no authority to destroy us, so he settles for the next best thing: threatening to destroy us. Based on our histories and behaviors he deduces what we ourselves are most convinced would raze us.
To the Devil, the irony is delicious: Our distrust of God tattles on us, telling our enemy exactly how to get to us. Many of us habitually rehearse, "If _____ ever happens, then I'll just _____." Our fears become like long, bony index fingers pointing at our vulnerabilities. Once Satan sees what we believe would be the end of us, he threatens and tormentsus with it.
Our natural human defense is to grovel before God and plead with Him not to let those things happen. Our conditional trust not ony makes us an open target for enemy torment; it also positions us as negotiators and beggars before God instead of secure children who trust their lives to their faithful Gather. Those times when our fears become reality we feel devastated. We think God is unfaithful, and Satan essentially gets what he wants - us to believe that life is over. Unless our belief system changes, for all practical earthly purposes, it is. After all, as a man thinks, so is he (Prov. 23:7).
...The most critical breathrough of faith you and I could ever experience is to let God bring us to a place where we trust Him - period. We don't just trust Him to let us avoid what we fear most. We determine to trust Him no matter what, even if our worst nightmare befalls us. We have no greater victory and can render Satan no harsher blow.
"If _____, then God will take care of me."
"If _____, then God has a plan."
"If _____, then God desires to accomplish something monumental in me."
"If _____, then God's going to demonstrate His sufficiency to me."
{Oh, how those speak to me! Our sufferings can be used by Him. Yes, the worst can happen, but what if it happens to His glory?}
...Only our steadfast defenses against life's certain uncertainty is unconditional trust in a Savior who loves us more than His own life.
As hard as trusting can be, living with constant fears is harder.

I guess my point in all of this is to say that I'm finding comfort in knowing the God already knows exactly what is going to happen in my life. He knows the sufferings that we will face, but He also has plans for those sufferings. He knows my joys. He knows all of my days. I am grasping hold of the fact that "God will take care of me," "God has a plan," "God desires to accomplish something monumental in me," and "God is going to demonstrate His sufficiency in me." I hope that someone else can take comfort in that, too.

Because I alluded to it earlier, please pray for the friend that I mentioned above. Her family is finding out some news today that will take them down one path or another. Whatever happens, I am praying that God will be glorified through their situation. I love you and am praying for you, my friend!


Amy said...

can i just say, "amen." to this?!?! i think you basically wrote my life story...and then totally sold me on the esther bible study. :) I have spent way too much time being a "negotiator and beggar" before God instead of a secure child. love that analogy!! thank you so much for sharing this - i could go on and on and on, but i don't want to leave a post in your comment section. just know that i needed this today (and pretty much EVERY day).

Lauren and Eddie said...

Sometimes I wonder what people must think of me when I pour my heart out on here. That was just weighing HEAVILY on my heart. I'm not sure what direction my Bible Study group will go after we're done with Esther in a few weeks but if we break for the holidays I may pick up another Beth Moore study on my own. I'll have to look and see what else she has! I love her!

Lori Bargeron said...

I LOVE this post!!! I really needed to read this tonight! Thanks so much for always being a good advice giver :) Love you!