In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
Can I make a confession?
There are a lot of things I am afraid of. The girl in gym class who cowers and covers her face when the volleyball comes flying toward her? Yeah, that girl was me.
And yes, I pretty much never got picked first in dodge ball.
I haven’t stepped foot into a movie theater since the Colorado shooting happened back in 2012. At times, watching the news or scrolling through my Facebook feed is enough to make me want to crawl back in bed, hide all my kids in there with me and pull the covers up over our heads. Some nights I am awake for far too long because I can’t stop being fearful for my children’s safety and well-being.
I read a phrase yesterday that has stuck with me – safety is an idol. In biblical terms, an idol is anything that we put in the place of God. In the Old Testament, idols were physical objects – wood and iron and bronze and gold. For us, idols are usually things we can’t see or touch – people and relationships and dreams and fears. We believe that if we just get the thing we idolize then everything will be all right – that we will be “saved”.
I think of Jesus calling Peter to walk towards Him on the water, and how Peter’s first few steps were bold and unafraid. And then, as if his brain caught up with his feet, he lost his boldness and faltered. I think of Jesus’ life and how he boldly spent his days with people, society would have deemed ‘unsafe’, and ultimately ended his life in the most unsafe of ways – by being tortured and hanged on a cross.
In my life, I may think I’m being protective, loving, concerned…but what I’m actually doing is making safety my idol. It’s me clenching my hands tight around the things I love instead of releasing my grasp and entrusting them to my Father. It’s the enemy at his best, convincing me that events, people, things, are to be feared and that I am in control.
Of course we need to make wise decisions – but there is a fine line between wisdom and fear.
So much of our human behavior is dictated by fear. Fear of rejection, of being unloved. Fear of being alone or of not having worth. Fear of emotional or physical pain. Fear of people who are different than we are. Fear of betrayal, financial uncertainty…the list can go on and on.
Father, with so much uncertainty around me, help me to be bold in my pursuit of you. Open my eyes to the path you are calling me on, and help me live with my hands open and my gaze fixed on the peace and safety that comes with eternity.
Miranda is the co-founder of a women’s organization called Nourish, which encourages women to develop real and authentic community. Her passion for seeing women connect stems from spending many years as a single mom, always feeling like an outsider looking in. She has a background in human resources and social media and loves to blog in her (not so) spare time. She also serves as the Director of Social Media for End Slavery in Charlotte, an organization that fights human trafficking on the local front. She lives with her family in Charlotte, NC where she spends the majority of her time answering to the name Mommy and daydreaming about her next cup of coffee.