“Think back to your childhood fears,” Pastor Andrew Oates instructed the Coastal Community Church audience.
Among my childhood fears was a small girl’s doll named “Susie Stretch.” A doll?! I know, but it wasn’t the doll itself that frightened me, but the music that accompanied the T.V. commercial. Something about the commercial–perhaps, the childish male voice-over combined with the lighthearted music and the delicate female voice-over–aroused fear in me as I hid underneath my bedroom covers. I hid my face whenever this commercial played.
As an adult, this commercial no longer scares me.
Pastor Oates defined fear as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat; causes paralysis, flight, or isolation.” Though the television commercial caused no physical pain, it brought emotional distress because I believed the male and female voice-overs, along with the music, startled me. My first post on fear addressed its effects on me, and this post is similar. The singular difference is I’m applying a childhood fear to illustrate my point. My previous fear post mentions my lack of self-confidence and it continues to hinder my maturity, to an extent.
As fear for this commercial prompted my hiding, fear for God prompts me to honor Him. Despite my position in God’s ultimate plan and His eternal love for me, my greatest fear is going to hell. I’m aware of several of my sins committed and I see them as hindrances to spiritual growth. Times have come where I doubt God loves me because of my sins, considering what I watch on YouTube. If doubt for God’s love consumes me, I have not experienced his love fully as 1 John 4:17-18 asserts, “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”
I remember my anxiety the absence of God’s love because I didn’t feel love. What does God’s love feel like? Unlike a hug, kiss, handshake, or pat on the back, God’s love is intangible. I desired to know what His love felt like, but I must remember that God’s love is not the same as secular love. The love God displayed on earth (dying on the cross, performing miracles) was more selfless, majestic, and honorable than anything humans can and will express. I know that because I don’t feel physically God’s love (a kiss, hug, or handshake, etc.) doesn’t equate to his negligence or abandonment of me. Hebrews 13:5 affirm: “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
Fear cripples my job search because fear dictates I will not enjoy the position for which I apply. I prefer a full-time job as a writer (I’m working as a freelance employee as a Business Writer for “The Oyster Pointer” in Newport News, VA) that offer me to compose noteworthy news, lifestyle, and entertainment pieces; flexible hours, an enriching work environment, and pays a appreciable amount for my labor. Though I searched and applied for administrative and retail work, my primary focus is writing and editorial. Frustration and anxiety consumes me as I seek employment to different employers for various positions with no job offers and no callbacks.
The commercial advertises Susie Stretch as one who bends, twists, and moves with the body as you maneuver around. It captures a preteen girl performing somersaults in her bedroom. She does so into her closet to highlight the nighttime version of the doll, revealing her other face. Her staying with you wherever you go (wrapping around your waist and slipping into the toes) represents God’s constant watch over me. Matthew 28:20 reinforces: “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Similar to the doll, God f0llows me. He is watching over me daily. Every second. Every minute. Every hour. Every day. Every month. Every year.
Though Susie Stretch dolls are scarce, God is eternal. I must remind myself He loves me unconditionally–even when I sin.