I know I’ve already shared about the role of grace in overcoming fear, but I was struck by that phrase– and grace my fears relieved– in a new way during worship the other night. It was like God was whispering to my soul: “Do you remember when you used to be afraid? Do you realize what grace has relieved in your own life?”
I used to be afraid of God.
That seems to be what happens when you’re living a life controlled by addiction.
I was afraid of what God thought of me. I was afraid that He detested me, couldn’t stand the thought of being around me. I was afraid that He looked on in anger while I gave in to temptation.
I was afraid that God had turned His back on me.
I had tried so many times to be what I thought God wanted me to be– obedient and pure– but I failed every time. I was sure that God had finally given up on me. That if I even attempted to interact with Him that He would turn around and “walk out the door” without even a second glance.
I was afraid that things would never change.
By the time I reached my junior year of college, I had been caught in the grips of addiction for 9 years already. Every attempt to break free had ended with the chains wrapping even tighter around my heart.
During that year, I started to tell other people about my struggle. There seemed to be a glimmer of hope… a tiny flame in the darkness. But then my senior year was even worse. I was devastated. The flame of hope was extinguished, and I resigned myself to living the rest of my life as a hopeless, dirty, unlovable addict.
I was afraid of God. I was afraid of myself. I was afraid of other people.
But somehow, grace managed to find a way in and to relieve every fear.
Grace told me that God still loved me as fully and deeply and passionately as the day I was created.
Grace told me that God wanted nothing more than to be with me.
Grace told me that God looked on in sorrow because I was choosing to throw my life away… not anger, but sorrow because He wanted only the best for me.
Grace told me that not only had God not given up on me, but He had been pursuing me even as I ran from Him.
Grace told me that I was free, that God had already broken the chains, and that I could live differently than I had been.
Grace brought hope in the form of a blazing, inextinguishable light in my darkness. It was a light that exposed everything about me while bringing joy instead of guilt. It was a light that showed me who I really am: a chosen and beloved daughter of the King.
Fifteen years of addiction can build up a number of fears. But in a moment, grace can relieve every one.