Fear is a liar that comes whispering into our ear about all of the what ifs. What if we don’t succeed? What if we aren’t enough? What if we get hurt or disappointed? What if my prejudice is founded, my bias is right, or there’s credibility to my fears? What if so-and-so gets elected, I lose my job, or my plans are ruined? What if people think badly of me? What if I am rejected?
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Our response to fear is to overreact, to control, to put up walls, to protect ourselves and the ones we love. Fear can take a hold of us, cause anxiety, and be irrational.
Look no further than the news these days. You see people campaigning for one candidate while spewing fear about how awful the other will be. You see shootings and terrorist attacks, and atrocities unimaginable. You see people pointing fingers at one another for fear of our differences. You see groups of people seemingly pitted against one another because of political stance, race, nationality, and lifestyle. Fear drives people apart.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
Fear. It keeps us from living boldly and taking chances. It keeps us from reaching out to others and loving in the way that Jesus taught. The what ifs keep us afraid and keep us from stepping out or stepping up to what God has for us.
I’m guilty. I can entertain fear for my children, for the future of our country, over college expenses for our kids, and the unknowns of the days to come. It’s easy to let your mind wander and have your thoughts bound up by what could happen. This post is as much for me as anyone.
There are certainly many circumstances that lead us to fear or worry….a struggling child, a difficult financial position or loss of a job, an illness, a hurting relationship. It’s easy to rebuke fear when there’s nothing in particular that we are fearful of. But when there is…you know those times… it can hold us captive and take our thoughts and emotions along with it. Fear can paralyze us and render us useless for God’s purposes.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7
We have a choice in how we respond. We can choose to feed the fear, or we can focus on the truth. We can meditate on what we know is true and feed our soul with God’s promises. We can choose to not let the fear consume us.
Do you know what I’ve learned about fear? It will take up more space in your mind and in your heart than it should. But I’ve also learned that when we take our fears to God, He alone can calm them. I’ve learned than when you push through your fears and anxieties and hand them over to our God you will grow by leaps and bounds and your faith will never be the same. This faith-over-fear muscle needs to be exercised to grow stronger. And when you find God faithful time and time again (I know you will), your faith muscle strengthens and the experiences you have to draw courage from will expand. And pretty soon, the fears begin to shrink and your faith begins to grow.
Let’s try something instead of entertaining the fear. Let’s combat anxiety and focus on our own fears with bridge building and recalling God’s past faithfulness. Let’s focus on His promises and cheer each other on in our steps of faith, whether they be baby steps or leaps & bounds. Let’s find contentment in our circumstances, gratitude for all we have, and courage for pressing on.
In a world living afraid, let’s throw off the chains that bind us and live without fear. Because fear is a liar.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19
This post originally appeared at KathyGarrison.net.