This article is part of a series that I have written on PTCD called Post Traumatic Church Disorder. If you want to read the series, please search on the site using the abbreviation – PTCD.
This is the most repeated commandment in the Bible. It was spoken to Joshua as he was about to enter the promise land. It was spoken by the angel to Mary as God’s plan was revealed to her. It was spoken to the disciples in the midst of the storm.
A commandment that we as frail humans need to hear. Maybe because a relationship with God is built upon faith, and fractured by fear.
© 2011 amboo who?, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio
Fear has always come between humans and God.
It was fear that drove Adam and Eve to hide in the garden. It was fear that caused the disciples to scatter. It is fear that drives us to endless diversions to escape the reality of our world.
When it comes to PTCD, we are frozen by fear. We fear those who claim spiritual authority. We fear the Bible because of how it had been used against us. We fear anything that reflects our past trauma as it may subject us to flashbacks that return us to our place of abuse.
God commands us to not fear. Fear is instinctual when faced with the unknown.
As a child, I awoke from a late afternoon nap to find myself alone in a dark house. Muffled voices emerged from somewhere outside the house. A fire blazed in the darkness. I became afraid, and did what any normal child would do.
I grabbed a flyswatter and ran to the front porch. (Okay, so maybe I wasn’t quite normal.)
Once there, I huddled down in the darkness waiting for something to happen. Something bad. Apparently something – that I could overcome with my tightly-gripped flyswatter.
In my fear, I didn’t see any other options.
I could have turned on some lights. I could have pushed away fear to realize that the spooky house was still my home. I could have overcome my emotions to realize that the voices were strangely familiar.
In the midst of your fear, there are other options.
You may not see them. You may need someone to see them for you. You may need someone to talk you through them. You may need someone to hold your hand.
© 2012 Eric Eberhard, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio
These options require faith.
In the darkness, I can reach for a light. In my panic, I may recognize the voice. In my isolation, I can find those who care. I can exchange my frozen fetal position into a bold, running embrace.
For this is the life of faith.
Be Strong and Courage. Do Not Be Afraid for the Lord your God is with you, wherever you will go. Joshua 1:9