Faith or Fear: Roots Run Rampant


Fear has roots with underground runners! Just when I think I’ve pulled the biggest, up crops another branch. I pull it, and off of that one, a myriad others, in all directions.

As a young adult, I realized I was a people-pleaser. I wanted people to like me, to approve of me, and for things to be peaceful, no conflict.

I dug into the matter. “There are weeds in this garden, Lord, help me pull them out by the roots and let your truth replace all the lies I believed!”

“If people get upset, you’re going to get hurt.” Yank. “I will wipe away your tears, bind up your wounds. A tender shoot I will not break.” (Ah).

“It’s all your fault!” Yank. “You were a child when you learned this, it was not your fault. Let me show you instead what is your responsibility now. . .” (Wha?)

“If you’re good, nothing bad will happen, so you must be bad because bad things happened.” Yank. “Bad things happen, regardless; look what happened to my Son.” (Oh).

One root led to another, until, looking up at the garden, it was disheveled. Some roots broke off, leaving tiny pieces and hidden sections that sprouted back up later.

“You’re a mess, you’ll never get this done.” Yank. “Let my Spirit guide you; I will send rain to loosen the soil, then the roots will give more easily. You are already perfect in my eyes, so don’t worry about it so much. As a matter of fact, how about you hand me those gloves and let me be the gardener now?” (Oh, okay).

That was over twenty years ago.

Gradually I got free. Free to say yes or no. Free to confront or let go. Free to choose according to what rang true in my gut instead of whatever others said. Free to live with the consequences, positive and negative, of my own choices. Free to learn and grow as a loved child would.

Fear still crops up, though. Just today I read a blog-friend’s post on fear and realized some new ones to take to the Gardener:

Without fear, I will be able to achieve my goals, which are huge, by the way. More on that later.

Your turn: fear or faith? What do you see as your biggest victory over something you feared, and how did you find the courage  to achieve it?

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18 responses »

  1. Oh my… I think you and I are very similar! I am a “people-pleaser” myself, though I now know how to say “no”. I’m becoming more and more reliant on the Lord, to do His will regardless of what others think. It’s a forward growing journey, and I don’t think I’m the one driving the bus haha. It’s encouraging to have others (you) who have experienced similar things and who I can look up to 🙂

    Great post, and thank you!!


    • Thanks, Ruthie! Isn’t amazing how, when we write, we seem to skip past the social pre-requisites for small talk and just touch each others’ hearts? I am pleasantly surprised to find this sort of life in blogging! I am happy to know God is driving the bus all around, young and old, for all of us who let Him have the wheel, and He’s still doing the greatest miracle of all: transforming us from the inside-out!


  2. Great post. I think one of the biggest fears I had to let go was the fear of what other people think.
    Over the past few years I’ve come a long way from living in fear. Learning about the brain, and the havoc it can wreak on our body when it controls our systems with adrenalin and cortisol….has made me very interested in NOT letting fear be in charge. I’m learning to live in love instead.


    • That’s wonderful! Yes, fear of what others think is a big one, especially for the NF’s (Myer’s Briggs Types), since we are wired to take in the “big picture” of how everyone feels, and weigh that in the decision-making process. That can be skewed by so many forces, and then, as you said, add in stress hormones, and we’re a mess!

      Living in love instead of fear, I would love to hear a story about how your fear of what others think transformed when replaced by love! Yes?


      • A short example would be that when you have full use of the front part of the brain, you can stay relational and keep the vision of who you are as well as who the other person really is in the forefront. (when living in fear…the back part of the brain is in charge and that clouds or vision with adrenaline and cortisol) so when I live out of love for someone I am able to see what’s best for us instead of fearing what they will think if I say something wrong. It works best if both people have stopped living in fear, but it’s possible even when the other person isn’t. I don’t think I’m explaining this very well though…This screen on my cell phone makes it hard to re-read and make changes!


          • Hmmm…one example would be when I started singing at church. I used to be really scared of what Johnny would think of me for the way I wanted to worship. But as I began to live more in love and less in fear….I was no longer concerned about his impression of me during that time. I was free to close my eyes, lift my hands and even kneel if I felt led. I realized later that Johnny actually loved how free I was in my worship.
            This “living out of love not fear” wasn’t so much about loving Johnny…as much as it was no longer fearing what he would think.This wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t been working on training my brain to stay in the front rather than in the back.


          • Beautiful! You released yourself to love God in the way that flows from your true self, which is also loving yourself, and led to more love between you and your husband. I would venture to guess this also led to many others in church feeling free to love God in their way, too.


  3. Joan, this is one of the best posts I’ve seen here. And not just bc you cited me or pinged off my thoughts LOL. I love your narration through and through, the images. Yes, incorrigible weeds. I was aware that I had just opened the Pandora’s Box. In fact, just dusting it off and bringing it to light was itself huge, I think. I like how you went on to “dig” for the possibility of victory. You might respell Gardener.

    Keep up the great work.




    • Lol, thanks! I read that you get more comments if you misspell on WordPress, but I assure you this was accidental! My sister’s married name is spelled the other way, so the automatic writing spilled out. Glad you enjoyed today’s post.


      • “you get more comments if you misspell on WordPress”

        WHAT?! Ugh.
        Just hit me that I prove the rule wrong, then. Referring to the no. of comments I’m honored with. =)

        Point being, ignore the dumb advice!


        • Yes, I must admit to another sin, secret envy of your comment sections! Sigh.
          Spelling has always been important to me, I really should use WordPress’ grammar and spell checker before publishing. Sometimes, though, it’s late and I just go with it, get it done and go to sleep. I consider it one of those freedom things, releasing the fear of errors, fear of correction. . . or, perhaps the fear of poor performance tomorrow (from too little sleep) simply outweighs those fears? Anyway, thanks again.


          • You really got me chuckling, Joan. Ok, you successfully used my fear post on (against) me. I think you’ll live longer than I’ll manage to. To choose sleep over words is wise. I just need to dive in (to bed), let go of those !@#$% standards.



          • This is an amazing undertaking, Race Around the World. Thank you for inviting me, I would love to participate. Shall we consider this my application?


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