Her natural born physical beauty, innate intelligence and authentic athletic ability was apparent to everyone but her. She sat in my office, tearfully overwhelmed with anxiety which quickly resolved into anger. Anger that would spew on others but ultimately stew herself into a bundle of shame.
When she was in her fog of fear she felt incapable of performing at her job, inadequate as a parent and an unsuitable spouse for her husband.
It was all a lie! She had learned, by the constant bullying of her peers in childhood, that she was powerless, vulnerable and inadequate.
The truth was her “friends” were insecure around her talents which lead to their actions of rejection and taunting; reactions from their own fears of insignificance.
She learned to be fearful, doubting her worth. The fear driven actions of the bully breeds fear for the targeted victim.
We have a choice to live freely in the identity of being fully Loved by God or in the identity tied to the lie of Fear learned from brokenness. Love is what we are born with, Fear is what we learn.
Fear is mentioned over 100 times in the Bible. God pleads throughout the Bible for his children not to fear. Fear is the thread that drives the actions both God’s children and their enemies. Here are just a few examples in the gospels where fear…
Keeps Herod from rejoicing in the newborn Saviour.
Keeps Nicodemus from following Christ in the light of day.
Keeps the pharisess from dealing straightforward with Jesus.
Keep the disciples from recognizing Jesus walking on the water
Keep Peter from walking on water.
Leads the apostles to abandon Jesus when he is arrested.
Keeps Peter from admitting his friendship with Jesus
Fear will restrain, limit and impede the formation of our true beauty. The actual definition of fear is; an emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger (usually accompanied by a desire to flee or fight)…a learned reaction.
Fear veils the truth of God’s value in us and His intentional creation of us.
If you live in fear of the future because of what happen in the past you’ll end up losing what you have in the present.
“Fear is a dark room where negatives are developed.” Michael Pritchard
“All Fear is the Lie that God’s Love Ends.” Ann VosKamp
“There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy” –Screwtape to Wormwood, in C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters
“When we feely allow fear to dominate and change us, we live in misery far from our home of unconditional love” Henri Nouwen
Psalm 139 speaks of how each and everyone of us are “wonderfully made” in our mother’s womb. The chapter give us clarity of God’s intentional creativity as we were formed and His current attentiveness of our “going out and laying down”. An awareness and trust in God’s love will unveil our hearts of our fear.
4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces (NLT)
2 Corinthians 3:16-18
16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord- who is the Spirit- makes us more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image. (NLT)
Fear has a profound impact on the brain and body as it creates the development of fear circuitries (pathways) and inflammation cascades which has a long-term impact on the body physiologically. In The God Shaped Brain by Timothy Jennings he explains that
“When God’s methods for increasing brain health and nurturing mental stability are applied, the brain circuits of the prefrontal cortex actually grow stronger and, despite previous damage, healing ensures.”
Only 23% of Christians see God as a loving God. This failure to accept the reality of the Father’s love deprives the heart wounds of the healing power of His love. How do you see God? A judging, punitive, anger God or a healer, the great physician. We need to understand the healing reality of this loving grace against the shame bully.
It is important to examine yourself, what fears are you facing? Where did you learn those fears? Do you identify yourself with your fears, not good enough, unwanted, rejected, unlovable…..restraining the radical beauty that God intended. Do you live in shame or the divine grace of God’s love?