Friday, May 11, 2012

But Dismiss Your Fears

What are you most afraid of?
How you answer that question reveals an awful lot about your character.  Sometimes I can tell easily how a person would answer by just watching and listening.  For a couple of my good friends, I’ve even asked them.  I like to know.  It helps me understand them better, and I hope that maybe sometimes, because I know, I’ll be able to help them avoid or relieve their fears.
A while ago I decided to try and think carefully about what I feared most.  The list I came up with is 5) spiders; 4) being misunderstood; 3) losing someone I love/heartbreak; 2) wasting my life/messing up; and 1) torture.
That last one must be some kind of irrational fear, because no one else I know seems to have the same cold dread of seeing someone tortured that I do.  My only experience with this is in movies and TV shows, but I simply can’t stand it.  I used to make my family forward through the scenes in the Pit of Despair in the Princess Bride long after my younger siblings could handle it.  I still can’t really handle it, and I’ve had several people tell me they just don’t understand.  I don’t understand how they can watch that stuff without flinching, but I guess that’s how irrational fears work.
Something that’s not on the list has been bothering me for a long time: the fear of God.  The Bible states very clearly that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” in Proverbs 1:7.  I want to find this knowledge, but I can’t seem to be ‘scared’ of God.  Instead, I find myself marveling at His indescribable grace.  I cling to Him because life and my inability to cope scare me, and I know His love is all I need.  If anything, I’m scared of myself, but definitely not of mercy.  Ashamed, maybe, but not fearful.  
Too often I worry about what other people will think, and if they’ll misconstrue my words or my actions.  Jesus said in Matthew chapter 10 that we shouldn’t fear those who can only kill the body.  Rather, we should fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  I get the concept--don’t worry about what people think or what they’ll do to you.  Instead, fear what God thinks of you and His judgement.  In the end, that matters so much more than being misunderstood by people here on earth.  God will never misunderstand or mistake His judgement.  Knowing myself, if standing judgement were up to my own deeds that would not be a fact in my favor.  I want to be free from all fears except the fear of God, but as Adam Young put it, “I’m scared to death that I’ll never be afraid”. 
I asked a friend what they thought about this the other day.  They answered that the Bible seems to be talking about a very different kind of fear.  Sort of like how fearing the discipline of your parents is different from fearing spiders or things that go bump in the dark.
But the Bible also says “Don’t be afraid” over and over and over and over.  365 times, I’ve heard.  And we’re told why in 1 John 4:16-18: “We know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.  In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like Him.  There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Life can be a scary sort of adventure sometimes.  As I approach graduation from high school, more and more uncertainties about the future pop up and clamor to be worried about.  But I know and rely on the love God has for me.  I am by no definition perfect in love myself, but I’m committed to living my life in His love as much as I can, because perfect love drives out all fear.  Looking ahead, I know that as Mumford and Sons beautifully phrased it, “There will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.  And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.”
God is Love.  He will not break my heart, but dismiss all my earthly fears, leaving only the concern that I please and glorify Him.
I don’t need to fear being misunderstood.  I don’t need to fear losing loved ones or heartbreak.  I don’t need to fear wasting my life or messing up.  God understands me completely.  His love is perfect.  And He has a plan.  


  1. interesting. gotta ponder that for a bit.I don't know if I agree with all that.

  2. I believe that the fact that you can't watch torture shows that you still have an innocence in that area. I wouldn't call it irrational. It is completely rational.
    And I would also add that you need not fear about messing up/ wasting time. (first off), if we are truly God's, then whatever we do will not be a waste of time. (second), failure is the way that 99.999999% of people learn lessons in this world.
    You have a very good point about "fear" of the Lord. May I also add that in context "fear" may also mean a reverent regard for the Lord and His power? Fear of destruction is a wonderful tool for a nonbeliever to become a christian but for an already born-again christian? Love and a desire for His love is more motivating?

  3. Hannah SocolofskyMay 11, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Beautiful, Carey. This was beautiful. Your blog makes me think, and I love it. Thank you for your words. May God bless you.

  4. Excellent post, my dear. I can completely relate. As I try to understand myself better, I find I'm afraid of so many more things than I had originally thought. Sometimes, this makes me really angry with myself, and I feel like a coward. But I'm only a coward if I don't press on through the fear, no matter how scared I am.

  5. I'm doing a speech on this very topic! :)

  6. "...leaving only the concern that I please and glorify Him." I think you hit the nail on the head right there. We are motivated by what we fear. Fearing God means to be motivated to please Him more than we are motivated by any other fear.

    -Love, Dad