Remember those pierced ears my sweet big girl really, really, really wanted? Well, she got them about six weeks ago. We were in a good situation to get it done, so we said Merry Christmas and took her to get them pierced. She was delighted. Since then she has been counting the days until she could pull her starter earrings out and try others on for size.
This Wednesday was to be that day. We’d had no problems with her ears at all, so we assumed that the healing would be sufficient for changing earrings, as long as they were still gold-plated.
We were wrong.
As soon as I took that first earring out, the trouble began. It started oozing. Then, in the brief amount of time it took to clean the earring and her ear, the back of her hole closed over making it painful to get the earring back in. She was so incredibly upset. Not only did it hurt, but she’d planned just what earrings she was going to wear when, and now she couldn’t follow through with her plan. The poor child is enough like her mommy that a plan disintegrated can be a very big deal.
She eventually calmed down and reconciled herself to the fact that her ears needed a little more time to heal. But, then came a new set of thoughts. Taking the earrings out and putting them back in had been painful. She didn’t like the thought of more pain. So, the earrings could just stay in. Permanently.
Fear threatened to rob her of something she really, really wanted.
Fear has a nasty way of doing that to us. We have something wonderful in our grasp, and then comes the hesitancy. Then comes the uncertainty. Then comes the nagging “what if.” Suddenly the delight is dulled and the joy is diminished. The comfort of our status quo seems much more appealing than the unknown of what we had hoped for, and we become content to stay right where we are.
For many of us, the things we set aside because of our fear seem as insignificant as whether or not we get to change earrings. But, when we let fear paralyze us in those little areas, what path are we paving for the fear that attacks in bigger things?
Today it’s earrings…tomorrow it’s marriage.
Today it’s earrings…tomorrow it’s a big move.
Today it’s earrings…tomorrow it’s teaching that Sunday school class.
Today it’s earrings…tomorrow it’s leaving everything and heading to the mission field.
Today it’s earrings…tomorrow it’s adoption.
After the earring problems of Wednesday, I told Olivia that we’d have to take her earrings out on a daily basis so we could get antibiotic ointment down into her ear. She was not happy. She wanted nothing more than for me to find a different way to treat her ears. But, yesterday she beat down those fears, coming into my room with q-tips and antibiotic ointment so I could treat her. This time the earrings came out with no oozing, and we got them back in without a single problem. Her fears conquered, Olivia began talking once again about the earrings she wanted to change into.
Through it all, my ten-year-old learned what it meant to stand up to her fears. She learned that it was okay to accept that some things are worth the pain they require. And somewhere down the road, this week’s conquest of fear will be one of the foundational stones that allows her to stand up to her fear in a much bigger way.
What is fear doing to you today? Whether it be earrings or a major change, don’t let fear paralyze you! Trust that the God who knows all, sees all, and controls all will not leave your side, and hand Him all your fear. Then embrace those beautiful things you hoped for.