What’s your worst fear? Spiders, being chased, a college final?
I’m scared of many things. In fact, I once told a friend about a guerilla that had escaped its cage at the Dallas zoo and caused all sorts of terror in the typically happy, kid-friendly environment. To this, my friend said, “Oh, so you’re super scared of guerillas?” My response… “well, sure, if I were being chased by one.” Moral of the story: I’m often scared of things that will never happen to me or that I have no reason to be scared of.
Fear has found many forms throughout my life. Some of those ways make sense…who wouldn’t be scared of tornadoes, man-eating snakes, or killer clowns? But other great fears are a bit more complex. You know, those internal fears that eat. you. alive.
Today, I’m sitting with two fears that made appearances in my life this morning: failure + being unknown.
Let’s start by talking about the former.
I totally failed at something this morning. Like, 100% failure after trying really hard. Isn’t that everyone’s worst fear–that you will give something your very best shot, and yet fall short? Perhaps for some, failure brings feelings of depression or self hatred. For me? Just fear. Fear that I’m not who I should be. Fear that I’ll never “reach my potential” (whatever that means…). Fear that I’m not enough.
The other culprit in my oh-so-scary day came from a super non-threatening comment that I took out of context. Upon hearing words that seemed untrue about myself, my brain immediately told me lies like you’re unknown/unloved/unseen. And there, ladies and gents, is where the fear set in. I was having an identity crisis with the best of ’em.
I almost named this post “The Panic of Being Unknown,” because isn’t that how it feels when you realize that you might not be known by others or, even worse, yourself? I felt unknown by myself when I didn’t succeed, as I have always identified with being an achiever. I felt unknown by others when someone said something that didn’t line up with who I perceive myself to be. Panic leads to fear, and fear leads to a whole lotta misery.
Here’s the truth of the matter: I’m still very much dealing with this identity/fear thing. I don’t have it down, so I won’t even try to wrap this post up with a pretty bow. But I will leave some Scripture below that reminds me of where my real identity lies. Not in successes; not in popularity; in Jesus Christ alone. And when He alone is the object of my identity, I find a different emotion in my life: peace.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” -1 Peter 2:9
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” -John 15:15
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.'” -Isaiah 43:1
“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
-2 Corinthians 1:21-22
“And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.” -Luke 8:47
Currently listening to “Pieces” by Amanda Cook