I’ve just realised that I’m scared. For a few weeks, probably months if I’m honest, I’ve held on to this unsettled feeling, I’ve dreaded dates in the diary and what the future might hold and unfortunately for Dave, I’ve been a bit fragile. Basically, I can go from happy to crying very quickly, which I think still scares and confuses him even though we’ve been married for 10 years so you think he’d be used to it by now.
With the way my life is right now, I think a lot of this fear is justified. It feels like everything is unknown. We’re running a coffee shop that’s also a charity, a base for mission into our community and the home to a new church (which is frightening and exciting in equal measures as well as bloody hard work). I have not been trained in any of this, I feel totally out of my depth and I’m scared. Dave’s salary from the church of England stopped two months ago and we’re now living on the gifts of our brother’s and sisters in faith, we have no pension and after June 2019, no house. I also feel passionate about my calling to the ministry of Saltwater and Honey, but I don’t know what that looks like or whether I have anything left to say.
I don’t want this to turn into a therapy session so I’m going to stop there. This morning I sat with Betsy on my lap and tried to work out where the fear came from – what was I so afraid of? Moving the obvious things aside, like having nowhere to live and no security for the future, I thought about all the projects I’m involved in and why they scare me and this is what happened.
Everything I’m involved in is new and different and there’s no guarantee any of this is going to work out.
I’m scared of what people think – of what I’m doing wrong or badly
I’m scared of failing
I’m scared of what people will think if I fail.
I’m scared that if this fails, there’s nothing left.
I’m scared that my life will have no meaning.
When I reached this final conclusion, I stayed in it for a while to work out where it came from and I realised that right at the source of my fear and striving is my belief that I need to work harder than others to create a life of meaning because I’m not a mother.
Somewhere deep down I believe that whatever I do needs to be really spectacular if it’s going to even come close to the matching the meaning attached to raising a child.
It sounds silly when I say it out loud, and I know from my friends who have kids that the question of purpose and meaning is just as dominant in their lives as mine. But I still hear all the comments and casual lines about how nothing is more important than being a parent, I still see the all the social media posts declaring parenthood is the most meaningful contribution you can give to this world. Somewhere deep down I believe that whatever I do needs to be really spectacular if it’s going to even come close to the matching the meaning attached to raising a child.
It’s back to identity again, it always is and as much I try to avoid cliches, I know my only way out is to go back to who God says I am. I know it all comes back to this and I know I’ll be relearning and battling with this concept for the rest of my life, but also I know it’s the only lasting way out of the fearful mess I find myself in. Love and fear cannot co-exist and, in the words of Rachel Gardner in her book The Girl De-Construction Project;
‘We either belong to our fear, or we belong to the God who loves us.’
I know which one I want and long to belong to.
‘God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgement Day – our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life- fear of death, fear of judgement-is one not yet fully formed in love.’ 1 John 4:16-17, The Message
God is love. I am loved. You are loved.
This June, when Sheila and I were praying about the Saltwater and Honey retreat day, the question ‘Who do you say I am?’ kept coming into our minds. Identity, purpose and worthiness are some of the deepest struggles facing those experiencing infertility, miscarriage and childlessness, but we can’t explore who we are in this space until we work out who God is first. You see, the question works both ways.
Whether found in the crowd, around the table, at the roadside or by a river, whether healed, demon possessed, sick, well, rich, poor, educated or outcast, every encounter with Jesus demanded a response to this question – who do you say I am? And it was the response to this question that changed lives – for better or worse.
it’s always the most broken who saw Jesus for who He truly was
What’s amazing is that it’s always the most broken who saw Jesus for who He truly was. It’s the outsider who called Jesus Lord, the sick who asked for forgiveness, the grieving who sought his comfort, those considered the most sinful by society who worshipped him as Lord. They were the ones who worked out Jesus’ true identity way before the disciples and it was this realisation that brought transformation, hope and healing into their lives.
Rather than start another day in fear, I spent time this morning reflecting on who God is in this moment and how much He loves me. I thought about the deep value Jesus places on the work I do for God’s Kingdom and the reward in heaven for those who have sacrificed homes and families for His sake. I imagined Jesus walking towards me on water as I sat in a boat, he held out his hand and invited me to join him in this life of love and adventure, rather than cling to the sides of my current reality with fear, he wanted me to join him on the waves because right now, as a pioneer, I know that’s where I’m meant to be.
Who do you believe Jesus is right now, in this moment?
So, wherever you are today, however you feel; whether you’ve started your day in fear or peace, grief or joy, lost or purposeful – pause for a moment, imagine Jesus is standing right in front of you asking ‘Who do you say I am?’ What would you say to him? Who do you believe Jesus is right now, in this moment? When you’ve answered his question, why don’t you ask him the same thing? Ask Jesus, ‘who do you say I am?’
Alternatively, you could book on to the Saltwater and Honey retreat day and we’ll try to work it out together xxx