“Tricia, how can I stop living in fear? I’m worried that something will happen to the person I love. How can I keep this fear from paralyzing me?”
I posted this dialogue back in October, back when we were all roaming the aisles of grocery stores, like the people next to us were safe to be around. Back when a trip to Target was unquestionably essential, even if just to hit the Dollar Spot. Back when nobody was talking about the pros and cons of disinfectant in our veins.
Gracious. What a time to be alive.
Back then, the lifetime ago that was last fall, the question of what to fear was nebulous and vague. Now it’s specific and present, with a ticker tape update of the number of people who are dying from what we should fear.
It’s a real thing. Unquestionably real.
“How can I stop living in fear? I’m worried that something will happen to the person I love. How can I keep that fear from paralyzing me?”
This question, it’s so pure, honest, true, and real. How can I keep from being afraid all the time?
Here’s what I said to this person who trusted me to address their greatest fears.
Let’s talk about it this way. If you were going on a trip to Mexico next month (or next year, or next-far-away-date on the calendar, since ain’t nobody going anywhere next month), you wouldn’t carry around your airplane boarding passes this week, right?
You wouldn’t, because you don’t need them yet. It’s not time. And, you have other things you need to do with your hands in the meantime, so carrying around those boarding passes would be distracting. It would keep you from doing what you need to do right now, like sending emails and making lunches and loving people and living your life today.
You’d be like, I sure wish I could set these down. I don’t need them yet.
When you worry about what you can’t control, about what may – or may not – be waiting around the corner, you are trying to carry things you don’t need yet. You tie your hands, and you occupy your thoughts with things you don’t have to carry.
Here’s what I know to be true, because it happened to me.
In the moment of the Worst Thing, it is as if the Holy Spirit places himself in front of you, directly in your line of vision. And he says, “I know you weren’t expecting this change of plans, but I knew. I have gone before you and paved the way, and I have everything you need. Here is your boarding pass for the next leg of the trip. I love you, and I’m with you. Did you catch that? I’ll go with you if you invite me along.”
And then he holds out his open hand, he equips you with what you need. Just in time.
When a crisis hits, God hands you a boarding pass. It’s called Grace.
He’ll give it to you when you need it, and not a moment before it’s time. You don’t need to hold it yet.
Keep your mind – and your hands – free for today. It’s all you have to hold.
(So, now that your hands are free, go on over and wash them again. I mean, let’s not go crazy with our fearlessness.)