Wednesday, November 17, 2010

the Way out of fear

Recently I did an interview for a pretty big city newspaper. I believe strongly in what God does through Mercy Ministries, and on occasion I get the opportunity to speak on their behalf about my experiences. Often times, I'll share a bit about my past and what Mercy is doing to help girls who have been in similar situations. For my part, it's great to testify to what God has done in my life, to educate others about a strong ministry, and to offer hope to girls who may believe there is no hope left.

The article was published with very little identifying information about me, but I was still left with this very unsettled feeling deep down inside. There were certain inaccuracies in the article that nagged at me, but more than that, there was an air of truth to the entire situation that came blaring out in black and white. I'm glad to have given the interview, because I know that God is utterly unhindered by imperfection. At the same time, it's been hard to shake this trembling in the pit of my stomach.

It took a few days, but I was finally able to articulate what the sensation was about.
It was fear. Still, after so many years, the echoes of threats and orders to never tell resonate in the depths. That message was so deeply carved into the makeup of my thoughts, that even now, spilling "secrets" still triggers a knee-jerk fear.

Lord, I don't want to be afraid any more.

I tend to be analytical in my thinking - but analytical on a very basic level. I've learned so much from reverse-engineering enemy tactics, that it has brought validation and meaning to what so many of us have gone through. Please forgive the over-simplification of this trail of thought, but when God connected these verses for me, it made so much sense.

Here's the latest:

Fear is Satan's lock and key. Controlling, manipulative people have known this from the beginning of time. Dictatorships, political games, and even the rumor mill are all driven and perpetuated by the force of fear. Fear is what keeps us from speaking up, stepping out, and moving on. It's a paralyzing agent that binds up mind, body, and will. Fear is why I couldn't break free from my abusers - why I wanted to die. Fear.

I know that Fear is not from God. I don't think He can be more clear than Romans 8:15: "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship."

So if fear is not from God, then HOW to I get free from it?

Fear keeps us locked away - alone. Fear of rejection and abandonment for the vile filth inside of me kept me from meaningful relationships, especially with God. But the very presence of God is what drives away fear! See the strategy? If Satan can keep us in fear, he can keep us from coming into the presence of God - the very antidote for fear!

1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love [God]. But perfect love [God] drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect (fully formed, mature) in love." (emphasis mine)   1 John 4:16 "God is love."

So, if fear is driven out in the presence of God, then HOW do I get into the presence of God?
When I learned the answer to this question, I actually got angry, because it is HOPE that brings us into the presence of God. 

Hebrews 6:18-20 "We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahed of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek." (The Message)

Perhaps nothing in my childhood was more viscously attacked than hope. Hope is what kept me fighting, and fighting was not what my abusers wanted to see. As a consequence, I spent so many days and nights in fear that I eventually lost my grip on hope. Fear turned into a "knowing".  I knew I was going to die. I knew that no one was coming to save me. I knew I would be misused and hurt and controlled for the rest of my life. As hope broke, my heart slipped even further from the presence of the One who wanted so desperately to take that fear away. The hopelessness is what perpetuated into adulthood. The hopelessness is what almost cost me my life.

See, if Satan can steal our hope, he can keep us from entering into the presence of God where His love drives away all fear. As long as we remain in fear, we remain slaves to our enemy.

What do I hope in? I have hope that what God says is true. That everything will work out for good. That He will never leave me. That my future is secure. That God is good. I have hope that I will never be alone, and that this world is a shadow of the amazing, indescribable perfection that is to come. I have hope, because I believe that God really did send His Son to right everything that was broken.
That's hope.

I wrote before that it's not always what happens to us, but how we view what happens to us. Hopeless is ultimately a misperception. That's the secret that the enemy works so tirelessly to keep from us! When we know the TRUTH, suffering actually brings hope. 

The mystery that undoes all of the plans of Satan is joy in the suffering

Romans 5:1-8 "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, just at the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly... But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

I don't have this mastered. But God's shown me the way, and that's a huge start. After all, it's the Truth that sets us free. ;)

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