Where Fear Starts

I used to live in Southern California. My house was on top of a large hill, that also happened to be a nature/wildlife preserve and at high risk for a landslide (ten or so years before I lived there, our neighbors pool snapped in half and slid down the hill. Growing up I remember seeing pipes sticking out of the ground into the empty valley). This house was…interesting. We lived there with my grandparents for six years and in those six years, I was almost bitten by a rattlesnake, attacked by hummingbirds, and had centipedes crawl into my bed and sting me almost every night.

We had mice in the attic and rats in the walls and wolf-spiders in between the panes of glass in our windows. Funnel spiders in the bushes out front, gophers in the lawn, and a coyote den just outside our backyard.

By the time I turned thirteen and we were moving to Nevada, I was terrified of anything that moved in the corner of my eye. I refused to walk through tall grass, wouldn’t sit under trees, and would stare at bits of fuzz on the ground until my vision pricked with black dots.

This fear stayed with me all through my teen years and well into my young adult life. Which, on one hand, isn’t a problem if you never go outside and invest in a good pesticide. But on the other hand, I was missing out on so much.

This struck me when my church taught a verse.

Luke 9:62

“Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God’.”

This verse, in context, is talking about committing to the Kingdom of God, but it made me think recently. What counts as looking back?

I spent some time thinking about this, and here’s what I came up with.

If you’re looking at anything but God, you’re not looking at God.

This could be good things too, but for today’s blog, it applies to fear. How often do we intently look at something, waiting for it to move or prove us right? Our vision tints black and everything around it blurs as we focus intently upon the thing that has invoked our fear.

I had every right to be afraid, living in that house. By every human standard available to us, I have every right to still be afraid of the creepy crawly things around me now (and don’t get me wrong: I still am).

No matter what’s happened to me, or what I’ve lived through, I have a choice. Am I going to look at my experience and, in extension, back at my fear? Or am I going to look at God?

Despite my fears, I love nature. I love snails. As a kid, I used to trample through the thick woods and pretend I was a Lost Girl in Neverland, or an Adventurer like Indianna Jones. Recently, I had an opportunity to get my pictures taken by Melissa Pauquette (check out her facebook here!)

We were at Salt Fork lake. I could have given into my fears and chosen a different location. I could have hyper-focused on my fears of bugs and spiders and been incredibly uncomfortable the entire photoshoot. And don’t get me wrong, I had a brief opportunity to step into grass that went up to my hips and politely declined. (Baby steps, guys).

But overall, with each step I push the plow forward, I’m focusing more and more on God. Every step I take is one step closer to the plans God has for me. To being the person he created me to be. And how freeing it is to step out of fear and focus on God!

Where are you looking?

A great way to stop focusing on fear and look to God is to find a joy instead. Check out my free joy-votional!

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