editor’s note :: i’m taking a break this month to work on a new manuscript. some of my closest friends have agreed to fill this space in my absence with their thoughts on bravery and what it means for our faith. you can read the rest of the posts here. today, shae shares her words. These days I have to will myself to wake, when the shrill shriek of tick-tock-time's-up severs through my dreams. In that moment, as my eyes hinge open and "my doubts start to gather" (as Relient K aptly sings), the most terrifying thought for me is this:
Put your feet on the ground and stand up.
It is terrifying because I don't know what's going to happen after I excavate myself from under the covers. Sure, I'll have breakfast and shower and brush my teeth (in no prescribed order), but then what?
I whimper a little and plant soft, warm soles against hard, cold floor. Terrified.
I quit my job close to six months ago - it wasn't working out. Call it stupid or ungrateful or naive, and maybe it was all of the above, but I call it a kick-up-the-butt in the right direction. Since then, I've been freelancing. You laugh - we all know it's just a fancy word for trying to get work (hopefully, with fingers crossed) in an area you're relatively skilled in.
It seems to me though, that the more I fight to find what fuels me (and let's be honest, puts a few pennies in the purse), it's like doors have been shut, are sliding closed, are slammed in my face or set alight. Occasionally there's a window, but doors are a lot easier to get through standing up.
So it remains: that terror. The terror that grabs hold of my gut when the sun meets the skyline, as I cement stubborn feet one at a time, to the freezing floor. The terror is there every time I have to rise. It's there after a business meeting, as church draws to a close, when I have to get out of my car, leaving a coffee shop after catching up with a friend. The words resound:
Put your feet on the ground and stand up.
The stab of "deer in headlights" terror leaves me with about a second and a half to decide what I'm going to do. There are two options: I can shrink back and skulk my way through the day. I know I'll make it, but I'll sleep later, bitter and exhausted from effort. Or I can plead for a strength that is not my own; a strength that not only gives me the power and will to stand, but empowers me to fight and press on when I feel I have no where to move to. I plead to Jesus.
Here is Jesus who has seen terror up close. I have no doubt he - my perfect Jesus - faced terror as he stood before the tree-limbs nailed together in the shape of a cross. The wood he would, and did, hang on left no room for confidence or calm as the crowds mocked and taunted and beat.
But my Jesus knew the source of His strength - not His own, but from He that gives all things: God. He that overcomes, and overcame, all weakness: God. He, who's perfect love drives out all fear, terror, despair: God.
History has been made when standing at the feet of fear. (I bet they're massive feet too!) Noah knew the flood would come. Moses would appear before Pharaoh and be turned down again and again. Moses raised his staff to the Red Sea before death swarmed. Daniel was thrown into the lion's pit. Joshua was not even half the height of the walls of Jericho. Gideon had only ever known fear before God met him on the threshing floor. Mary was pregnant - a virgin - with the Christ.
Truth: Jesus has overcome - He is with you.
Tomorrow when terror tries to take its toll and I'm torn between pulling the covers back over my head and edging my toes towards touching down, I will tell my heart to sing:
"In the morning when I rise. give me Jesus. When I am alone. give me Jesus. When I come to die. give me Jesus. You can have all this world, but give me Jesus."
BIO :: Shae writes avidly between trying to find her voice and her purpose. She lives in storytelling South Africa and fills her time with good books, good friends, good music, and good wine. She loves coffee and cats, but can't stand balloons. She enjoys a good run or a hard game of squash, and is a relatively skilled musician. She believes in hope and grace and trusts the merciful, and sometimes messy, makeover in an ongoing process of redemption.