I’ve heard it said that where there is fear, faith cannot exist. I don’t believe that to be true. The further into recovery I go, I find that the only real test of my faith is when fear is present.
Andy Stanley just finished the second week of the new series Starting Over. I cannot take notes fast enough to absorb everything he is saying, which is why I watch his talks multiple times.
He highlighted several incredible affirmations in this last message. One that really got me thinking and led to this post was, “You only make peace with your past by owning your piece of the past.” Isn’t that profound and yet simple. Owning my piece of the past.
We all want peace in our lives. There is no better peace than that of reconciling the past. I never thought those two words (peace and past) could be used in the same sentence.
When I first stepped into recovery the thought of facing some of the unthinkable things I had done in my past was too much and almost kept me from ever getting sober. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. And I had every excuse known to man not to complete this task… “What if someone finds this notebook with these things in writing and uses it against me?”
“What if I die before I can go through this process with my sponsor and this is how people remember me?”
“What if my fiancé finds this and realizes I’m ‘damaged goods’?”
Fear. Fear had kept me bound for too long. Fear had kept me sick and spiritually paralyzed for years. Fear was keeping me addicted, drunk and compromised.
Faith showed up. Not in the absence of fear, rather in the midst of it. Six months after starting cleanup on the wreckage of my past, I sat down with Lia, my sponsor and 5 hours later we set those pages on fire and watched them turn to ashes. That was on a Fall California day in 2002.
I remember feeling the ash between my fingers. I couldn’t see what was next. I couldn’t see myself functioning as a productive member of society. I couldn’t see the plans that had already been laid out for me. Then God…
He sent Lia into my life to save me from self inflicted doom. I could have missed the many ways he was protecting and guiding me. She knew what I didn’t know at the time, that everything really was going to be alright. I wonder if she knew just how much better than alright they would be? Andy says, “When you own it, you dethrone it.” He’s right, ya know.
So now, today, in this moment, I ask God to replace my fear with faith. I ask him to direct my thinking and use my story for his glory. I ask him to continue to make beauty from those ashes that I rubbed between my fingers all those years ago.
Don’t underestimate the Creator of the Universe. He has a plan and it’s always better, bigger, and brighter than mine.
What do you think? Can faith and fear coexist or is the one who is fearful lacking faith?