The Scariest Place I've Ever Been

I don’t get scared very often. When I do, it is typically by something my kids are doing, like that scary feeling I get when they start running for the street. Every now and then I’ll get intimidated by a situation or humbled by an opportunity. The other day I was just straight-up scared by my surroundings. The other day I went to the scrap yard.

Don’t laugh. It was a scary place. There was a line all the way down the street. Each car in line was carefully packed with whatever the person was scrapping. There were armed security guards directing traffic. The whole thing kind of reminded me of going through the airport security checkpoint. Everyone watched as we were weighed and sent to the far back pile to dump all our goods. As we drove back there, I noticed two things immediately. One: every guy who worked there looked as if he had been forged in steel.  And two: this was not the place to show up in my jogging shorts and a fleece jacket. (I felt REALLY out of place).

As we emptied our truck and then made our way back to the weigh station, I was keenly aware of how uncomfortable I was. I didn’t exactly know how it was going to go, and it was clear to everyone watching that I was a first-timer. Something about showing up at a place that I’ve never been, doing something I’ve never done, and being watched by guys who looked like they hadn’t smiled since the early 80s  scared the heck out of me. As I approached the cashier’s cage, I noticed that it had a one-way mirror. They could see me, but I couldn’t see them. The cashier muttered something through the bulletproof glass, but I couldn’t hear. The metal clanging in the background was deafening. Of course I did what any scared person would do; I smiled and pretended like I heard everything she said. When she slid me my reward for the scrap, I thanked her and quickly headed back to the truck. Again feeling completely out of place, I put the money in my wallet and tried not to make eye contact with anyone who might make fun of me for my out-of-place appearance.

It wasn’t until we were several miles down the road that I realized that the cashier had shorted me 100 bucks.  In the presence of all my fear I didn’t count the cash.  I had let fear block me from a good decision; I had let fear block me from what was rightfully mine.

I believe that fear, as a guiding voice, is not from God. I’ve come to the conclusion that God would like to be that guiding voice for me and that in those moments what I should have done was pause and ask God for help. There are always going to be scary things in the world, but with God they can be quite manageable. Hebrews 13:6 says, “So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

I realized that day that the scariest place in the world is any place  I let fear dictate outcomes.


Self-Reflection

Where do you let fear dictate outcomes?

In what situations do you feel out of place, and what are you prepared to do about it?

What is God telling you amidst your fear?