Just recently my brothers and my two dearest friends went on a two week car trip. During some of the long hours of driving we had some great discussions. One of them was on our insecurities. It revealed to me how everyone has secret fears…even the most seemingly confident people. The introverts, extroverts, women, men… we all have them.
The past year I have been forced to face many fears. Some of them I’ve had since I can remember. Others are only recently recognized.
Sometimes my health dictate my emotions. And even when I know it is…I can’t seem to fight it. This past year I’ve struggled with depression. Just as hard as the lows, are the “highs”. I have had evenings that feel like an epic ending…the future is just around the corner. I’m in “happily ever after” and all my dreams must be coming. They will happen. And the next morning I wake up unsure if God really finds me a good daughter. Nothing is guaranteed; why was I so sure before? I feel dirty and sinful, all past godliness is behind me and I am digressing. I’m condemned. I’m a complainer. I’m a disappointment to those I love. I’m convinced I’m ugly. My body physically struggles…I am sick, I put on weight, even though I’m allowed little food. I feel unlovely, and therefore unlovable. My will to live ebb and flows. Which makes me feel guilty. I am extreme. I either endlessly self examine, or throw caution to the wind.
Some of my fears are related to relationships. Sometimes I don’t want to get too close to people because I have this unreasonable fear that as soon as my heart attaches, Jesus will require of me to cut them away. It has happened before. For some relationships it would be easier to “detach” than to vigorously work and maintain. I find autonomy refreshing and easier, and escape tempting. Other relationships require a great amount of courage to face. I fear them; but God has specifically put them in my life.
These are my most recent fears. And I only share them because I desire to share with you what Jesus has been showing me.
“What has a consecrated life to do with being afraid?” Francis Havergal
I stared at that question a long time. I realized all my journal entries lately have been filled with fears. Untitled, but definitely fears.
Am I consecrated? Who consecrates me? What does consecrate mean? Consecrate means to be made and declared holy and separate. God consecrated me when I became His child. I am consecrated. If I am His, and I am willingly His vessel, then why am I afraid? My peace and security and standing does not depend on the fervor of my devotion. It has nothing to do with how healthy I am or what I look like. It is not based on my crosses, my crucified life, or my state of relationships. It has nothing to do with how I feel.
What if He asked of me to continue on “broken” and sick? Then I can be assured that it is His good pleasure, that it is for my benefit, that He is being a good Father, and will provide the strength. Why? If I am consecrated to Him, than I am His responsibility. And He is either a good, all knowing God who loves me and has separated me to this “cross” for a purpose; Or, He is a merciless tyrant who decides random cruelty on His consecrated children.
The same love that grants my desires, denies the ones that He knows will hurt or hinder me. He understands every peculiar and unreasonable fear, my hopes and dreams, my strength and weaknesses. I cannot cringe from pain more than He loathes to see me hurt. But He has allowed it, for a greater good. Why? Because He is either a good Father, who knows what He is doing and proves His love by not sparing me beneficiary pain. He trusts me with a weighty cross. Or, He has consecrated me to an unprofitable and lonely path and enjoys allowing pain without reason.
Health is a privilege. Not a guaranteed necessity. If I am His, and He is my infallible master, it is not my responsibility to worry about why I am sick, or if I will ever heal, or if it’s an accidental evil. I am His charge and He is responsible for my welfare. My job is to be scrupulously obedient and give Him glory in my bonds. Fearing them will bring Him very little glory. What has a consecrated heart to fear?
Why would He allow my heart to attach only to rip it apart later? Why does He allow heartstrings and then tell me “no”? Am I at fault? Can a heart be helped when it comes to dreams and hopes? A hope seems to be an involuntary act, not a premeditated one. And yet He would only deny that which would be evil. I fear pain. But, when I think of the cost of consecration I have to smile. Would it be hard to let go? Yes. Would it hurt? Yes. Would I have His strength to obey? Yes. Would I heal? Yes. Would I ever regret obeying. Never. The unconsecrated hearts have no similar hope. They are made to let go. They hurt. Their dreams are dashed. But they rely on their strength. They often do not heal.
There is no fear in real love. I am a consecrated heart. I am separated to a jealous, strict, loving, all- knowing God who loves me more than I can comprehend. I can relish the fact that I am His. How freeing! I will end with this short snippet from my diary:
“Take over this consecrated heart Father. Man this little vessel. It’s sea tossed and uncertain of it’s destination. Rule my heart with ferocious tyranny. Here I am — laid bare. What has a consecrated heart to fear?”