I was out among people yesterday, and with my root canal appointment (more on that here), I found myself a bit fearful. I was vulnerable and exposed to the potential of this virus. Tools and glove-covered fingers and who know what else were in my mouth. Yikes! I can’t think about that for too long, otherwise I get cringey. I wish I could have avoided having a root canal during a pandemic. Gracious.
After surviving my appointment, I stopped at a couple places before going home. And as did, I became even more fearful than when I was in the endodontist chair. I was fearful, mainly of those around me. Of others whose faces were partially blocked by their face masks. All I could see were their eyes, as all they could see were mine. All I could feel was fear, and normally I’m not a fearful person!
Has this happened to you when leaving your home?
Has this pandemic caused us to be fearful of our fellow man?
Could the woman in the grocery aisle be contagious? What about the man we meet on the street? Could he have the virus? Could I get it from either of them?
Thoughts like this alarmingly ran through my mind. I used to face the fear of missing out (FOMO), and now I realize I’m facing FOGO, the fear of going out. Can you relate? I mean, I feel safe at home. But out in public, I’m finding it’s an entirely different story. I don’t feel safe in public, and I realized yesterday, I fear being around others.
There, I wrote it. I put my feelings out there. We’re all about being real with one another here, right? But the thing is, I don’t like feeling this way. I’ve never felt this way before, and I don’t want to feel it now. As I sat in this realization and in my car outside of my next stop, Target, tears filled my eyes. I knew I had to get a grip. I had to somehow put my feelings into perspective. But, I couldn’t bring myself to going into the store. I just couldn’t.
So, I backed out of my parking spot and headed for home.
I thought about my fear the rest of the afternoon.
I prayed and I searched and sat in it awhile, thinking if I’m feeling this way, others must be, too. Those people I came in contact with might have been just as nervous behind their masks as I was. They could have been just as afraid of me as I was of them.
Then God showed me something. He showed me His love and truth in His Word:
There is no fear in love. Instead, perfect love drives away fear.1 John 4:18 NIRV
There’s no fear in love. Just what I needed to read!
I don’t believe God ever intended for us to be fearful of one another.
I don’t believe that is His best for us. Do you? He, instead, calls us to love. To love Him and love others. To love our neighbor as ourselves. How can we do that effectively, though, if we’re terrified of each other?
The thing is, the person behind that mask is probably just as nervous as we are in public. (And if we’re not nervous, we can remember others might be.) We can choose to love and not be fearful. To believe the best in others while keeping ourselves safe. To bring kindness into every interaction. All because of God’s love in us. All because of God’s love for us. His love is perfect.
It would be wise, also, to remind ourselves fear is not of God. Fear is a tool the enemy of our soul uses to debilitate us, to deflate us, to discourage us. Fear is nothing but a liar. This enemy would want nothing more than for us to be fearful of each other and to stop us from loving one another.
Because when we do that, he wins.
I pray we don’t let him win. I pray I don’t let him win. Sharing these thoughts in an Instagram post last evening, I am realizing I’m not alone here. Many of us are working through similar feelings and experiences. May it help reciting the above verse the next time we’re nervous, anxious, or fearful of our fellow man. That’s what I’ll be doing. And if you see me out and about, please remind me that “perfect love drives away fear.”
Now it’s your turn: Are you at all fearful when leaving your home? How are you dealing with anxious thoughts and fear-filled feelings? Any suggestions you can add to this post?
God bless you, friend. We’re learning new things about ourselves and others in this pandemic. So glad God is going before us in it all. Stay encouraged!
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