Family God Moments

Our Family’s Journey to Find God in the Everyday

The Complicated Relationship Between Fear and Trust

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It is easy to advise someone else: trust God and find peace! But sometimes I fail to take my own advice. I feel a need to have it “together” all the time; to be stoic and in control of my emotions. So the story I’ll share this week almost seems like a confession…

Last Sunday, our little family drove around town performing the normal weekend activities (soccer, groceries, errands). The song “Thy Will be Done” came on the radio. My 4-year-old sang along with a strong, sweet voice. “Thy Will be Done” over and over again: four simple words declaring trust in God!

Monday morning arrives with its normal, frantic “get ready for work and school” interactions. As we prepared to leave, I uttered some stressed words to my daughter to hurry up, a quick hug and kiss, then out the door. She had a field trip that morning and was so excited! I felt a twinge of mom-guilt for heading to work instead of joining the other preschool moms able to tag along on the fall-day farm outing.

I continued with my normal drive to the office. As I pulled into the parking garage, that song began – “Thy Will be Done.” I stopped in my spot, and allowed myself time to listen. I could hear in my heart my daughter’s voice singing along, and I was filled with a sense of deep love. Yet at the same time I was overcome by anguish, guilt and fear that something would happen to her. It was an unexplained, unprompted, debilitating emotion. Tears rolled down my face – where did this come from? Why? Is this stress, exhaustion, hormones? I felt the irrational need to drive to preschool immediately, find my daughter, and hold her tightly – never releasing her from my safe grip!

Following a few texts with my husband and some time in scripture (the words of God through two trusted sources), I was able to sit at my desk and work. I felt strangely emotional all morning – until I heard from preschool that the kids had safely returned.

Later that night, after both kids were tucked safely in their beds, I began to work through the assignments for my class on the Psalms. I was still uncertain of the purpose behind my strange experience that morning. I felt guilt that I had allowed fear to overcome trust! Imagine my surprise when I open Psalm 27 and read from verse 1: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” I learned that Psalm 27 shows trust through three different life stages: a place of thriving, a place of anxiety, and a place of sharing good news. I have, of late, been happily abiding in a place of thriving – the ground is solid! My emotional experience that Monday morning thrust me into a place of anxiety – complete with lack of trust in God!

Psalm 27 declares moments where we experience (or imagine!) grief and separation from God. Lately, I’ve pondered the difference between “Disneyland” joy and a joy which exists simply through the desperate acknowledgement that we need God to weep with us in our moments of grief. I trust that there is peace when we seek and find God’s presence.

I say these words, but do I mean them? Do I, or would I trust God if my worst nightmares became reality? To allow myself to dwell in this fear means I have not truly placed my trust in God. It means I still cling to my own control, my own sense of entitlement and rights of ownership, my own need to determine the best plan for my life.

I introduced that emotional Monday morning as an experience when I lost control. In reality, I think it was a moment when I tried too hard to keep control! Typically we find our trust in God guides us to grow our faith; but in this instance, it was my lack of trust in God which has ultimately forced deeper connection! A reminder that God is at work, through all and in all!

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