I stood sedately on the sidewalk – waving and blowing kisses to my eldest daughter. There she was, on a bus, leaving for church camp. Other than visiting grandparents, she had never been away from home – and had never left all of her siblings behind. I was entrusting my first born to strangers.
I appeared calm. I smiled and caught the kisses that she blew through the bus window. I gave her a thumbs up as the driver pulled out of the parking lot. I continued to wave until I was certain that she could no longer see me. On the inside, however, I was a mess. I wanted to run onto the bus and remind her to wear her sunscreen and brush her teeth. I was filled with fear of all of the what-ifs: car accidents, mean girls, lonely nights and pedophiles disguised as camp counselors. Fear is a slippery slope, y’all.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear… – 1 John 4:18
I should know because I have lived a lifetime of it. I never went to church camp – never. I went on my first sleepover when I was my daughter’s age. It was just down the street at my cousin’s house. I didn’t even make it through the night.
It seems minor – silly even. That kind of fear, however, has controlled me for much of my life. The fear of being embarrassed, of not fitting in, of saying the wrong thing or wearing the wrong thing, of not being seen, of not being significant, of not being enough – it’s paralyzing. And it’s pride. Yes, pride. Whether you spend your time thinking you’re great or you spend your time thinking you’re not – you are still spending your time thinking about self. It’s paralyzing and prideful all at the same time. Also, it’s not of God.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self control. – 2 Timothy 1:7
I want them to love.
I want them to learn.
I want them to live.
I want them to dare to be different. I want them to laugh at themselves and at the days to come. I want them to take huge leaps of faith. I want them to risk failure.
I want them, in the end, to be able to say, “I lived a life of faith and not of fear.”