Fear of the “Not Again”

As fearfully and wonderfully made as we are, we must realize that one of the things we were created and formed to be incompatible with is fear. Seasons of prayer, fasting and communion have a way of exposing fears that we’ve accommodated.

When we experience fear, it creates a spiritual static, disturbance, and tumult within us. The waters of our heart are not at peace, they are turbulent. The divine design of our fashioning tells us something is off. We instinctively know our hearts and souls need soothing, healing, and peace to be restored. But unfortunately, this is when we tend to reach for certain comforts or distractions (albeit food, tv, phones, whatever). They provide a counterfeit, temporary relief, but the undercurrent is still there.

Seasons of fasting, prayer, and communion reveal these fears for what they truly are. As we deny ourselves from reaching for creature comforts or distractions, that fear is not appeased. It remains un-nurtured, un-fed, un-comforted. As it wrestles, it’s un-masked to lay bare before us so that we can address it.

I’ve often heard it said that one of the primary things that keeps people from stepping fully into their destiny is fear of the unknown. I get that, though that’s not usually how or where fear creeps in for me. Fear studies us; it adapts, morphs, mutates, changes colors of necessary to fit our nature and our tendencies. It learns how and where our access points are so that it can be absorbed, blend in, and remain undetected. We may study fear, read verses about fear, listen to messages on fear, but there will be a disconnect if we can’t label and name the type of fear we have. Ultimately, if we don’t know what type of fear we’re experiencing, we may even convince ourselves fear is not the problem.

Fear of the unknown is not so much an issue for me. Not that I’ve perfected this area, but I have enough history with God to know that whenever I hear Him speak, I really have no problem dropping everything and leaving it all behind to follow Him. I trust Him. I do.

But what He has shown me (already so early on in this fast) is that fear has taken on a new cloak to disguise itself against me. It’s not fear of the unknown, it’s actually fear of the known. Fear of what feels familiar. Fear of taking that same wrong turn that led me down a path I don’t really want to visit again. Fear of an old rhythm that feels unsustainable and unhealthy. Fear of repeating the same painful past experiences. These are not fears of the unknown, they’re fears of the “Not Again”.

This is when fear examines and studies our past bruises and wounds and prophesies to our future. We reduce our ability to soar high or run full throttle and instead, we normalize and reduce ourselves to levels that feel safe, manageable, or that don’t place too great of a demand on us. It’s our attempt to hold all the pieces together in a neat, tidy little package. It’s our attempt to avoid experiencing the same thing we experienced in our past. The worst part? This fear masks itself as wisdom, or having learned from our mistakes.

As soon as anything starts to remind us of that past experience, environment, pattern, relationship, or rhythm, we pull the gear back into neutral and stop advancing. Even if we left those places long behind, the faintest scent of what is familiar causes us to freeze. We can actually convince ourselves we’re taking a wrong turn.

This is the type of fear that has taken up a small room in my heart.

The Lord showed me in a dream last night that even if He were to send one of the most well-known, well-respected prophets to lay hands on me and prophesy over me and commission me, I still wouldn’t step fully into it. Because what’s holding me back is not that I don’t know what I’m called to. Neither is it fear of the unknown. It’s fear that if I do kick it into high gear and run boldly the race I’ve been called to, some of the same things that caused pain and fractures in my past will happen again.

So I asked the Lord to help me. All I heard Him say was, This is not that.”

So here I am. And just like any other fear that must be confronted, I’ve got to determine what faith looks like in this situation. Here’s some of what I have so far:

Faith means that I have to trust that that Wisdom (true, heavenly wisdom that pulls me towards my future – not earthly, sensual wisdom that begs to reference to my past) will guide me. My faith has to be stronger in His ability to lead me than it is in my fear of messing up again. My faith has to be stronger in His ability to keep me in truth, then it is in the enemy’s ability to deceive me. I have to trust that this new thing has a fresh, new measure of grace on it, and that I will only experience it if I step forward and begin the journey. I have to recognize I was created for a speed and multi-colored capacity that is God-given. I have to own that and not be afraid of it.

There’s more. But I’ll stop here for now.

I’ve shared what I shared so that you can see some of the exercise and the process that is necessary when confronting fears. When confronting whatever it is that attempts to hold us back. Chances are, there is something you feel that has been holding you back, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. I encourage you to fast. Take a break from some of the things you tend to reach for, from some of the distractions that occupy your space and time so that you can starve the fear of its nourishment. Trust me, it will be exposed, and it will come to the surface. You will see it for what it truly is – so much so, that you’ll be able to name it. But more importantly, the Holy Spirit will give you the revelation of what faith needs to look like – in action – so that you can replace it and start moving forward with confidence and boldness.

Thanks for reading. Here’s to the race set before us.

Linda G Riddle