Before I knew Christ, I wasn’t afraid of no man, woman, child, entity, thought or idea. Now in this walk, I’m afraid to cross the damn street without thinking that this might be the decision to take me out.
There’s a lot of things that I would hem up young Ciara for but her fearlessness wouldn’t be one of them. I legit wasn’t afraid of anything. I remember sitting at work, hatching up plans to go do something, mapping out how to get there and doing it. I did it all by myself because it was something that I wanted to do. I discovered a lot of Washington D.C. that way, losing the fear to go visit the big city on the hill.
I don’t know if I was operating from a space of survival when my Dad was in the hospital. I was paying a mortgage, utilities, running on empty to keep things afloat. When my Dad died, I went up to the courthouse by myself to file estate papers, cleaned out my childhood home. Whatever fears I had about living and breathing in a space of mourning did not exist. But then I started to make mistakes and had to be saved from those mistakes. That’s where the fear grew.
God had to come grab me out of the muck and mire of my decisions. Ever since then, I believe that I can’t make a healthy decision to save my life. Should I go here? Should I do this? No, Ciara, you shouldn’t. It’s not going to work and God is going to have pull some strings to get you out of this mess. It crippled me into irrational fear about making simple decisions, about standing up for myself. I fear making phone calls, I fear asking for help. I fear going places. I fear saying no. I even fear breathing. Why? Because God sometimes saves me from my existence. As if my existence is the wrong move to make.
All of this fear is the antithesis of what it means to truly be in this walk with Christ. All this talk about faith over fear, having faith as “small as a mustard seed.” Faith as the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11 is a chapter all about having faith in the face of fear and the unknown and how we as believers now benefit from that faith. But I live in fear of following the blueprint that my forefathers laid for me. I fear allowing for God to tell me to do something fearless and ultimately failing at it. I fear being wrong about what God has called for me to do. I fear not following the Word, I fear bearing false witness. I fear it all.
One of my faith mentors told me that the beauty of growing older in the walk is that eventually you stop thinking too much and start living life. The walk gets easier that way. It ain’t about figuring out everything God is trying to do in your life or about deciphering what call is to be followed. It’s about waking up — by the grace of God — and doing what we’ve all been called to do: to live fully and trust God. You learn to do your job. Our job description as disciples is mad easy: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. God doesn’t want us to be the CEOs of our lives, he adores our worker bee selves.
But we’ve build a faith that uses fear to bring in believers. The fear of Hell, the fear of damnation, the fear of God’s wrath. After reading Revelation for the first time, I see how people use that book to scare a non-believer into the walk and call of Jesus. Fire, brimstone, schisms, beasts, marks. I’d be shaking in my boots too. But then I read Revelation as a call of what happens when you do have faith, what you will be spared from in those last days, when heaven and Earth reunite. That I’m game for.
If I don’t scare myself out of it first.
This is my attempt to write every day in July. To read more, follow the hashtag #wedj2019!