Posted on June 14, 2014
Last month, our oldest child graduated from eighth grade. I’m not sure how this happened, which I realize is what everyone says when they experience the brevity of their children’s time in the nest. Everyone who goes before us tells us it will be brief, but it’s not until it hits you in the gut that you genuinely appreciate the magnitude of the wise warning. But, that’s not my focus today … today, I’m thinking about fear.
The entire graduation ceremony was wonderful, but what stuck with me most was a quote from St. John Paul II that our principal shared in his closing remarks: “Do not be afraid of holiness.” While I was thankful our daughter could hear those words as she started her high school chapter that night, I realized I was also in need of a reminder that fear can derail us from God’s plans for us if we let it.
Holiness is the goal for Christians, but it might also be our biggest fear. Holiness is the place to which God is calling us; a place of complete union with Him. It is a place where we put God and all others before ourselves with humility, love, modesty, meekness, kindness, compassion and forbearance. It is a place where we seek God’s will, obey His commands, and follow His example in the life of Jesus. It seems so far away from where I am. I’ve allowed my fears of the worldly consequences of following His directions to frighten me off the path to holiness too many times.
If we believe God will provide everything we need and a peace that passes all understanding when we answer His call, why do we fear the path that will lead us there? Many of my struggles stem from a warped sense of what defines success. The world’s definition of success is often out of sync with God’s definition, and following the path to holiness can be contrary to what much of our world values. It can also be contrary to our human nature. We live in a broken place, and the enemy sends fear into our hearts when we consider living contrary to it.
Loss of pride and fear of failure are scary and persistent, but our pride is what we need to lose and failure is what we need to experience to squash our ego and make room for God. God will provide courage and strength to withstand our fears and anxieties if we sincerely want His help. We are in the world, and there is nothing we can do about that, but we can be of God.
Maybe my digression at the beginning of these thoughts was not so off focus. A child’s transition presents uncertainties, and uncertainty can yield fear. But, through our transitions and the struggles they produce, God can continue His work on us as He patiently waits for us to become the people He is calling us to be. We are His works in progress, and I’m thankful that although I stray from His path at times, He’s told me where to go and will provide the courage to keep moving forward.
Thoughts about fear inspired my Faith Walk column that appears in today’s Kansas City Star. If you’d like to check it out, please click here … Kansas City Star column.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear … 1 John 4:18
God’s Peace, Nikki