word of the day: lie \ˈlī\ to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive; to be in a helpless or defenseless state
“That’s too dangerous. You’re safer where you are.”
The following is a real conversation which took place between Jake and me before I traveled with the girls in a car alone across nearly 4 states. It has not been exaggerated (although, as you'll see, one of my natural tendencies is exaggeration).
Me: I'm feeling anxious about the trip. You know, I'm just worst-case scenario-ing.
Jake: Ok. I like to think through situations in advance too. So, worst-case scenario: the car breaks down. What do you do?
Me: Really? That's your worst-case scenario?
Jake: Yes. Why? What's yours?
Me: Oh, I don't know. We could crash and die on the interstate. Lily could run out from underneath the bathroom stall at a rest stop and be kidnapped. I could be kidnapped from the parking lot of the rest stop leaving the girls alone and screaming. The car could break down and then someone could prey on our misfortune before the police get there.
End scene. The struggle is real, people. And yes, bless Jake for even attempting to engage with my inner-monologues.
I am afraid of everything. As a child, I went to bed each night convinced that a.) my house was going to burn down b.) I had leukemia or c.) the rapture was going to happen and leave me behind (whoever thought 'Left Behind: The Kids' was a good idea?). I couldn't even spend the night at my grandma's house because I was convinced my parents were going to die in my absence.
Fear is the ultimate robber of joy, if you ask me.
This lie is tricky (okay, yes. They are all tricky; they're lies after all) because it's relatively true. It really is safer for me to stay inside my house at all times.
But, much like "ease," God never promised me that this life should be safe.
When I get bogged down by fear or when the thought of something terrible happening to the girls physically tightens my chest, I try to remind myself of two things:
First, and again, God promises to never leave me. He promises the same for Jake. And Lily. And Norah. He is with us. Always. (I particularly like the reminder in Psalm 139.)
Second (and this is a harder one for me swallow), preserving this life isn't the end goal. Before Jake and I went to Africa, I was flat-out terrified. I sat on a park bench the night before we left bawling my eyes out mostly because I had convinced myself that we were, indeed, going to die. Many well-meaning people tried to offer encouragement: "Don't worry. Nothing's going to happen to you."
The people were well-meaning, but the advice wasn’t helpful. I knew that something could happen and that they had no way of knowing that something wouldn’t.
So, before we left on that trip, I had to come to terms with the fact that I could die. And that if I did die, God would still be Good. That His plan would supersede any that I could come up with on my own. This didn't make it easy (I wrote once about still feeling afraid during that trip), but it reminded me again that I'm not the center of the story and that my life will continue even when this one ends.
This is the most paralyzing lie of all because it is really meant to do just that. I think Satan whispers this one when we are given an opportunity to do something for God. In my experience, when I succumb to the lie, it is at the cost of a relationship with a person; the cost of bringing the kingdom to someone who desperately needs it.
And that's what Satan wants, isn't it? To keep me from doing the very things Jesus asks of me. If he can convince me to justify my own fears, he keeps me motionless and from bringing the Kingdom to earth.
Even so, mom and dad, you can keep the Left Behind: The Kids series at your house. No need to push the limit up in here.