Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid


Man, I hate being scared. I’ve been scared all my life.

I remember the dread when my mother would prepare dinner at night and ask me to go to the cellar to retrieve a can of “such-and-such”. Somewhere in the unexplored recesses of our basement “IT” lived.

Down the splintery wooden stairs I would reluctantly go to the cold, damp shelves that served as our pantry. Quickly, I’d locate the required item and then turn my back on the darkness. That is when “IT” would emerge from hiding to follow me up the thirteen stairs.

As real as a nightmare, I knew something horrid from the depths of our basement was out to get me and would overcome me if I ever stopped to turn and look at its terrible face. I’d manage to be brave, rational even, at the bottom of the stairway but half-way up my heart would thump and the air must have thinned there because my breathing would become labored. By the top of the staircase, I would make a wild dash to the safety of the dining room, slamming and securing the door behind me as I caught my breath, having outwitted “IT” one more time.

“For Pete’s sake, Lori Ann!” Mom would roll her eyes, exasperated at my personal drama and then, realizing she needed one more canned-good, heartlessly send be back to the abyss.

I wish I were brave like other people. Never a fan of horror movies, I get nightmares just from watching their trailers! Ever notice how many horror movies have to do with going deep or encountering creatures from the deep? The Abyss. The Deep. The Cave. Deep Space. Jaws. Godzilla. Dark Water. The Descent. Primeval. Deep Blue Sea. Somewhere along the way, the human race decided that getting “deep” into anywhere was a frightening prospect.

You don’t know God for long, however, without noticing His obsession that we humans get over our fear! God tells us not to be afraid over 365 times in Scripture! That’s a lot of courage for someone who’s afraid to go into her own basement. But the truth is that going deep is not what we should fear, it’s where we should live – deep in the heart of God.

I may not have been born brave, but I learned early where to go for courage. At eighteen, He provided the courage I needed to spend a summer in Japan on a short-term mission. Later on, God provided courage to marry and build a family. He continued to provide courage to homeschool, to stay married, to earn my black belt, to build relationships, to take risks. Now, He’s providing courage to write the truth with transparency and my own authentic voice.

What lives in the basement of your fears? What follows you up the stairs and makes your heart race and your knees shake. Maybe you have no problem facing your basement but you don’t like to face your own spiritual doubts. Maybe you could run onto a battlefield but you run away from commitment to a loved one. Maybe you could explore the depths of a cave but you won’t walk into a conversation about what you believe. Maybe you could take on an alien invader but you won’t take on your own shortcomings. Maybe you’re like me, afraid anywhere anytime.

Well, like God says 365 times. Don’t be afraid. Everyday don’t be afraid. I still have no courage of my own but I know where to go to get and you are welcome there as well.

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5 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Yvonne says:

    hi Lori,

    I have heard that too (not to be afraid,365 times) Isn’t it so comforting to know the God that controls the universe?

    Yvonne

  2. For the past several months I make lists for myself when anxiety threatens to overcome me – things I can control and things I cannot control. As scared as I’ve lived on earth, I want to be known in heaven as a Fearless Lover of God and Others!

  3. Lori says:

    I think I’m most afraid of criticism from others even though I “know” the only person I need to please is my Heavenly Father.

    The fear of criticism has given me a well-developed ability to procrastinate 😉 After all, if you don’t DO anything how can people criticize?

    Ooops. Maybe they’ll criticize that I don’t do anything… YIKES. Guess I’d better get back to focusing on the One who tells me not to fear!

    Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Jenn Convey says:

    So true, so true! (the spiritual part) As for the rest – I was right there with you on the basement stairs. Halfway back up was always the worst place to be!

  5. I’m learning at almost 48 that half-way through anything is the worst place to be! 🙂