When Fear is Reassuring

Here’s a little bit of background before the good stuff that the Lord alone allowed to come out of me: in May of 2015 I graduated with my bachelors in Social Work, in June I got married, in July we moved (again), and in August I was hired on the spot after a short interview for my first full-time job for an organization with a mission I truly care for, running a department basically on my own with a starting salary I never expected to have. Usually that whirlwind of change would leave anyone feeling overwhelmed but honestly, my pride was just a little louder saying, dang girl you’ve got it all together. Look. At. You.

Almost a year later, my job is not all glory, saving poor, starving babies and getting paid to praise Jesus. My ever-sharp eyes will need glasses sooner than later from staring at a screen all day. I get angry at spiritual lies that an astonishing amount of people believe and in honesty, there are days when I disagree with management decisions and I set my expectations of how a Christian organization should be run on others I work with. I have to remind myself daily—sometimes hourly- that the Lord knew what he was doing when he placed me here and the reason may not be to bestow my wisdom and fix organizational issues, though that’s what I really want to do. After all isn’t that what true “adulting” is-finally getting to go about life on your own and finding your passions in your career and activities? Maybe to this world, yes. With Jesus, not so much. Now hear me, I am extremely blessed with my job and I do enjoy it, though if I ran the place, I’d like to think there would be major cultural differences. However, maybe I am sovereignly selected for this position more for work in my heart than work in an office or a third world country. Unfortunately, pride doesn’t like sitting still in my office chair. It wants to inscribe itself right next to the golden CTW of my leather bag and be slung over my shoulder to be carried wherever I go (as if my purse wasn’t heavy enough). Pride likes to come home with me, go out with my friends, and sway right on in to church.

Now for the good stuff I actually had written first.

Proverbs 3:7-8

7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

While going through the She Reads Truth study on Proverbs, these couple of verses stuck with me (appropriately, while at work). Fear of God is not easily grasped, I frankly just don’t get it. It took some effort in digging. It’s easy to read those verses and take away Yup, you’re not always the smartest, don’t do bad stuff, it’ll be good for you, while ignoring the importance of the immediate alternative to believing myself to be wise.

Fearing the Lord is an issue of my confidence his holiness and seeing my great need to place myself under his good hand. I have been brought to just the beginning of understanding that fearing him includes recognizing and revering him alone as way higher and greater and holier than I-rather, highest, greatest, holiest of all, regardless of myself- all while being assured of who he is and who I am in him. In his faithful sovereignty he has placed me exactly where I am for my good and his glory. When I fear God I can live and work with confidence and contentment, certain that on him alone, not myself or my performance, is where holiness and fullness is found.

My wandering heart often expresses my gross need for recognition and approval of my own wisdom from others. It claims that I have what it takes to manage God’s glory for him where I have been placed. He has given me gifts of planning and organizing for this reason, right? If only people came to me for insight, my work place, the ministries I am a part of, or the community I am in would all be better off and the Lord would get more glory. Ew. But the depths of my seemingly normal frustrations speak just that.

If I do not fear the Lord, I put myself as greater. When I seek to control my own esteem, I am refusing to be under the Lord’s rule. I am acting as if he is not worthy, almighty, and good and that I am sufficient. I pray that I, Queen of the Minimizers, do not fail to feel the weight of sadness over the state of my heart and let it move me not to toxic shame and hiding, but to a renewed realization of my desperate need for God alone to guide and grow me. When I admit the Lord is still in progress of restoring the broken pieces still residing in my heart, I am comforted with joy that his perfect grace is completely sufficient for me. His constant grace is sufficient for the multitude of ways I don’t measure up, sufficient for the same mistakes that I think should cease from happening, and sufficient to carry my sin and shame. When he is allowed to work, his power is made perfectly enough (2 Corinthians 12:9).

When I recognize my need for God in all things due to the condition of my heart, I can actually rest. It may be the only instance that fear, usually bringing about the exact opposite, actually allows for it (God tends to do that, doesn’t he?). I no longer have to strive to be seen because I remember that the Lord, holiness and love embodied, has always seen me. He knows where I am and gives me true worth. I am a daughter of the Most High King. What. I may not like a situation but I can certainly appreciate exactly where I am and work my very hardest not because I am bound whether I like it or not but because I am free. I don’t make the plans anymore; holiness Himself sets them for me.  I am approved and cared for. I don’t have to assume I am lost and exhaust myself with the pursuit of finding out where I am headed because he guides my steps.

May our hearts fear the Lord and rest because while his holiness is way above our understanding and ability to handle, we can begin to wrap our minds around that being humbled and worshiping under it is the best possible place we can stay.

Catie

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