Pst. Let me tell you a secret. I’m TERRIFIED of fish. Yes, fish. Even goldfish, and I own one! My dear Beta was given to me as a gift, and as a low maintenance pet, I love having it. I enjoy watching him from a distance, but when it’s time to clean out his bowl, GULP. What if he falls out?!? I’m a texture person and there is something about a cold, slimy, wiggly, flopping, scaly fish that makes my flesh crawl and my stomach churn.
Eating fish with skin and scales sends me hurling, an escaped goldfish sent me screaming for the nearest male to come to the rescue, a fish tossed at me resulted in the fetal position, and swimming in a pond only lasts 1.2 seconds longer than a nibble on my toe.
You get the picture; I have an irrational fear of fish and water animals. This tough farm girl is reduced to near hysterics near anything with gills.
There is no solid basis for my fear, but that is the nature of fear is it not? Fear is never based in reality for a child of God.
The paradox of fear, is that what we are afraid of is what we are often unknowingly drawn too. Why in the world would I own a fish, when I am terrified of it? Why do we rent rooms in our mind to the things that we fear?
Because on the other side of fear lies the fulfilled promises of God. Fear is simply a distortion of reality; which is a distortion of truth. Nothing can be distorted that was not once pure.
This week I fell in love with sting rays as I crossed off a bucket list item – visit an aquarium. (When I’m scared of fish… I know I know… ) We are drawn to what we fear, because fear is only meant to be a door, not a wall.
Stingrays were swimming everywhere in a low open tank – my girlfriend really wanted to see and pet them, (I would have kept going.) At her insistence, I timidly held my hand just below the surface of the water, bracing myself to hold back the scream I knew would force it’s way through my lips as my palm brushed the slimy back.
The first touch was GROSS. It was just a slimy and cold as I imagined it to be. But as one stingray after another came close to be touched, my heart softened. What once paralyzed me began delighting me. Stingrays are magnificent! So much power, breathtaking beauty, and grace, gliding just beneath the surface.
On the other side of the stinging rays of fear lies the Lord’s beauty and grace. In EVERY area of life. Fear acts like a wall keeping us from grace. But fear is not meant to be a wall, but a door we walk through. It’s only AFTER facing our fears that the grace comes. The Lord can’t fill our hands with His love, when they are clutching fear, just as light can’t come through a walled off door. Fear is only overcome in the presence of the Lord, by facing it and walking through it. We will never know how big our God is, until we walk through the fear. Remember that fear is a distortion of reality – the reality that our God gives us ALL that we need.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!”
No good thing does He hold back from us. The Hebrew roots of this phrase has the conation that there is nothing better left to give us. He withholds nothing from us, and gives us the VERY best, as we walk uprightly. “Uprightly” is translated from a word meaning “complete, entire, whole”.
There is so much blessing just over the threshold of trust, when we give Him everything.
Wouldn’t it be nice if every fear in life was a small as stingray problem to overcome? But then again, isn’t it? The choice to walk through the doorway is always ours. What’s on the other side of your doorway?