FEAR (n): an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
FREEDOM (n): the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.
Fear. It is something we all have experienced at one time or another; but some of us, on a different level than others. For me, fear has been a personal struggle of mine for as long as I can remember. When I was around 8 years old, my family moved into an old, Victorian style house. It was one of the ones with tall doors and lots of rooms. I remember that my bedroom was connected to the attic. And it wasn’t just a drop door or a crawl space to the attic, it was a regular door to a full-size, unfinished, creepy-looking attic. I was the youngest in the family, with 3 older brothers, so I got this room all to myself. Every single night, I would be so scared that something was going to come out of that attic! Of course nothing did, but the fear I felt as a small child was real-even though there was no real danger. Ever since then, I can pinpoint a pattern of fear in my life. It is my greatest spiritual struggle, and I constantly am being reminded of God’s faithfulness through this struggle.
In the world we live in, filled with so much uncertainty, violence and heartbreak, sometimes it is hard to feel safe. Sometimes it is hard to feel free. Sometimes it is hard to live life without a sense of fear; because, it seems our safety has been compromised. Because it feels like no matter how hard we try to block out the fact that there is a big, creepy door to a dark attic looming in the corner of our bedroom, it is still there and we cannot change that fact. And the truth is, we can’t change all the factors in our world, in our environment, in our jobs, in our families, in our relationships that scare us, but we can; however, change how we respond to these fearful encounters.
The truth, my friends, is that God offers us a way out of a fear. He offers us freedom! You see, fear can be crippling, debilitating. . . Fear can cause you to live a timid life-unwilling to take risks, missing out on opportunities, living half-heartedly for fear of what living fully might bring. God did not create us to live in fear, nor did He desire for us to ‘live safely.’ He designed us to live freely and fully-embracing all the goodness life has to offer. He welcomes us to live in the overflow of His spirit and His unchanging nature.
When I feel afraid or when my thoughts are overtaking my actions, I remind myself that fear is not of God. God supplies me with power and love and a sound mind. You know, when I was 8 years old and scared of that attic door, I never opened it. My mind created all these images of what might be behind the door, but I didn’t want to open it and find out what was really there. But one day, one of my older brothers held my hand and pushed the door open and made me look. (I don’t think he was trying to be ‘nice,’ per se, but it actually helped me!) You see, he made me confront my fears and what I found was an old attic with dusty wooden rafters and no monsters. . .
I think God is a lot like this. Maybe He holds your hand and draws you closer to your fears and helps you overcome them. Maybe He is holding your hand and drawing you into the middle of stormy waters. . . But friend, He is not trying to drown you. He is encouraging you to conquer your fears, to hold tight to Him, to walk in freedom, to become brave. Bethel Music has a worship song that I just love that says:
I am so thankful that God’s love and promises to me has made a way for me to overcome my fear. My battle with fear is a daily one. It is constantly reminding myself that God is in control, that my life is in His hands, that He only wants good for me, and that He has not created fear but freedom. When I live in these truths, my life is so much more full. So friend, if you’re anxious about an upcoming move, if you’re nervous about whether to accept that “crazy” different job offer, if you’re unsure whether you are parenting “the right way,” if you’re worried about standing out among your friends and coworkers, if you’re scared of failing at whatever it may be-give it to God! Give your fears and concerns over to Him and live in the freedom of God’s grace!
“They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.” Psalms 112:7-8