I do, you know.
Sometimes I feel like a Christian fraud.
Will you allow me to explain?
Let me start by saying that I believe what I believe. I know that I know what I know.
I have wholehearted faith, full-hearted faith.
Sometimes I don't live like I do.
Sometimes, I am living according to fear.
Yes, all too often I am overcome by feelings of anxiety, dread, worry, and panic. All too often, I buy a ticket and jump on the "What-If Train" – what if this happens, what if that happens. I don't just wait for the other shoe to drop – I am convinced that it's going to drop on me.
The things I worry about are too numerous to count. Family, relationships, finances, health. You know, all those little *worms* that niggle into your mind and refuse to leave.
And all too often my actions are motivated by the deep need to avoid feeling fear.
Sometimes it all gets out of control.
When my fear rises and begins to spiral out of control, there are two areas that flare up.
I find myself "check-check-checking" over and over again. Is the front door locked? Did I lock my car? Did I leave the lights on? Did I forget something? (Honestly, you should see me trying to leave a hotel room!)
I also find myself overly concerned with germs. I wash my hands a bunch, and get nervous about eating leftovers. (Which could be a good thing if you're dieting. But in this case, not so much.)
And then that leads to me becoming a first-year medical student. I remember talking to my doctor about this once. And he used that example. He said he didn't know any newbie medical student who didn't think he had every disease he was studying about! And let me tell you, when this frame of mind takes over, the Internet is NOT my friend.
So, here's where the issue of "fake" comes in.
I write a lot about faith and hope and peace and trust.
I believe strongly in these things.
But when I get caught up in a web of fear, when anxiety cycles out of control, then I feel like I am preaching something I'm not doing.
I feel like I'm "talking the talk" but not "walking the walk."
And then, to top everything off, I end up feeling guilty that I'm a lousy Christian.
And the enemy comes in.
"Boy, Sharon, some Christian you are. You talk a big story, but when it comes right down to it, you don't trust God at all. What a hypocrite you are."
And internalize the lie.
So, friends, this is my true confession. I sometimes find myself so fear-full that I can barely breathe. And I felt the strong need to tell you this. To *come clean* with my struggles. To admit that sometimes I don't live like I believe the Truth that I truly believe.
It's a spiritual dilemma, for sure.
Do any of you struggle with this?
Maybe not fear, but maybe some other character flaw that makes you feel like you're not living the way you believe?
I suppose I'm not alone.
I do hold on tightly to what Paul says in Romans 7. Here's how I might paraphrase it:
"I want to trust God, but sometimes I can't. I want to believe all His promises, but sometimes I act like I don't. I don't want to be fearful, but I am anyway. I have discovered this principle of life – that when I want to do what is right, when I want to follow Him closely, I am inevitably hit with an onslaught of fear. I love God and His Word with all my heart. But it's like there is another power within me that is at war with my mind and heart."
That's it exactly.
But, even as I typed those words, I see that something snuck in there without me really thinking about it. A phrase, a clue.
"…when I want to follow Him closely…"
Is this the crux of the problem?
Am I a threat when I seek to follow God closely? Is this why the arrows come out? Is this why the enemy steps up his attacks? Does this explain the bazooka barrage of fear that batters me?
And I wonder how I feel about that.
Truthfully, I feel divided.
Sorta not wanting to be on the enemy's radar – not wanting to be his target. And yet, I sorta feel an "in-your-face" moment of small victory. Like it's sorta nice to feel that my faith is strong enough that I might be considered someone to be reckoned with.
Yeah, me. Fearful, anxiety-ridden, but somehow still faithful me.
I actually looked up the word "fake" in Sharon's Acrostic Dictionary. Here's what I found:
A cknowledging the
K ing in
Not what I expected to find, but that is indeed me!
So, friends, this is my confession.
That sometimes I feel like a fake because my fears belie the faith that I have in the Lord. That sometimes I don't live out what I truly believe. That sometimes I have trouble "walking the walk" that I talk about so sincerely.
And yet, perhaps this does not make me fake. Perhaps this makes me real?
And perhaps that is where the *real* walk of faith walks.
In the trenches of real life, with all its ups and downs. On the stony path of troublesome circumstances and stumbling hardship.
In the innermost and truest feelings where flawed personalities meet God where it really counts.
But this is also the place where we are most apt to turn to Him, to throw ourselves upon His mercy, to cry out in our agony, to know to the depths of our souls how very much we need Him.
For this is, indeed, where my fears drive me.
To my knees, crying out to the One who I know exists.
To the One I love.
To the One I know loves me.
To the One I know is good, no matter how much I doubt Him or fear the path ahead of me.
Somewhere underneath the quicksand of fear, there is the bedrock of faith.
The Rock of faith – who even when I cannot drum up trust, is still unchangingly and permanently trust-worthy.
Yes, sometimes I am full of fear. Overcome with emotion. Tossed by stewing and fretting. Paralyzed by anxiety.
Riding the "What-If Train" – choo, choo – and running away from falling shoes.
But even here I find the Lord.
And here the Lord finds me.
There is peace in knowing Him.
This day and tomorrow...
Do not be afraid.
It is I.
I am here.
"Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life...Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7:24-25, NLT)
"The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:15, NIV)
"Listen to my prayer, O God.
Do not ignore my cry for help!
Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.
My enemies shout at me, making loud and wicked threats.
They bring trouble on me and angrily hunt me down.
My heart pounds in my chest.
The terror of death assaults me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove;
then I would fly away and rest!
I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness...
But I will call on God,
and the LORD will rescue me.
Morning, noon, and night
I cry out in my distress,
and the LORD hears my voice.
He ransoms me and keeps me safe
from the battle waged against me,
though many still oppose me.
God, who has ruled forever,
will hear me and humble them...
Give your burdens to the LORD,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall."
(From Psalm 55, NLT)
"Say to those with fearful hearts, 'Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.'"
(Isaiah 35:4, NLT)
"I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears." (Psalm 34:4, ESV)
"When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid." (Psalm 56:3-4, NASB)
"Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7, AMP)
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." (John 14:27, ESV)
"For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you.'" (Isaiah 41:13, NIV)
Where do you struggle to "walk the walk" of faith?
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