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Judy Lair is a licensed counselor and owner of Counselorplace Christian Counseling. She is the author of “From the Other Side of the Couch: A Biblical Counselor’s Guide to Relational Living.” Judy’s personal struggles with fear led her through the valley of hurt and sorrow. She now embraces a joy-filled life grounded in God’s truth and freedom in Christ. Judy uses her professional counseling expertise to tell stories that help people find healing and freedom. Her vulnerable, godly approach helps people find courage to move from Fear to Freedom. For more information or speaking requests, email JudyLair@counselorplace.com or sign up for blog posts at http://judylair.blogspot.com

 “Freedom is attainable. Trust me, I’ve been on the anxiety side, gone through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and now I’m praising God, eating at the banqueting table, and helping others make the same journey. Whether you find yourself stuck in anxiety, disappointment, grief, or confusion, your heart can be set free.” Judy Lair, “From the Other Side of the Couch.”

Friday, September 12, 2014

Plato's Cave: Living in Darkness

Philosopher Plato wrote the Allegory of the Cave showing how fear keeps us chained and in darkness. Watching this excellent video story reminded me that centuries later, many of us are still living a fear-based life.

Plato’s story shows a man who courageously wanted to live in the real world rather than feel safe in the cave watching shadows. He bravely risked looking at what safety cost him vs. the benefit of living in freedom. The man returned to the cave and shared his testimony, urging other folks to choose truth, but no one else wanted to leave the security of the cave and face their fears.

I’ve been in the cave. I’ve made many choices in my life based on what would cause me the least amount of fear—and the consequences have been devastating. 

Choosing fear robbed me of all the good things God wanted to bring into my life. 
  • Seeing who God created me to be
  • Believing in God’s love for me no matter my immaturities
  • Allowing God to empower me to conquer the Goliaths in my life
  • Trusting fully and completely in God’s heart even when I don’t understand why he allows hurt and pain
So how do we press into fear so we can live in the light of God’s love for us? Do the very thing we fear most: intentionally choose to become vulnerable and transparent.

Woundedness causes us to shut down, transformation requires vulnerability and openness. No one is more vulnerable than a child. Choosing to be vulnerable feels unsafe and counter-intuitive to most adults because of the hurt they’ve experienced. That’s why we choose to live in a cave. It may not be the most joyful life, but at least we avoid people and situations that bring us fear.

Jesus’ relationships with his heavenly father, earthly family, disciples, and friends were characterized by openness and a willingness for his heart to be seen. Vulnerability and transparency with safe, caring people are essential for wounds to be healed and our life to be transformed. We have the choice to intentionally narrow our world down to keep fear at bay. This causes a very rigid, black and white worldview. Prioritizing security over relationship significantly impacts our ability to love well. 

But God wants us to take the risk to learn how to face fear with His strength and courage. No longer blackmailed by choking anxiety and fear, we can walk with the Shepherd who will lead us through the valley to the banqueting table beyond. In my book, From the Other Side of the Couch: A Biblical Guide to Relational Living, I share a Roadmap to Freedom explaining how to move from fear to freedom.

I know it’s not as simple as deciding today to be vulnerable and immediately feeling safe with God and others. There will be a gap between making this decision by our will and learning how to receive healing in the areas that caused us to stay in the cave. Continue to ask God to strengthen you and persevere during the gap.

And we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:3-5

Is God calling you out of the cave today?

Photo from Office.com photos

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