My Bucket List
I’ve been playing around with a bucket list of sorts over the last few years. Nothing serious, or set in stone, just a few things I’d like to experience before I’m no longer able to. I’ve already checked off a couple of them, like flying in an airplane and riding a roller coaster, but still on the list is zip-lining, and the possibility of sky-diving.
As I look at those items, I realize they all have something in common; each one is connected to my biggest phobia, the fear of falling from a great height.
FEAR – there’s my elephant in the room. Always there, just around the corner, waiting to grab me with its trunk, and roll me up so tightly that I’m unable to breathe, yet still, I ignore it. The word fear has captivated my life for so long that it’s become a comfort of sorts. I’m so familiar with it, that the actual prospect of recognizing it for what it really is scares me to death. See the humor in that?
I have a theory that fear would rank pretty high on the charts for many of you too. We’re all afraid of something, but mainly I’m just fearful of myself.
I’m afraid I won’t measure up to everything I write about. I’m afraid that when asked a question about the gospel, I won’t have the right answers. I’m afraid that if I don’t do all the expected “Christian things” I will be judged as not being as “spiritual” as everyone else. I’m afraid that my fear is going to keep me from truly living life, and that someday it will cause me to fall so far and so hard that I will be unable to get back up.
Those are a few of the fears I’ve been working through over the last few months. When I get in this frame of mind, I tend to bounce my thoughts and feelings off my closest friends. A few days ago one of them gifted me with the following verse:
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:1-2 NLT
NO CONDEMNATION! The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word condemn as “to say in a strong and definite way that someone or something is bad or wrong.”
That definition floored me. My entire life, I’ve been carrying around this huge chain containing so many links that it has now become too heavy to bear. It represents the fear that I’m not only bad, but also very wrong. I’ve never needed anyone else to condemn me; I’ve become an expert at finding ways to do it to myself.
In Fil Anderson’s book Breaking the Rules, he states, “If we really believe the gospel we proclaim, we’ll be honest about our own beauty and brokenness, and the beautiful broken One will make himself known to our neighbors through the chinks in our armor – – and in theirs.”
Pushing through the fear
As I keep pushing through the fear, I’m allowing the words of Romans 1 to flow over me. I belong to Jesus; He is the only One I need to give an account to, and what a blessing it is to know that He loves me just the way I am.
I also want to allow the brokenness that keeps me pressing on to make itself known through Christ. And as He keeps giving me the words to somehow try to make sense of this mess we call life, I’m going to keep on writing them down.
Please come back next week so we can finish talking about this subject together. I’d love to know your own fears. What are your thoughts? In what ways do you condemn yourself?
Fil Anderson, Breaking the Rules (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2010), 80-81
Whom Shall I fear? by ChrisTomlinVEVO