from fear to faith

I have been trying to write a blog post for the month of January and just keep accumulating drafts. I suppose I don’t have all that much to say this month.

But I am determined to write one post a month! It is a challenge I have given to myself, because I love writing and expressing myself this way. And it feels good to be writing again after taking a decade long break from it. I am not who I was 10 years ago, that’s for sure. I used to think I could teach people about spirituality. I had quite the inflated ego back then. Since then, I have discovered that I am not so much a teacher of others but a learner of lessons that I wish to share with others. So for my January post, I will share with you one thing I am learning right now.

I have spent a few posts mentioning fear recently and this is the topic I talk about most with God right now. I have spent a lot of time in the Bible in the past month or so and it is beginning to come alive again for me. The last decade of my life was a fallow one when it came to reading the Bible. I can go into detail with that in another post, because that is a story in and of itself. But reading it again has been a comfort to my soul. In addition to reading, what I have been learning is a new practice. Any time I am tempted to be afraid, I am practicing turning that fear into faith. How it works for me is simply when a fearful thought comes into my mind, as quickly as I can catch it before it spirals, I say the word faith and hold it for a moment or so until the fearful thoughts move on. I am no expert on this, but it is something small that has been helping me in a huge way in this season. This practice has been inspired by something I read in Hannah Hurnard’s Mountains of Spices. In the preface to the book, she explains the names of the characters she writes about being “the personifications of the unhappy and tormenting attitudes of mind, heart, and temper”, like “Craven Coward”. She writes a paragraph in this preface that I keep returning to as if it is God speaking through her directly to me right now, and I will share that here as a quote.

I was born with a fearful nature– a real slave of the Fearing Clan! But I have since made the glorious discovery that no one has such a perfect opportunity to practice and develop faith as do those who must learn constantly to turn fear into faith. One must either succumb to the fearing nature altogether and become a ‘Craven Coward’ for the rest of one’s life; or by yielding that fearful nature wholly to the Lord and using each temptation to fear as an opportunity for practicing faith, be made at last into a radiant ‘Fearless Witness’ to his love and power. There is no middle course.

Hannah Hurnard, Mountains of Spices

It is not an option to succumb to the fearful nature when I know that my true nature is Fearless Witness, secure and confident in my identity as God’s daughter. I have seasons where fear can feel more intense than at other times and this season it seems to be that way. Maybe it is that way for you, too. And if that is so, know that I understand. So much. And I am holding you in my heart in the flow of the love of Christ alive and strong within me. But know also that fear is not who you are. You experience fear, but your true nature in Christ is first of all love and all of the abundance of the fruitfulness of the Spirit in joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control! So go then and put on your true nature and know that fear does not control you anymore, but the Spirit of Christ does!

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