Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

Facing my fear <3

www.laurareimer.net

Yesterday I heard a couple of different songs on the radio about fear and it reminded me of one of the exercises we did at The Pen and The Page retreat I attended in October last year.

I have mentioned before that we literally wrote during the various sessions and shared our writings if led. We were not critiqued on our style and composition. It was an opportunity for people who write to have the time and space to do that thing we love so much. 

Our leader would give us a topic, set a timer for 10 minutes and play instrumental praise music as we just let our pens do their thing with the thoughts and images that were flowing out of our heads. It was amazingly invigorating 

One of the topics one day was on emotions. We named a number of them, which I have listed below. I don’t remember if she assigned us ‘fear’ or if I just selected that. Our writing was to be as if that emotion wrote us a letter.

What would it say to us?

Our opening sentence should be “Dear ________, I am your _______ and this is what I want to tell you.”

This was a Christian conference and so if you are concerned it was some New Age experience, that is not the case. Every session and the whole conference were bathed in prayer with the invitation for the Holy Spirit to guide our writing sessions. 

As I said, I don’t recall if we all wrote on the same topic, but mine was on fear. I understand that some of you do not struggle with fear.

Fear is a healthy gift of God to warn us about danger or poor choices or whatever…but for those who do struggle with fear, like me, it can be a crippling sin that keeps us from trusting God. 

I entered the exercise that day doubting that I would have a clue what “fear” would tell me, but I just prayed for God to let me hear what this imposing emotion might say to me. I said I was open to hear its voice. I was taken aback by the sinister and manipulative nature of the emotion that poured out onto my paper. 

Today I want to share with you my writing that day for two reasons.

If you struggle with fear, perhaps you will become less passive toward its tyranny in your life and if you do not struggle with crippling fear, maybe someone you love does and it might give you a better perspective on why they are often held back from things that you think they should be doing. 

So here go:

Dear Laura, 

I am your fear and this is what I want to tell you. 

I have been with you since you were so little you don’t even remember a time not knowing me. I grip at your heart and hold you back to protect you. 

I keep you from getting too close to the edge because you might fall over. I help you remember all the ways things have gone wrong in the past, and I help you remember other people’s terrible outcomes so that you remain very careful. 

I have done a wonderful job, if you think about it. Most everything I have made you afraid of has never happened. 

On the rare occasions when you have not heeded me or circumstances were taken out of your control, I have intensified your responses and you have been such a good student. You have learned to repeat, “This was the very thing I was afraid would happen.”

This is good because you are growing to learn how to produce your own “what if’s” to keep the chances of experiencing the thing you fear ever present in your mind. 

Yes, it is true. I have robbed you sometimes of joy and of relationship and perhaps your lack of trust not only in God but in other people. 

But look what I have saved you from. Look how I have cushioned you securely in what you are comfortable in. 

Since we have been together for such a long time, I am your most familiar emotion. You know with me there are no surprises. What I lack in providing rich growth for you, I make up for in security. 

As long as you keep me close and allow me to lead you, you are much safer. Security is what you crave and I understand this. I will not let you down. I understand your deepest need. 

Sincerely, 

Fear

Well, my friends. The timer was not up when Fear signed off on that letter. 

I tell you I sat there and looked at my “fear” in a whole new light and I decided he had overplayed his hand. As I looked at what I had written I realized all my fears are really me trying to control outcomes so that I am safe and secure. 

It is sin for sure and revealed a lack in trust in God. 

I decided in light of the eye-opening experience and thinking on fears I have experienced over the years to use the time left to respond.

This was the result in the few minutes I had:

Dear Fear,

You are a liar and a thief. 

You have wasted so much of what God wanted to do in me and through me and I have played the fool by believing you. 

No snake has ever fallen on my head from the trees over me when I take walks, yet I have lost much joy in walking trails just thinking it was a strong possibility. 

The timer went off at this point and I scrawled my final sentence…

There is much more I would like to say to you. 

Sincerely,

Laura

In case you are wondering, I have a death fear of snakes and when I found out they actually are in trees, the thought of one falling on me as I walk or bike under branches is a reality for me. It is in the back of my mind and the possibility has made many a walk/ride a bit of an anxiety producer.

You all…here are some of the emotions/feelings/traits we called out to her at the beginning of the exercise that morning.

Doubt, strife, courage, joy, sadness, exuberance, jealousy, love, wisdom, regret, loss, shame, unforgiveness, rejection, bitter-sweetness, betrayal, peace, fear, pride, envy, anger, anxiety, depression, bitterness, greed.

We all experienced these at different levels and they can be good or bad, but they can all be comfortable places because we just ride along and do what they tell us. 

It seems that we are just wired a certain way, but I found that letting fear speak to me (which I confess I was afraid to do…) revealed its slimy back side. 

I can’t tell you how to call out the emotions that are overstepping their God-given boundaries in you, but I can pray for God to show them to you and help you see them for what they are and see Him for Who He is. 

Maybe you need to hear what Joy would like to say to you, or peace, or rejection…maybe wisdom needs a voice in your day. I don’t know. I just know it was an interesting exercise and I hope if you struggle with fear, you saw a different side of that critter today <3

We are so loved by God that He gave His only Son. 

No emotion in us can guide, save and love us like He can. 

Blessings…<3

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Why I hurt when you hurt…

www.laurareimer.net

When I wrote today’s date in my journal this morning, I kind of gasped. 

We are one week away from wrapping up the first month of 2022. 

Russ went to Austin this weekend to help John move. I had a couple of obligations that I had committed to so supported long distance. I have a tendency to fritter away time so I made lists and wrote out goals and stuck faithfully to checking things off. 

Family and friends were sweet and would text or call and keep me company in just the right amount to take up some space in a long stretch of alone time. I can be by myself okay for long periods of the day, but I do need contact with others and surely appreciated that our people know this <3

I also walked a lot. It was bitter cold, but I felt like I needed to get out several times a day and just be in the fresh air and sun that was available to my bundled up self. The cold is so drying and even though I wore good heavy gloves or mittens, my hands have felt the damage. 

Last night I woke with such a soreness in the corner of one my thumbs. One of the down sides of winter in the Midwest is cracked skin around the edges or ones fingers. I thought for sure I had some kind of major infection and got up to see what was going on, but it was just a teeny tiny crack right at the tip of the corner of one nail.

I slathered Vitamin E ointment on it and went back to bed. It still hurt and throbbed and robbed my of a little sleep for some time. 

But it made me think about a Bible verse. Because of course if I am awake in the night, I am praying and trying to think what words to pray and asking God to remind my of HIs Words. 

So this came to my mind. 

If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honored, the whole body will be happy.

1 Corinthians 12:26. CEV 

It is in a whole passage where Paul is explaining how we can understand the inner workings of the Body of Christ by literally looking at our own bodies. Different parts do different things. All the parts work together. Not one is more important than another. And so when we are sore in a muscle or a wound, our whole body suffers with it. 

It made me think of the many who are wounded and hurting in the Body of Christ right now. So yes, I am going to feel discomfort because we are all one unit. The discomfort makes me feel helpless, so I turn to God who is our help, and I pray. 

Prayer is effective not only because I am inviting God to work in others pain, but as I pray God reminds me He is in control. He reminds me that not only will He comfort and help the one for whom I am praying; He will comfort and help me too. Because we are all one Body, His work is universally applied to all of us. 

As the salve soothed the ache of that little cut, the rest of my body was able to relax and eventually fall asleep and rest and heal. 

We are blessed to feel the pain of others in the Body and to pray for them. 

I hope you know how much God loves you and how much others love you with His love <3

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It is a choice we all can make <3

www.laurareimer.net

As you may remember, one of the books I read in December was called Because of Bethlehem by Max Lucado.

When a book has something I want to remember, I will mark it up with underlining, notes in the margin and various exclamation marks, stars and hearts.

And yes, my exclamation marks often have a heart at the bottom. Glad you asked. 

In some cases, I know I want to apply what I have marked up so I will dog ear the page so I can go back and take notes. Can we just pause here and understand why I have a problem reading a whole lot of books each month and why our shelves are stacked full? 

Well, Max’s little Christmas offering is one of those with some pages flagged for me and I have spent some of my morning quiet time since the first of the year going back over those pages and either copying some of his words or actually doing the suggested exercises that accompanied his thoughts. 

www.laurareimer.net

I finished that task this morning and my final page was one that I reminded me again why we do love the Christmas season so much. It is hard to keep good words from others to myself, so I want to share some of them with you this morning. 

“God always takes the initiative – He blessed first, served first, comforted first, and most of all loved first. And then it is up to us. … Advent is a season where we, as Christians, seek to discover anew our first love and then to share that by blessing, serving and comforting others.” 

Max Lucado, Because of Bethlehem page 175, Harper Collins 2016

Isn’t that the good feeling that infuses all the preparations, decorations, purchases, entertaining of the Christian heart? Even as I read that this morning I thought back to this past holiday season and I could see where seeking to celebrate the birth of Christ fueled all the efforts I put into the holidays. It is the wonder that was the solid foundation for all the charms and fun and joy that the season gave us and it was the strength that held us in the harder parts of it. 

God took the first step towards us. God took the initiative to bring us back into relationship with Him. God came down to us and made it possible for us to be in fellowship again with Him. God is the father who runs to us and celebrates our return to Him.

Which Max captures with this portion of the closing pages of his book:

“God created celebration; He is the author of joy, pleasure and merriment. In fact, Jesus described the Kingdom as a great banquet to which everyone is invited (Matthew 22:1-14)”

“At Christmas we train our hearts for heaven by celebrating God’s miraculous gift of Jesus.” 

Max Lucado, Because of Bethlehem page 190-191, Harper Collins 2016

Don’t you love that?

All the ways we make the month of December special and crazy and hectic and amazing is training us in the art of celebration, heaven – style. We go out of our way to make everything extra and over the top, and that is just a glimpse of God’s heart for how to celebrate.

Just bask in that for a minute <3

He goes on to say that no matter what our circumstances might be during Christmas, we choose to celebrate and we choose joy. 

Like Silas and Paul choosing to sing in prison (Acts 16:22-25), we make the daily choice…from December to December and every day in between…to choose joy. 

No matter what. 

We choose JOY. 

Sigh.

Even as we take the twinkling lights down and some long, gray winter days lie between us and the first hints of spring…

In the circumstances we did not choose, we still CHOOSE joy <3

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