He came across a Groupon that looked intriguing, so he purchased it. It was the oddest “date” I had ever experienced. I had no idea where I was going and had he told me, I probably wouldn’t have gone! I arrived at the float spa without an inkling of what a Sensory Deprivation Tank was. (You are probably wondering yourself!) Essentially, it is a large, enclosed tub with an overabundance of salt that prevents you from sinking. They provide you with noise cancelling ear plugs and when the tub is closed, there is zero light penetration. You are in the ultimate sphere of silence and darkness. Your body comes into a state of utter relaxation and de-stressing due to the deprivation of stimulus. While in this sensory deprivation session, I experienced intense fear; that is, until the Lord began to speak to me regarding this concept. I emerged from this odd contraption with a new perspective on fear and God’s plan for it. The following article is the first of two on the concept of fear.
What if I told you how thankful I am for fear? Would you question me and think I am crazy?
Every person has experienced it. Not one of us can escape encountering fear at some point on our journey. Some of us know its ways more than others, yet all of us are accustomed to its effects. A racing heart, fidgeting hands, uncontrollable thoughts, sweat upon the brow, heavy breathing, shaking and trembling, paralyzation- both physical and emotional. Sometimes it disguises itself more subtly: saying “yes” for fear of missing out, a sadness that overcomes you because you fear you don’t belong, controlling situations and outcomes for fear of being hurt yet again, or perhaps it’s a fear that you have no purpose or significance.
I was well accustomed with fear and its effects. I battled intense fear from the time I was 6 years old until late in my 30’s. Fear became a familiar and even comfortable foe, I didn’t even realize it lived alongside me. The racing heart and fidgeting hands were simply part of me. The uncontrollable thoughts and fears of abandonment dominated my mind. Fear kept me in bondage and I had no idea I was a slave.
Fear is so common that there is an entire personality test that includes discussion about a person’s core fears and how to best navigate through them. According to the Enneagram, there are 9 main fears. They are:
- The fear of being corrupt or evil
- The fear of being unloved
- The fear of being worthless
- The fear of being without identity
- The fear of being useless, helpless, or incompetent
- The fear of being without support or direction
- The fear of being deprived or in pain
- The fear of being controlled or harmed
- The fear of loss
You can read about each one here.
If we are honest with ourselves, there have probably been seasons where we have feared most of those listed above. And if we are honest, there is probably one that tends to hang out with us as a “best friend” more often than the others.
While the Enneagram is a very useful tool and can teach us different aspects of our personalities, what we fear, and healthy strategies to navigate our struggles, it is still just a tool! It can give us awareness of these earthly fears, but cannot give us heart transformation.
True transformation can only come from God.
A perverted concept of fear has made its home in us. The Enneagram has introduced them as Core Fears. However, a different type of fear deserves a home in us, and at times, we unknowingly kick it out. We treat it as if it were an unwelcome intruder, when in reality it is the best friend we could ever have. I have come to understand the Fear of the Lord in a powerful way. It has replaced my Core Fears, unleashing me from the bondage that once had me so entangled. When the Fear of the Lord reigns moment by moment in our lives, our earthly core fears dissipate.
Fear of the Lord: Awe, reverence, placing the Holy One in His rightful position.
When I enthrone my core fears, I cannot enthrone the fear the Lord. Fear, in this way is singular; I cannot fear something earth-side and fear my God at the same time. I am either walking in the fear of the Lord or I am walking in my own core fears. So, then, what are we to do with these core fears? Are we to simply ignore them, hoping they leave? Ignoring, stuffing, “positive vibes,” and the like has no power. The way through fear and into Freedom is trust; choosing to jump off the cliff of the unknown, trusting a loving God to catch you. Trust is choosing to swim upstream with regards to your life experiences. All hurts, all wounds, all difficult life circumstances threaten your trust of God. If we want to overcome the perverted fear that Satan offers and instead gain a healthy “fear” of the Lord, we must trust Him.
The only remedy is to jump…
Stay tuned for the continuation of Taking Back Fear, Part 2.