21 August 2013

Moving Beyond Fear, part 1

You know, it's funny.  You pray to God about something and you know intellectually that, yes, he will answer that prayer.  Occasionally, however, getting that answer is like getting slapped in the face with a fish (Monty Python tm).

My readings and such have kind of revolved around fear - how it interferes and what should be in our lives in place of it.  I've been asking God to reveal to me where I still have fear and he definitely slapped me upside the head with it (my God is a tactile God :)).

I am afraid of many things but chief among them is failure.  That means failure of works done by my hands (no one else to blame), failure of things I have taken on that I should not have (but they are my responsibility now).  I have fear that the Spousal Unit will drink a huge amount today.  I have fear of his drinking problem, period.  That one continues to stick around like kudzu.  I have fear he will never stop drinking or that he will be unable to repair his relationships.  And, sometimes, my fear is that I will be left alone in all of this.

The first question God pointed out is to determine if I am living by Christ or by the law.  Am I looking to the one who cast out fear or to the law that gives pre-packaged responses of what I "should" do and how I "should" feel and forget the freedom I have in Jesus in whose love there is no room for fear (1 John 4:18).  To do that, though, I have to let go of "what if" and just plain "if" because they do nothing except create scenarios for my fear to reside in when Jesus should be my safe place in the midst of this crazy world.  He is the only experience truly worthy of being called "life" (Manning) and since he has already set me free, I should choose to remain free through living by faith (Galatians 5:1 and 3:11).

The other thing He pointed out was how I have never really considered the fact that Jesus might be proud of me, that I might make him smile or...happy.  What a concept.  But if he does delight in us, then why not?  If David danced for joy, then why not his descendant?  If I can feel joy, then why not the One who created me?  Strange concepts to someone who grew up in a very performance-oriented environment to think someone just loves you because they love you...

The next day's reading brought up 2 Cor 5:7 which says that I am to walk by faith and not by sight.  This has been a constant theme for me with the SU's alcoholism.  I pray a lot about remembering the fact that I am on God's timeline and not mine and that God has specifically told me not to try and create a resolution for the Spousal Unit - that if I keep looking for when he is going to act, I will miss it.  In thinking on that, I realized some of my responses to the SU about his drinking are very much responses based in fear.  Not that some of my responses and requests aren't reasonable but I do things like try to keep him around me because than I can be "assured" he isn't drinking.  In retrospect, that's kinda funny because, seriously, he's snuck alcohol into the house and drank.  He's drank copious amounts with me in the next room or right in front of me.  By trying to control where he is or what he does, I am not trusting God, my Abba, in this instance.  I am trying to influence my surroundings for what really only amounts to a momentary victory in the battle with his alcoholism.  And, really, what kind of victory except Pyrrhic?  It's all just an illusion meant to make me comfortable.

All this is really coming down to the same question God keeps putting in front of me:  do I love God enough to trust him and quit trying to offer him my attempts to be in control?  ('Cause I'm sure he's thinking, "Hey, nice thought.  But I keep telling you I've got this one.  Don't make me get out the fish again.").

"Faith means you want God and want to want nothing else." - Manning

That means (to me) that I have to want God and what God wants.  God wants the Spousal Unit to be sober but he doesn't necessarily want me sticking my nose in with my plans because my plans are full of "I want".  I ask God a lot to give me direction to work within his plan and not try to graft on my own.  Sometimes I think I need to remember that God's part for me in this may just be to sit down, shut up, and keep trying to be Jesus to my husband.

"Do I hear His word spoken to my heart, 'Shalom, be at peace, I understand'." - Manning

Sadly, no.  Not all the time.  What I have to move past is my acceptance of his understanding to the point I am comfortable with it, past the point of my feeling that if God truly understood, then the SU wouldn't still be drinking.  That, though, is my fallacy, my wrong thought, and my error.  In this, I unfortunately at times tend to echo Job when God asked Job where he was when God laid the foundations of the earth or if he's ever ordered the morning into being, et cetera.  My plans are as ashes.  They are a false sense of security that crumbles as soon as the vodka bottle comes out.  The God of the universe knows ever so much more than I do and sees ever so much more than I see.

So I'm now asking the God that has revealed these strongholds to tear them down, turn them to dust and to replace them with his wants and remember that I am not in control.  Security is in God and not my feeble machinations.  He is doing a work.  I know it.  I see bits and pieces of it.  I need to stop being impatient for the whole, bend my knee and submit to him.

It's all still very much a work in progress.


  1. What I try to remember is that we all have the option of following God's path or not. And I have no control over whether another person follows it (or even if their path is supposed to look like what *I* want it to look like). All I can do is focus on my own path, my own faith, my own strengths & weaknesses. And boy is that not as easy as it sounds!

    Praying for you guys...

  2. You know, after I write about stuff like this seems to be where I really get the chance to live it :P. Found him drinking at 4am this morning with a bottle he'd hidden. *sigh*

    I know it is his choices and I should only focus on mine but, yeah, it's really hard to do that!

    And I still have part 2 to write. Yay! :P