Friday, November 1, 2013

Trading Fear for Faith (Complete)

The Mama Bear mentality; I see it a lot in the blog world and my everyday life.  I understand the need to protect our children and to do our best to make sure those that have wronged them are set straight or punished.  I get it… I do.  But is that what we should be doing as moms?  Are we to defend them with claws bared and teeth showing?  Or are we to show them how forgiveness looks?  No claws, no teeth, just a healthy understanding of how the world works and a heart that has no room in it for hate and anger?

I pose these questions after a very trying week; a moment that started out as a simple inconvenience, later a sad revelation and finally the mouth drooping realization that my trust was misplaced.  And some of the fault was my own.  Not because I allowed someone to scam me or others, but because I knew there was something wrong.  I felt it to my core but didn’t face it because the reality is I spent the better part of my working life in an area where I dealt with these same things.  I didn’t leave the job because of that.  Truth is I liked that part.  The discovery, the puzzle pieces and the final call you made confirming all that you suspected with proof in hand.  

But this wasn’t work.  I wasn’t paid to find the bad guy.  Instead I happened upon it because of an emergency where I was needed in order to keep things afloat.  And more importantly I had to be the one to stand between the ugliness of the world and the reality of my daughter’s everyday life; a safe haven where she can be herself, the crazy kid who sees music and feels art.  And I wanted to be that shield.  I still do.  But I can’t, at least not always.

The easy thing to do is get mad.  Anger comes fast for many, slow for others but either way it still shows up as a burst of raw energy.  You can release it and in that moment you don’t care about the damage you leave behind because you feel justified.  You think there are no consequences because in your mind the person who betrayed you and your child deserves it.  It was coming to them; karma and bad vibes, the reckoning of their misdeeds.  

But I disagree.

Mind you, I don’t want to, but I have to.  The simple truth is we’ve all wronged someone at a certain point.  Many of us might shake our heads in denial but others can instantly think of a moment in their life where they made a decision they thought they’d never make; a time where emotions played a factor in their judgment even though their brain screamed no.   

And if that moment hasn’t happened to you, it will.  And many times those tough decisions come after you have children.  When you’re faced with the task of raising another human and you think you’ll do it all right, but go to bed at night thinking of all the things you did wrong.  Even on our best days we wonder how we could have done it better.  

Sometimes we forgo faith and chose to cling to fear.  Fear we understand.  Like anger it’s an easy emotion.  It usually comes when we feel we don’t know the answers.  We have all the questions, but no solutions.  So we do the things we never thought we would.  We try to fix it with whatever we have available.  We call it our wits and pride ourselves in using our survival skills but the truth is we don’t trust our faith to guide us.  

We look for the easy path, we grab what is closest to us and convince ourselves that the consequences either don’t matter or won’t catch up with us.  We’re too busy patting ourselves on the back instead of humbling ourselves to others or to God.  It’s not easy.  I know that.  I’ve never prayed to be humbled.  Humbling isn’t pleasant and it’s certainly not something I would ask for.  But when you open your heart, take the leap and allow God to guide your steps… humbling happens.  

Psalms 118
Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.  The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.   What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.

As a person who has made poor choices, who has hurt others without knowing or without thought of consequences, I can tell you that when a Christian makes a decision based on fear instead of faith, he will always be humbled.  He will always face consequences.  And he will always regret his decision.

As a Christian who has been on the other side of someone else’s poor choices, hurt feelings and standing in the destruction created by others, we have to choose forgiveness.  As much as we feel justified in straightening someone out or handing out punishment, we don’t have that right.  We gave that up when we put our faith in God. 

Faith allows us to fight fear with forgiveness. 

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