a short list of my greatest fears
JonBenet Ramsey's killer.
That's a short list of things I've wasted time being afraid of in my life. Yes, y'all, that's an honest list. Good grief.
I vividly remember sitting on the couch in the living room with my dad in the middle of the night, the only light on in the house trickling down from the upstairs hallway--where I had to have the light on. And the door open. And a lamp on. And...you get it. Who knows how many nights in a row I'd woken the parents up, and he was doing his best to calm me down and send me back to bed.
"No, sweetheart, JonBenet's killer is not going to find you. No, I promise they won't. I will take care of you. Pumpkin, no one is going to hurt you. It was someone in her own family that did that to her."
"SOMEONE IN OUR FAMILY IS GOING TO KILL ME??!!"
In his defense, it was the middle of the night, and my fear was irrational and I could turn any words of comfort into a mess.
See also: the time I spent *months* afraid of John Denver--who was dead at that point--so rather, the ghost of John Denver or the guy who played John Denver in the TV movie made about John Denver's life. In a rage-y fit, he cuts his and his wife's bed in half with a chainsaw and I knew--y'all, I just KNEW he or his ghost or the man who played him on TV was going to do that to mine (my bed was made of metal, but as I said, these fears were irrational). I checked under my bed and in my closet for John Denver and his chainsaw for a solid year.
I know. I KNOW, alright? This is why I can't watch Criminal Minds and why I only made it through one season of Stranger Things. Some of us just have to be a little more careful, ok?
A few weeks ago, I was about to park at my apartment when I saw a couple struuuuggling to the dumpster with a giant roll of carpet. I saw them, they saw me. We all froze. I quickly pulled in past them to park, and they started running (as fast as they could with a giant roll of carpet) to the dumpster. Then. Guys. All at once, I got out of my car, multiple sets of police sirens start going off in the not-so-distant distance, and the couple takes off running away from the dumpster.
I don't watch scary stuff, but I've watched the NEWS enough to know this was shady. I rushed past the carpet, into my apartment, and locked the door. I talked about it on instagram, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and promptly went to sleep.
I didn't check under my bed.
I didn't look in a single closet.
My fears now are a lot more practical--a lot more possible, to be honest. There are potentially crazy people running around with who knows what rolled up inside of carpet, but I'm not scared of them. (And while I don't know *why* they had a roll of carpet at an apartment complex, it really was just carpet. I checked...the next morning...in the light of day.) Instead I fear the rational, but still wildly hypothetical things...
That I'll never do the biggest things I want to do.
People I love getting old.
I'll let down the ones who've been the most supportive me.
What if I miss--or actively ignore--something God wants me to do?
That things I've begged God to heal may not be whole until Heaven.
Those fears aren't flashy, but they make John Denver's chainsaw look like a quick way to slice a cake. Just like all of my irrational, silly fears kept me up at night, Satan wants to steal my rest with these, too. He'd love to get me so worried about missing God's purpose for me that I do nothing for Him at all. He'd get a kick out of me being afraid to delight in people or unwilling to ask big things of God or so concerned with meeting others' expectations that I miss out on real joy. He would love that, but he doesn't get to have that.
I was reading recently in Acts 4, when Peter and John were arrested because the priests and the Sadducees and the authorities were irritated with them for speaking truth about Jesus. They were interrogated and threatened, but they showed no fear--they were filled with the Holy Spirit and boldy continued to speak the truth of Christ. The leaders saw Peter's and John's boldness and observed the power of God in them and knew that while they were just normal, otherwise unimpressive guys, God was with them. They threw some more threats around and then let the poor guys go. And while all of this was happening, the people Peter and John had initially been teaching were believing--all 5,000+ of them.
And as I read that, though familiar, this reality felt new: the enemy uses fear when he knows he's losing. Fear is his last attempt--and it's a weak one.
I'm not watching scary movies. I'm just not going to do it, and we can all deal with that; but I am going to remember, when I get more afraid of messing up than of not trying, or scared to ask and believe God to do the impossible, that fear shouldn't shut me down. Really, I should celebrate it.
It means I'm onto something good.
It means we're winning.
What's the craziest thing--practical or irrational--you've been afraid of?
What helps you fight off the fear?