The Saturday Fear Factor
Updated: Apr 29, 2022
Today is one of those beautiful Saturdays when one of the college kids is home, we all slept in, fall is around the corner, and we’re enjoying the blessing of home, hearth, and family. This is when we feel comfortable and safe within our walls and with each other. Ah, I love it.
And then I remember that I’m leaving all of this on Wednesday and flying to Africa. That doesn’t feel comfortable or safe right now. It feels scary.
This is the first time in preparing for this trip that I’ve had a moment of feeling like I’m insane. I felt it last time I traveled in May, so I should have known it was coming. In his very unsettling book, Wrecked, Jeff Goins writes this:
“We are conditioned to believe that life is supposed to comfortable. But ask anyone…who has radically changed his life, and they’ll tell you the best decisions they made were when they were uncomfortable. History’s heroes know something the rest of us don’t: fear isn’t the enemy; inaction is. What we have to learn to do is lean into the things that hold us back, to move through the pain and push forward.”
I should have remembered that any time I am leaning into things that hold me back, the fear factor settles in and whispers in my ear, “You’re a little crazy.” I have sudden anxieties about what might happen to my family while I’m gone, or what might happen to me, and I feel like I’m alone in the boat. In the midst of all the packing, preparing the computers, gathering items for the students, and all the other things that must be done before Wednesday, I find myself looking around my house today and thinking that the easiest thing for me to do would be to quit all this ridiculousness. Who am I kidding? This is hard. And I am completely inadequate to do the tasks that are laid out before me.
I’m hanging on for dear life today, trusting by a thread. I want to curl up into a little ball on my couch with the cozy blanket and find a good Hallmark movie on cable. And I hate Hallmark movies. And cable.
Then I remember that I didn’t start any of this, and that’s the truth. God has done great things in spite of my fear and weakness. Or maybe because of it. I’m comforted by the possibility that God just might want to use those of who cower in fear and long for something easy. Maybe He plucks those people up and says, “Look what I can do through someone so weak.” And I’m not into false humility, so you should know that there are too many times when I run around acting as if I know what I’m doing so that no one discovers that I’m walking blindly, my arms out in front of me, hoping that God isn’t going to run me into a wall. But deep down I know that I am the weakest of the weak and I’m incredibly privileged if God allows me to join Him in anything.
I’ve come to the end of the day and realized that as Julian of Norwich said, “All will be well, and all manner of things will be well.” I’ll step off the plane in Accra and enter the world of Africa and God will change me just a little bit more in the ten days I am there. He’ll softly remind me that I can do all things through Him. And he’ll lead me down red dirt pathways with my arms out in front of me, trusting in the road that He has laid before me. I’m leaning into it. Call me crazy.