Being so close to so many people who have gone to heaven lately sure does change things. 

 Like when I drop the boys off at school…and I say to them “Love you! See you at 3:30!” on the inside I’m like ‘what if I don’t? What if something happens?’ 

I drop my 6 year old off at basketball practice and as I’m leaving to take my 9 year old to baseball I say “I’ll be back at 7!” but inside I think…’what if I’m not?’

Or….when my head hurts for the 5th day in a row…. “I should just drink more water….go to the chiropractor…get some essential oils.” But what if it’s cancer? What if I have a brain tumor? 

What if I die?????

yeah, yeah, yeah…..to live is Christ, to die is gain….but I have children!!! And a husband!!!

SO I get busy. On other things. Stuff that takes my mind off the fear in my head. You see, I have learned over the past 18 years of cycles of severe anxiety in my life that being busy helps. Temporarily.

Busyness is a farce. An idol. Heads up on that…

When fear rears it’s ugly head again in my life….it can paralyze me. Just today at two separate times I had two panic attacks. My entire body was silently screaming…urging me to RUN AWAY and get help because something awful was about to happen. Chills head to toe…it’s like they are running a race from my scalp to my toenails…the chills….but they run at the pace of turtles. It’s the longest 60 seconds I ever experience. Fear creeps in and irrational thoughts get bold and powerful. WHAT IF YOU DIE, SHEA??  right here…right now…what if this is your last breath….your last moment?

A lady told me one time that she never punishes her kids because she’s afraid something might happen to them or to her, and that would be their last memory of her…or their last moments on earth. Seems extreme, huh? She didn’t think so. That was over 10 years ago. She’s alive and well. But her statement left a profound mark on me. Because I thought…..

What if you live?

Heck, what if your (god bless them) kids live and they’ve never been disciplined/punished/told NO?? Because you’re so scared? Think about the future……yours and theirs…..

Friend….what if you LIVE?

I have learned so much from that question. For too many years of my life, I lived in fear. Not just “what if I die….” but also “what if we can’t pay that bill? what if they get offended? what if I never change? what if HE dies??? what if I lose my job? what if my theology is WAY OFF?? what if she misunderstood me…?” the list goes on.

In Christ, I do not have to live that way. I should not live that way. I cannot live that way. Because I have all the tools I need for LIFE and godliness.  Yes…church focuses on godliness. But what we forget is that when we get godliness….we get REAL LIFE. A full life.

If we are asking ourselves often “What if I live?” We will make choices now that prepare us for the future. And our children. And our spouses. We will invest. Instead of withhold. We will deposit. Instead of withdraw. We will have eternity in view. Instead of the immediate.

One of the most profound things I heard right after my life radically changed because of the love of Christ, was John Piper saying “Do not sacrifice your future on the altar of the immediate.”

We often think that only applies to adolescents. Yes, they have lots of big decisions to make…that could potentially change the course of their lives. But, young mom, so do you. And so does everyone else who is still breathing. YOU also have the option to sacrifice your future on the altar of the immediate. In many, many different ways. Don’t do it.

What does this have to do with fear? It’s about NOT letting fear win. We can not let fear control us.

It is worth the fight.

Some of us walk around with the shackles of fear around our ankles…..ball and chain dragging behind us. Fear of being fat. Fear of being ugly. Fear of wrinkles. Stop it. Fear of being poor. Fear of having to tell your children NO. (they’ll survive) Fear of offending your friends. (yes, even at our age)

I believe that fear often compels us to live for NOW instead of living for eternity. It ain’t right.

So I fight the attacks. When I feel like I’m dying inside…I picture myself LIVING. For a LONG time. I preach to myself. That even if something awful DID happen to me…God wouldn’t be in shock. He wouldn’t be caught off guard. He wouldn’t have to revise His plan. I trust Him. I acknowledge my trust in those moments. And we fight together. FROM victory TO victory. Often the person I am with at the time has no clue what’s going on. But my God knows I’m shaking. And He knows how desperately I want to be free. I trust He is at work in that. I know He is because we’ve come a long way together. He leads, I follow.

Let Him lead you out of fear. We all have different fears. I know so many women who live and ACT out of their fears. And it robs. Fear is a thief, you know. It steals so much from us…from our children…from our spouses, our coworkers, our churches, our time, etc. Remember the One who came to give life ABUNDANTLY??? Not busily. Abundant. Like….lots of fruit. Radical change. And slow change. Becoming more like Jesus…that’s where the abundance is. So….examine your life. Is there even time for fruit? Or are we so stinkin’ busy that the fruit that does grow (might grow)  just shrivels and falls to the ground as we run ragged from place to place? Sometimes you gotta be still. Because…

what if you live?

Live with a living HOPE.

{Not a life-threatening fear.}

examine yourself. ask God to show you what controls you. let it be Him. you’ll never regret it. I’m living proof.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are PROTECTED by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:3-8