2019 Year of Fear

Hi friends.  Let me introduce myself.

I’m Becky, and I’m an Enneagram 6, with a strong 5 wing. 

Mostly a phobic 6, even. For those of you who haven’t done much reading on the Enneagram, I’ll explain: this means I can be a total in-my-head, neurotic, worst-case scenario thinking, wet-blanket, basket-case.  To make matters even worse, this “typing” firmly places me in the same camp as what most “Enneagram teachers” say the vast majority of people living in the 1st-world West are.  (Meaning: I’m depressingly ordinary). 

To illustrate, let me tell you a story. 

When I was in kindergarten, the firemen put on an assembly.  In one skit, a woman dressed in a flowing, gauzy, black gown – the embodiment of smoke – touched and put to sleep all the other characters so they did not know their house was on fire and could not escape.  As the red and orange fabric “flames” approached the slumbering characters, I burst into loud, terrified tears.   At this point, the entire assembly came to a screeching halt, and the woman in the black gown took off her gauzy black hat, audibly and visibly trying reassure me that it was just all pretend. 

She got me to stop crying and coerced me in front of God and everybody there at the assembly to agree that “this” was all pretend.  And “everything” was going to be ok.  But, even at 5, I could see the very real and present possibility of a house fire.  For months, even years afterward, I periodically lay awake in the night, wondering if my parents had checked the smoke alarms, (they most certainly had not, as flippantly cavalier as they were about such things), fretting that my little sisters might be too small to reach the bedroom window if there were a fire.  Closing the bedroom door (it’s harder for smoke to invade a room).  Chanting the “sinner’s prayer” because preparations likely had not been adequately managed.

And, that’s what it was like growing up as a phobic 6.

Oddly enough, I’ve never had an anxiety attack (head scratcher, I know). 

I thought I’d put my nervous anxiety behind me around the time my third child was born.  I was in a new, less tightly-wound place and really enjoying it.  But the same sense of dread came back with a vengeance this fall.  Dread hanging over me like a thick, yellow smog. 

I pled with God to just fix me, already. 

I’m tired of this.  I’m getting rather old for this.  Blah, blah, blah.  Same sentiments, different decade.  But then, I sensed the Spirit saying, “what if this anxiety is a trial of the James 1:2 variety?”  Consider it, pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work in you, that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So, rather than be embarrassed, angry and ashamed of my nerves, I’m considering it joy.  Well, asking God to help me consider it joy, anyway. 

I came across these words in a book I’m reading by Jan Johnson recently that ring true:

If I don’t like what my actions tell me about what I want, what do I want to want? // If we want to want God, our next step is to come to terms with our underlying fears.  We start where we are.  We invite God to work with us on these fears so we can begin drinking God’s living water.  God’s own Spirit, as Dallas Willard explains, ‘will keep [us] from ever again being thirsty – being driven and ruled by unsatisfied desires…Indeed, it will even become ‘rivers of living water’ flowing from the center of the believer’s life to a thirsty world (Jn 7:38).”

Jan Johnson, Abundant Simplicity

God, help me.  Help us.  Amen.

2 thoughts on “2019 Year of Fear

Leave a Reply