The silencer which hinders community

Fear. It has controlling power. Debilitating power. Much more than I often realize.

As Zach Williams sings, “Fear, he is a liar”. A convincing liar.

In my own struggles, fear keeps me from wanting to write about the hard topics (Ironically, I have had this post on fear in my draft folder for a couple months now!).

It is easy to believe that exposing my weakness and wounds is a bad thing. Yet, this is not the message of the gospel.

Each time I make a choice to go against this fear and follow what God is leading me to do, the fear loses some of its power over me. I begin to realize how silly it is.  How deceiving.  How wrong.

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Fear is also a big part of why I isolate myself when I am struggling the most. One of the big lies in depression is that you are alone and no one cares. My fear of others seeing my vulnerability then leads me to put up walls. I push others away when what I need and want is to have someone come alongside me. My fear is self-defeating when I give in to it.

We need one another. While it is not wise to just dump out whatever is on our heart to the first person in our path, it is important to have “safe” people you can share struggles with. This is scary. It is a risk to be vulnerable and let someone see your messiness and pain.

While fear can hold a hurting person captive, it also binds people from reaching out to those who are hurting.

Sometimes we don’t want to enter other people’s struggles because of how it stirs up hard emotions or things we haven’t dealt with in ourselves.

It may require adjustments in a busy schedule. It can feel chaotic.  We don’t like feeling out of control.

We might see someone hurting, but we don’t know them well. It is easier to just expect someone else will care for them. I might think, “I don’t know what to do,” or “I might make things worse”.

Our fears easily silence us and hinder community.

We can walk around like bound prisoners even though the gospel has already brought us the freedom we so deeply desire.

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Community is born out of people who are willing to love openly and face their fears. To take a risk of being known and possibly rejected as a result.

Timothy Keller states it this way, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”

It seems the antidote to fear is love.

While my love is limited, God’s love is not.

If I want to overcome fear, I need to spend time with the One who loves me.

I need to be reminded how deeply I am loved. That my identity is found in God’s love. That I don’t have to be afraid of my love or someone else’s love falling short.  God’s love is enough.

“Perfect love casts out fear.” I John 4:18

Perfect love brings “freedom for the prisoners”. (Luke 4:18)

What are you afraid of?  How does your fear silence you?

How does God’s perfect love silence your fears and give you courage?

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