I reposted something the other day. I liked what it said, and meant, for me. But I neglected to think about what it could say to others.
Some vibrant conversation followed in the comments. I’m happy to say it was covered in grace. However the thoughts followed me around for a day and the next and I wondered deeply about why I posted it; what was the why for me behind the word that caused others grief.
Here it is.
I battle fear.
I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. It’s not something I lay down into, though it does threaten to smother me with it’s scratchy thinking.
I fight and even more so these days. Mental health crises are a real and present fallout of the time we’re living in. Too many threatening programs up and running in the mind, clouding our judgement and general contentment. Right?
Layer that on top of the usual struggles, and safety becomes a nebulous thing.
Don’t we all want to be safe? I do. It’s an elusive quality at the best of times.
I have to, and want to chose to say no to the fear. I can’t live under it. When I do it renders me ineffective at most things. My creativity dwindles, my relationships suffer, I stop working out and even dinner isn’t as tasty as it could be were I on my game.
So I repost this controversial item because it speaks to me. It challenges me to lurch out from under the pressing fear, live wide, because, for me, living safe can mean I’m yielding to what my anxiety shouts. So I cast it off and get out for hikes (even into the Rocky Mountains of Washington USA with a dear, adventuring friend and young son), write words on a page, cook something good and engage in some great conversation and gather (wisely) with believers to spend some time in God’s presence together. It’s not a heedless casting off of restraint and sanity in these crazy times but a living well as I can, holding the hand of the God who tells me not to be afraid.
Useless is a harmful word though.
The post said that choosing safety renders a person useless. I didn’t mean for this to be smeared on anyone but I can see how it could hurt.
I… feel useless when anxiety curbs me into a corner. So I choose to shake off the driving voices urging us to cower. And it’s not just during a pandemic. Everything is about safety these days. When I was a baby my ride in a car was a car bed in the backseat, untethered bed and untethered me. Dangerous? Yes!
But now our babies, our children, our teens, ourselves are so smothered with regulations and safety it’s almost impossible to breathe.
Don’t let the children climb trees or kick a ball at school. They might get hurt.
Golly! Yes they might. And they might live and breathe and grow and fall and get back up again and learn to deal with adversity in the process. And yes, there will be the ones that don’t get up again. I’m so sorry, with all of my heart!
But I can’t live trying to mitigate the risk of every. single. circumstance.
THIS causes anxiety. For heavens sake and for ours we must engage in critical, wide open thinking and cast off… yes cast off…. the fears that attempt to strangle us into this life of living inside, stuck in front of screens, living virtual adventures while our muscles and brains atrophy.
There is no judgement here towards anyone. We’re all trying to work it out the best way we know how. May God bless you and lead you as you sort through it all too.
Thank you for entertaining my attempt to clear up this muddle.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2Timothy 1:7.
I love C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe where, when Lucy asked if the Lion was safe she received this reply: “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”