Episode Nine of The Biggest Loser was about facing your fears. Though fears seem a big enough obstacle themselves, they are really just cover the surface of something much, much deeper.
Things are never as they seem. They are always deeper.
Gina shares that she is claustrophobic, but beyond physical claustrophobia, she is afraid of people getting too close emotionally. So afraid that she sabotages relationships, which then causes her to put up walls, and then start another relationship, and then sabotage it, put up more walls, and the cycle continues.
Jackson wants to prove to himself that being ‘in the real world’ after being on the show is doable. He is afraid of going home and not being able to continue what he began on the ranch.
A man of few words, Jeff was afraid of failure and not living life to its fullest.
Joe is afraid of sharks, which is just his cover for his fear of not being in control. He doesn’t like swimming where he can’t see what is around him because he can’t control it. As he swims his 500 meters to shore, Bob says, “The more control you lose, the more you gain in the end.” Joe walks onto the beach with a huge smile, shark-bite free and satisfied with his accomplishments.
Danni is afraid of singing in public. After her performance on the show, Danni and Jillian talk about why she has not pursued singing. Danni has always thought things needed to be perfect in order for her to be happy.
“I’ve been searching for this perfection in everything I do and all the time it’s not possible. It’s the imperfection, the struggles, the days of good and bad that get you through and make you a whole person,” Danni reflects. Danni longs to be whole.
It is easy to believe lies. It is easier to operate from a place of defeat rather than victory. I’m not exactly sure why. It is hard to be healthy–physically, emotionally, spiritually. It is a lot of work to daily die to fears and live in the midst of risk.
In talking with the church, John says, “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) Because we are in Christ, and He is love, there is no fear. He gets rid of it. When you sink into Christ, when you sink in to who He says you are, when you decide to stop living from the lies, fear is replaced with love. This love gives hope. It gives life and freedom.
The Lord’s timing is always amazing. The day before this episode on facing your fears aired, I had faced one of my lifelong fears: I held a chicken.
This is not a big deal for most people. I, though, have always been petrified of any winged creature that may have the potential to fly at my face. Chickens, birds, bats, geese, ducks, etc. Not.A.Fan. This fear was born when I was five and a bat flew at me as it came in my house one night. It progressed a few years later when I had to collect eggs from the chickens on our small farm.
So what possessed me to hold a chicken last week?
I had spent that week in the midst of inner turmoil. There had been some difficult and semi-confrontational conversations happening among the Body of Christ of which I am a part. Being a non-confrontational person, my spirit did not handle it well. All week I felt like I was going to explode and I could not figure out why. I’ve never liked confrontation, even in the smallest forms, so the obvious answer is that it had something to do with that. But, again, things are never as they seem: there was something deeper happening.
As I sat waiting to have coffee with a friend, Christ revealed to me how much I have let fear run my life and stop me from living. Fear tries to control, manipulate, and blind us to truth. It prevents the Body of Christ from functioning as we should and keeps us focused on flesh instead being who Christ says we are and allowing our brothers and sisters to be who they are. Fear makes us feel as though if we work hard enough we can get ‘there.’
Fear prevents us from receiving our Father’s love.
After coffee with my friend, I went home and asked my roommate to help me hold a chicken. In Nashville you are allowed to have up to six chickens in your yard and my roommates have four who are about eight weeks old. Why did I do this? I did it as a promise and symbol of encouragement to my brothers and sisters here in Nashville (and everywhere else). I no longer desire to be paralyzed by my fear anymore. I have no desire to withhold the love of Christ, from myself or from them. My hope is that it encourages all of us to do the same. To allow Christ (Love) to cast out our fear, and in doing so, enable freedom.
I am still highly skeptical of winged creatures, but I do not desire to be paralyzed by them anymore. As the chickens in our yard grow, I am positive I will also be growing.
Glory to God. He set me free.