Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The opposite of fear

If you've been reading here for any length of time, you know that I am a little bit preoccupied with not being fearful. It doesn't surprise me that God commands us in the Bible to not fear. Most word counts come up with 365 different instances of the phrase, 'Do not fear', occurring. That's a lot of repetition... it makes me think it might be something important.

In my journey to identify and root out fear in my life, I have realized that there is an awful lot of stuff that we (or at least I) do whose root cause is fear, but I haven't identified it as fear. Once I am able to identify what is really going on and realize what it is exactly that is causing the fear, it is much easier to deal with.

But I've had another revelation that has caused me to wonder what, exactly, is the opposite of fear. It would seem it would be courage, but I'm not so sure. I'm beginning to think that the opposite of fear is trust, because once again, my child from a hard place has brought me closer to God.

First there was this blog post about Counting the Cost of Adoption - Raw and Real. I completely understand where she's coming from. And while this is not the place where I live the majority of the time, I'm in this place often enough that I'm not sure whether to cheer or cry that she nailed the life of a therapeutic parent so accurately. Because sometimes I do live in this place and it's scary.

It's scary because sometimes progress can seem so slow. It's scary because sometimes hope seems very elusive. It's scary because you just can't imagine the next untold years of your life dealing with these same issues over and over. You want to lock yourself in the bathroom and just scream, "Why can't he get it? Why can't he just understand that we're in this for the long haul? We're not going away. He can trust us because we love him. Why can't he get that through his think little head?!"

And once again, God has used my relationship with my son to show me the truth of my relationship to Him. I am utterly convinced that God uses human adoption to demonstrate what it has cost Him to adopt us. Adoption is messy and painful and hard and tragic and redeeming and beautiful and miraculous; both the adoption of children into a family and the adoption of humans into God's family.

As I sat there mentally running through my list of all the reasons why my son should trust me and how I demonstrated my love to him every single day and why he should just get over himself and see the truth for what it was, I realized that I am no better than my son at seeing the truth. Because is my son's continuing fear of losing parents (again) and lack of trust in the face of expressed love any different than I how I react toward God? Over and over God has shown me (sometimes in pretty amazing and tangible ways) how much He loves me. I have known God for a good long time now and while I may not understand everything that He does, I have enough history with Him to know He has my best interests at heart. I know He loves me. But the second I don't get my way or life feels precarious or events happen that I didn't necessarily want, I start to fear. I fear that this time God won't come through or maybe He doesn't really have my best interests at heart or maybe He doesn't really want my son to heal. Maybe I just need to take the reins of my life back into my own hands because it's scary to let someone else have them.

Just like my son does to me.

It all boils down to trust. The thing that traumatize, attachment-challenged children have the single most difficulty with. And sometimes with God I am just as dysfunctional as the most RAD-labelled human child with his adoptive parents.

It gives me new insight into my son. Because it is hard sometimes to trust God even when I have a whole lot of (positive) history with Him. My son has a whole lot less history with me, and since I am far-from perfect it's not all positive. Yet God is exceedingly patient with me, and He calls me to mirror Him in my parenting with my son.

It's a good thing I'm not in this alone. I will continue to learn to let go of my fear and trust my heavenly Father  while my son learns to let go of his fear and trust me.
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Angie Butcher said...

Beautifully said - and applies to many life situations where we struggle to trust.

sandwichinwi said...

Amen and amen.

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