A Blog by Jennifer Aulthouse

A heart for those who want more of God. A desperate plea for those who don't.

Friday, May 13, 2011


While out for a walk on Sunday, one particular street, in which I will be carefully avoiding from then on, was lined with many homes that shared one conspicuous aspect in common: a large dog barking its head off at me as soon as I came into view. And as I strode by, trying both not to look too tasty and not to look like I was in the least bit bothered by the canine symphony echoing through the air, a front door happened to open and an even-larger black lab came bounding towards me – frantically barking too, of course – and leaped through the air. And then stopped when he realized he was at the edge of his lawn. I had jumped roughly 37 miles in the air myself by that point, and the door-opening homeowner bleated out a half-laughing “sorry”. Yes. Hysterical.

Sadly, this is not an isolated occurrence, and it's one reason why I don’t like dogs.

I also have a fear of fire. When I was 18-ish, one morning as I groggily transitioned into a conscious person, I looked over to notice that the outlet by my bed had suddenly burst into flames. I froze for a moment and then started to run out of my room, only to watch the fire go out as quickly as it started. And when my son was a baby, I had him in the kitchen in his highchair with a snack as I washed some dishes. I soon felt myself being pelted in the back with said snack, and after a few warnings he still refused to stop. So I got him out of the highchair and decided to put him in his playpen in the living room. As we walked through the dining room to get to the living room, I noticed that a simmering potpourri pot I had lit was completely engulfed in flames. I quickly put my son in his playpen and then panicked and grabbed a glass of water sitting nearby and threw it into the flames. This instead caused the fire to make some sort of exploding noise and shoot up to the ceiling......and then all of a sudden it went out. And I sat in a chair for about an hour startled and twitching by what had happened.

There have been a few more instances with fire, too. That’s why I don’t like fire.

There are other fears, both the practical kinds that are not so hard to talk about, and the intensely personal kinds, such as the ones that drive how we relate to each other. Those fears, for instance, are tied into how we measure our sense of value or whether we’ll be accepted for who we are.

Regardless, though, they all have to do with unpredictability, which in turn is rooted in our desire to control our environments, which in turn is rooted by a drive towards experiencing certain feelings – safety, for instance. Approval. Comfort. Freedom. Painlessness. When I am not in control of my environment, the existence of these unspoken longings that are at the heart of my daily pursuit is threatened. A fear is merely the potential loss of a desired feeling or the potential experience of an undesired feeling.

There are many fears making their presence known to me lately as I forge forward in the writing process, and I continually have to dig below the surface and understand as best I can what it is I’m so afraid of feeling or not feeling. Whatever the particular fear is about, the answer is always remembering who I am in Christ and Who He Is. The fear may not lessen in how I feel its intensity, but a peace washes over me, reminding that His plan is worth whatever feeling it appears I may lose in being obedient. I need this today. I need this every day.

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