I’ve lived most of my life in fear – of everything. As a child, I was afraid of spiders, heights, the unknown, changes, a new school/classroom/teacher, making new friends, trying different foods, death, sin, climbing a tree, strangers. You name it, I was likely at least apprehensive about it, but usually it was downright terror, that paralyzing, take-your-breath-away horror.
Of course some fear is perfectly warranted, like the fight-or-flight response to danger or a bear in the woods, for example. But my fears were about life – I couldn’t live, because I dared not step outside of what was known and comfortable. I didn’t want to fail. I didn’t want to be wrong. I didn’t want someone to ridicule me or mock me. Worst of all, I didn’t want to be ostracized or ignored.
So fear was the ruler of my decisions, thoughts, and attitudes. I was painfully (terribly painfully) shy as a kid, deeply self-conscious, and struggled to speak up or introduce myself to someone who might become a friend rather than foe. I just assumed that everyone saw me as I saw myself – pretty much worthless, a nerd, and a nobody.
So, so tragic, isn’t it? But most of us, if we’re honest, live like this – or at least have, at some point in our lives.
As a young adult, I said to myself, “No more.” I thrived in college, and somehow I found my voice that had been latent all those years growing up, when I believed I couldn’t be myself or discover the mission God had in mind for me. So I immersed myself in daily Mass, daily reading of Scripture, and volunteered for several ministries as a young adult.
It was the springtime of my life, but little did I know that the dark night was just around the corner, ready to test my faith, just in case it wasn’t really “tried in the refiner’s fire.”
And then, my friends, when I was a fledgling writer (and still very much am), I stumbled across author Sonja Corbitt, a woman whose grit and grace somehow congealed in this powerful, yet kind, way. When I read her book, Unleashed, I was convinced that Corbitt was really just like me in many ways. She “got it.” She understood life and wrote about it in such an honest, but often humorous, way.
So I couldn’t wait to read Fearless. In fact, I picked it up right away and read it in its entirety within days. It was so convicting, so raw and transparent. The beauty of Corbitt’s often concealed humility is that she, like many of us, doesn’t see it. She knows her weaknesses – essentially, she knows the enemy we all face (the devil, the flesh, and the world), and she writes about it in Fearless.
Fearless isn’t intimidating. It’s not one of those diabolical tell-all tales we may have read by an exorcist. She talks about ordinary diabolical activity, not the extraordinary possessions or infestations. So you can rest assured that Fearless will be your companion, one that will open your eyes and your heart, so that you may grow in both self-knowledge and knowledge of God’s mercy and love for you.
My favorite chapter was “A Fearless Desert.” This was likely the most convicting chapters for me, one that nearly took my breath away. Consider Corbitt’s words to encourage and challenge you and me:
Like all those who have trod the road before us, the lonely aridity of the desert is where I too learn fearlessness in trusting him for all my needs and desires. In fact, there is no biblical person of heroic faith and no saint I have ever studied who did not spend a significant amount of time in the desert (p. 126).
Necessarily, the desert is empty and comfortless: water and food (consolations) are scarce…A metaphor for both life and death, the desert can be a place of hopelessness or one of purposeful contemplation and prayer. But the desert is actually God’s primary training ground. It is in the desert that you become fearless and learn to trust with abandon; you should cling to this promise when you find yourself there (p. 127).
How encouraging! These words are only an excerpt of a book that draws us to become courageous saints of our times, to become daring and bold in zeal, to not shrink in terror but to cling to our God with total surrender and abandonment. We rest in His love, and He rests in us. What a beautiful treasure to add to your bookshelf, a timeless one for sure.
Text Copyright 2016 Jeannie Ewing, all rights reserved.