Yesterday, a huge wasp plopped down on my computer. It was just hanging out, listening to music from my iMac speakers. And this very same wasp taught me how to face my fears.
I had two options: to freak out, scream, and try to kill the dang thing, which would probably end in up me getting stung. OR, I could use a little bit of sense, and choose to patiently let the wasp hang out on my computer for a little while and slyly move my computer outside, no killing involved. So after listening to music with the bee for a couple minutes, I finally mustered up the courage to move my computer outside, where the wasp could be free.
FACING A WASP IS A LOT LIKE FACING YOUR FEARS
It made me think: facing a wasp is a lot like facing your fears.
These fears can come in many different forms. Through insecurity, circumstance, and even people.
Sometimes, God will expose things in our own lives that are maybe not full of sunshine and rainbows. He’ll show us our deepest insecurities and identity-issues that are not rooted in Him, where we will look at them just like we’ll look at a wasp, and think, I do not want that there.
Life circumstances can also evoke fear. Like a sudden breakup, or quarantine, or the end of college. We look at these things we are terrified of, and we think, I do not want to deal with this. I need to get this OUT of here.
Or maybe it’s a person that we just cannot stand. We get annoyed with everything they say, and we think, I just can’t have this person in our lives anymore. We do not vibe. Our enneagram numbers are not gelling correctly.
So we take certain measures to get rid of what we don’t like. For example, we will feel the uncomfortable emotion of sadness, but we busy ourselves so we don’t feel it. Or we get our hearts broken, and to keep our hearts safe from anymore hurt, we put up walls and vow to never love again. Maybe we are scared of the unknown of the coronavirus and this season, so we try to numb ourselves with excessive shopping and binge-watching.
But what if instead of acting on our fears, we sat with them? What if we instead of getting rid of them quickly, we let them teach us something, let them grow us? What if we let God work in our hearts through the thing we don’t like, ultimately shaping us in His image?
IT’S TIME WE STARTED LEARNING FROM WHAT WE DISLIKE.
We can’t just get rid of emotions that we don’t like, because then that emotion might come back to sting us in a different way. We can’t just run away from something we are terrified of, because that’s not how you heal.
You heal by looking at your fears/insecurities/yuckiness, learning from them, and letting God teach you His grace in those messy spaces.
We have to let the fear come in, we have to let it teach us something, we have to look at what we can take from it in order to grow.
THE GUEST HOUSE POEM
It reminds me of Rumi’s poem, The Guest House:
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.— Jellaludin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks
It’s time we stopped swatting at our fears, and decided to work with them.
Quarantine you just can’t escape from. Instead, let this time teach you patience. Let it expose things in your heart that God wants to free you from.
Eating disorders you can’t just get rid of overnight. Let God show you the lies you’ve been believing about yourself, and let yourself grow closer to how God sees you.
Heartbreak you can’t just run away from. Whatever grief you’re walking through, do the craziest thing and let yourself feel the pain of losing something or someone you love. Let the pain move through you, bringing you closer to God and even closer to wholeness.
SIT WITH IT, THEN LET IT GO
There’s a big difference between completely killing something and letting it go, and it’s all in the intention. Getting rid of something is with the intention of getting something out of our lives that is unwanted. But letting something go means acknowledging its power over your life, and allowing yourself to finally walk in freedom.
While the wasp was hanging out on my computer, instead of freaking out, I decided to sit with it. I acknowledged it’s presence. I let it hang out for a while. A huge fear of mine and I could sit in the same room and stare at each other. Then, after a little while, I eventually moved it out onto the roof and let it go.
Let’s approach our own fears the same way. Whether it’s an insecurity, emotion, circumstance, or person – let’s acknowledge its presence. Let’s hang out with it for a while. Let’s see what we have to learn. And after we’ve grown and we’ve learned and we’ve experienced God’s grace in it, we can finally let it go.
Just as we can free an ugly wasp into the Spring air, we can let go of the fears we were once enslaved to. We can walk as daughters of God, letting go of what once was, and making room for the beauty that is to come.