Recently, I have been thinking a lot about fear. What it is. Why we fear. What are the repercussions of fear? How do we overcome fear? I think, fear has been prevalent in my mind because the past couple of years, I have been consumed by fear of some type. The fear that my husband would leave…the fear that I am not enough…the fear of an unknown future…the fear of being a single parent…the fear of being alone, and most recently the fear of bad health. The list is ongoing. But then, a lot of the things that I had spent so much time fearing, that I had focused so much time on trying to prevent, in my own worldly ways, happened. They were out of my control. And guess what? It wasn’t the end of me, it did not destroy me – it actually caused me to turn closer to Christ, to His word and to talk to Him in sincere prayer – it was kind of a new beginning.
So what is fear? Webster’s Dictionary defines fear as: “anxious concern” and “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”. Sometimes fear may not be due to the anticipation of danger, but due to the anticipation of failure. We fear things for many different reasons, some of which are really unnecessary if we have a strong faith. I’ve always heard “faith over fear” or “faith > fear” and I never really understood that until this past year as my faith grew, my fears started to subside. Thinking about the things that I have feared, made me wonder what are the common life fears of most people, so I started doing a little research online and here is what I found:
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of failure
- Fear of uncertainty
- Fear of loneliness
- Fear of change
- Fear of loss of freedom
- Fear of being judged
- Fear of getting hurt
- Fear of inadequacy
I think at some point and time in my life, I have probably had a few, if not most, of these fears. And they can be crippling at times. If we let our fears control us, think of all the things that we may miss out on in this life. Fear could cost us love, friendships/relationships, dreams, excitement, contentment, etc.
In my current situation in life, I feel like if I allow fear to overcome me and be the determining factor in my decision making process, I will be in for a very lonely life. If I let the fear of the past year’s rejection by my husband consume me, then I will never be able to have a loving, trusting relationship with another person again – and that is not the future that I want. I choose to rely on God and his timing for the right person at the right time, but I also choose not to let fear win. I have to have faith and be willing to take that leap of faith and place my heart out there, trusting that God will be with me and guide me, I only have to listen and turn away from my own understanding, my own fears and trust in His time and His will.
I read somewhere that the bible tells us to “Fear Not” around 365 times (once for every day of the year) – while I don’t know if this is factual or not, I do know that God tells us not to fear many times in the Bible and if we believe in his word, then why do we not believe in this? Why can we not put aside our fears and trust in Him? I have honestly found that reading the Bible has helped me immensely in my process of grieving and recovery from my failed marriage, and with the many things that I feel like I fail at daily as a human, as a mom, as a friend, etc. Really, God should only have to tell us once that we need not fear because He is with us and we should believe it, we shouldn’t have to hear it multiple times, but he has reiterated it many times throughout scripture as a kind of security blanket for us, because He loves us and He wants us to lead a fearless life.
Imagine, if David had let fear consume him in his battle with Goliath? Or if Moses had let fear consume him when he delivered the Israelites from Egypt? Or if the disciples had allowed fear of persecution/execution to consume them and prevent them from following Jesus? What if fear stopped Noah from building the Ark? In the same reasoning, what if fear had stopped your father from asking for you mom’s hand in marriage? What if fear had stopped you from saying hi to that person who became your best friend? What if fear caused you to walk away from the person that may have been the love of your life? What if fear caused humanitarians to stop helping those that are homeless or those that are in need of help, support, safety? What if fear kept that fireman from entering a house to save someone? The repercussions of fear are endless – they can be as small as missing a great job opportunity to as large as death or an afterlife in eternal hell if you fear taking that first step to become a Christ follower.
As I see it, the only things that come from fear are indifference, intolerance, hatred, loneliness, unhappiness, “what-ifs”, pain and regrets. I would much rather go through life wishing something would’ve worked out, rather than wishing I would’ve had the courage to try it. I recently found the following quote by George Addair, that I love in regards to fear:
“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. The challenge is letting go of it. We fear failure yet in the same sentence we fear success…Fear is a natural part of life.”
Yes, fear is a natural part of life. And it seems we fear both sides of every situation – fear of failure/fear of success; fear of love/fear of loneliness; fear of change/fear of being stuck in a rut.
I feel like I may have rambled on in this posting, but, the main point is that fear is normal, but God has assured us many times that we should not fear when we believe in Him because He is with us. Some of the scriptures regarding fear that I have found comforting are the following; I hope you will as well.
- “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
- “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
- “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
- “The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
- “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
Blessings to you all – May the peace of God be with you!