A Letter From Fear

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27 NIV

Hello, my name is FEAR, and I am your friend.  We have been acquainted since you were able to know yourself.  The first time we met, you experienced pain as a result of your unfettered exploration.  Your assumption that everything around you is safe was shattered and I entered your life to protect you.  You familiarized yourself with my rules.  You trusted me implicitly to keep you safe.  Whenever I spoke, you listened, knowing that I had your best interest at heart.  As you grew, you created categories in your life that were characterized by some aspect of my existence and purpose.  If rejection was possible, you listened to me to avoid intimacy.  If abandonment and loneliness were risks, you paid attention when I told you please others.  If loss of anything valuable could occur, you engaged with my compatriot CONTROL.  I convinced you that admitting that I existed to others would only spoil our relationship and remove the safety that you had come to depend on from me.

Wow, how you gave me free reign during your adolescent years!  No part of your life was off limits to me.  Soon, you just needed to sense the beginning of a bad feeling or suspicion and I was summoned.  You knew how capable I was at erecting protective walls and initiating behaviors that would prevent your worst nightmare from becoming a reality.

By the time you entered adulthood, I no longer had to keep daily watch.  I had trained you so well that you knew the evasive maneuvers that were required.  If someone expressed love, there was risk of commitment and pain and so you reacted with suspicion.  If someone reacted strongly to you, there was risk of isolation and aloneness, so you behaved with acquiescence and unhealthy compromise.  If someone expressed admiration or respect, there was risk of manipulation, so you behaved with indifference.  If someone communicated a desire for connection, there was a risk of dependence, so you behaved with distance.  I allowed all these playbooks to develop, so that I could achieve my ultimate goal for you – an inability to value yourself as worthy of unconditional love.

You see, I entered the world when the first humans recognized their own unworthiness.  I was the one who caused them to hide from their Creator.  My intent was to ensure that they continued hiding, create a dependence on their own abilities for self-protection and divorce them from any possibility of divine providence and the existence of a beneficent God.  My strategy has not changed.  I enter on the pretense of an everlasting provision of safety and exit on the victory of your powerlessness and complete defeat.

My nemesis is the God-man, Jesus Christ.  He is the only individual who has ever escaped my grip.  Even though he experienced the frailties and insecurities of humanity, he based his worth on the relationship he had with the Creator, his Father.  If you come to your senses and do that same thing, my ability to influence your choice to follow my playbook wanes.  Even if you choose Christ, however, I remain…patiently waiting for that moment when your triggers, desperation, patience and Christ-dependence run out…and then I reappear to provide you the comfort you were accustomed to.

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