Why live in a house of fear? No, I'm serious, why? -Carrie Roark
What is your greatest fear? Spiders? Clowns? Heights, maybe? Maybe it’s death. As far as fears go, the list goes on forever. There are a million things to be afraid of. But I bet the fears that hold you hostage and cripple you may not be things you are even aware of. In fact, I bet you aren’t even aware you are affected by fear so much. But tell me this. Are you anxious or worried often? Are you a perfectionist or a procrastinator? Passive aggressive, angry, or a grudge holder? Are you depressed or isolated? At the root of each of these things you will find fear. So many of us are fear based, and we aren’t even aware of it. Just watch the news. With the recent school shooting, the fear meter has risen off the charts. Parents are scared. Kids are scared. We wonder if is safe even to leave the house. Fear’s grip is massive, and it is profound.
And why? Scriptures are full of passages encouraging us not to fear. “Don’t be afraid,” it says over and over. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that “God has not given us a spirit of fear,” and yet, we hold to that spirit anyway. I recently read a passage on fear in Psalm 27 that encouraged me. As I was reading it, a word picture, the cutest word picture, came to mind that helped me to understand it on a new level. Maybe it will have meaning for you too.
I have a small dog, a chihuahua mix named Lacey. She is like my little shadow when I’m up moving around and a barnacle when I’m sitting. We are tight like that. She’s not so much a lap dog as she is a chest dog. She sits on my chest and nuzzles my face. It gives a new meaning to the term facetime. I brought her into my home, I care for her and protect her. Because of this, she has nothing to fear. I was thinking about this as I read Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” As long as she is with me, she is utterly safe and she knows it. When one of the kids gets a bit too loud or intense, she immediately runs to me, her stronghold.
Verse 4 says, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” I see that every time I let the dog out. She’s quickly back at the door, scratching to get in. One thing she seeks...to dwell in the house of Carrie. She will only venture out long enough to do her business, but then she’s back immediately. If she’s not in my house, things don’t feel right. Obviously, she longs to gaze on my beauty too! Who can blame her?
Read further in Psalm 27 and you find this in verses 5 and 6, “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.” Imagine I was at the park with Lacey and an aggressive dog accosted her. I would scoop her up and hold her high out of trouble’s reach. It would be easy because I am so much bigger than she is. If I will let him, he’ll hold me high above my enemies too… my metaphorical enemies of doubt, self-loathing, worry, etc, as well as The Enemy. And it would be so easy for him.
I got to thinking, what would it be like if I loved God they way Lacey loves me? I follow him around like a shadow or rest on him like a barnacle. When I leave his house (I mean his presence not a church building by the way), my only goal is to get back in because it doesn’t feel right. And with him as my stronghold, what should I be afraid of? After all, he is so much bigger than me. And if my love for Lacey is any mirror to his love for me, he loves me completely and unconditionally no matter how many times I pee on his rug or how much fur I leave on his sweater.
Fear is meant to be a warning, but our enemy uses it like a prison. But let me tell you that you have the key to the lock. Your imprisonment is merely an illusion, a scary, scary illusion. You have the power to leave that cell, you do. Scripture engagement is one great way to break the cycles that keep you stuck. Mindset strategies are another. And when you need extra help see your pastor or seek out a Christian counselor or coach. Ultimately, fear is a liar, therefore the path to freedom can be found in the truth. Why live in a house of fear when you can live in the house of the Lord?