I have an old houseplant, a golden pothos, that’s at least 15 years old, perhaps much older. Back in 2009 when we moved in to help my husband’s grandparents in their old age, Grandpa D had been caring for the plant for I don’t know how long. Back then it was big, bushy, with long trailing vines of green leaves variegated with yellow… it was thriving.
Grandpa D passed away in 2011, and from that point on, I cared for his plant. I call it the Grandpa Plant, or GP for short. GP has dwindled in the intervening years. I’ve tried propagating other plants from it. Some survived for awhile but didn’t really appreciate the move from California to Arizona, I’ve got one currently doing pretty well on the front porch though, so there’s hope for me yet. I’m not a natural green thumb. I’ve had to do lots of research and learn how to take care of these plants, even though they’re well known for being easy keepers. That fact alone is probably why GP is still alive.
Thing is, over the years, I kept GP in the same little pot he’d been in when I first moved in with the grandparents. I was afraid to move him to a bigger pot because I’d repotted plants before and they died. He grew root bound and in the last few months has really wilted badly. Finally the other day I took him out. He came out of the pot in two bits, one I put into a jar of water, the other with the root ball I did repot in good soil and put outside where he’ll get lots of indirect sunlight.
See, over those same years I’ve done some research. I’ve experienced plant growth and plant loss, I’ve tried things that did not work and learned not to repeat them, and I tried things that did not work because I did them the wrong way and finally figured out what I was doing wrong.
I’d grown in knowledge, but needed to grow into living without fear.
Let me tell you another story. I don’t like to spend money. It makes me nervous. I’ve never had a lot of money, so it’s odd to me that money is like a security blanket for me. I acknowledge this. When I have a little bit of money in my bank account I feel safer than when it’s only a few dollars away from being overdrawn.
But the other day, I woke up, realized I needed to get myself a new-to-me car, and by the end of the week I’d gone to the dealership and signed papers on a 2012 Honda. As I sat in the dealership looking at the papers I was signing, I wondered at how calm I was. I was able to be confident, chat with the salesperson, invite them to our church, and commit to a financial output that would have made me very nervous a few years ago. It was almost as if I were watching someone else make these decisions.
It wasn’t really as abrupt as that though. For the last six months, I’d done research on what car our family needed. We’d planned to buy a car all along, looked into what would work for us, knew our financial situation both in the past and what we’d be facing in the near future, and had specific things we were looking for in a new car. We’d planned to buy in March, but had put it off for a bit.
So when I say I “woke up one morning and realized we needed to get this car,” I really mean I finally felt as if we were ready, it was the right time, and I could rely on the research we’d done and the advice I’d been given to face salespeople and determine what I could afford and which car was the wisest for us.
I just wasn’t living in fear of this situation anymore.
Live Without Fear
Here’s where the Bible verse I’m thinking of today comes in:
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”John 14:27
Jesus is talking to His disciples here. It’s part of a long speech Jesus gave to them as they sat around the last Passover table, immediately before Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane where Judas would betray Him later that same night. Jesus spoke of all the things He had taught them, reminding them of His presence, giving them words that would comfort them later, telling them not to let their hearts be afraid in the coming trying times.
God wants us to live outside of fear, but He does not expect us to do this without preparation first.
He gives us the knowledge we need to be prepared.
He gives us wise counsel from others, words of peace from the Bible, reminds us of His faithfulness in the past, and encourages us to stand together so we can bear up those brothers who might be stumbling in the moment.
Living without fear is not natural in our fallen state. It takes knowledge of God, learning about Him, having a relationship with Him.
Join the Conversation
What makes you afraid?
When have you overcome that by learning more about God?