Managing Our Emotions Well Day 2 – Fear
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10, ESV)
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3, ESV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9, ESV)
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. (Philippians 4:6-7, ESV)
Fear and I are good friends. I can’t remember a time when fear was not a frequent flyer in my mind. It is the emotion I hate feeling the most, and the one I feel most often. As I will with all the emotions, I must point out that fear is not a sin. We cannot control how we feel, but we can control how we react to our feelings.
Fear becomes sinful when we give in to it. I don’t mean that it is sinful to run when you see someone coming towards you wielding a weapon, because standing still would simply be foolish. No, I mean that whenever we allow fear to consume our minds and dictate all of our actions, then it becomes sinful. For example, I am a worst-case scenario type of person. If you are ever planning a trip or event and you want to know what could go wrong, just call me. I have to anticipate everything; I’ve always been this way. For reference, at age eight I accidentally broke off one of my solid wood bedposts. Now, most eight-year-olds would likely have their parent dispose of the broken piece of furniture, but I stashed it under my bed in case a burglar broke in during the night. That wooden post is still securely under my bed at this very moment. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized this was not normal. Not everyone was consumed by the fear of what could go wrong or what may have gone wrong at any given moment. I let fear rule my life. Yes, I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that makes it hard for me to correctly process fear, but there are so many times that I let myself give in to fear, and ultimately into sin.
How do you overcome the weight of fear? As someone who deals with it on a regular basis, I can tell you it’s not easy. It takes time and frequent reminders, but it is possible because of God. In my most anxiety-ridden moments, God gives me peace and calmness through His Word. There are so many reminders in Scripture, both literal and metaphorical, of how God can be trusted with our fears. We are reminded in Isaiah 41 and Joshua 1 that God does not leave us unprepared or alone when facing uncertain and/or difficult situations. He gives us exactly what we need when we need it. We are reminded in Psalm 56 that He is trustworthy, and that when we are afraid our first reaction should be to turn to Him. Philippians 4 tells us that whenever anxiety and fear present themselves we are to turn to Him in prayer. We can ask Him to prevent from happening the things we fear, but we can also ask Him to give us the strength to deal with those things if they do happen. We can trust that when we bring those things to Him and leave them at His feet He will take care of them.
My challenge to you today is to be bold in your fear. Have open communication with God about what you are afraid of, no matter how small. When you feel that fear is becoming overwhelming, bring it to His feet. If you pick that same fear up again, as I often do, simply bring it back to Him over and over again. Fill yourself with the truth of His power, grace, mercy, love, kindness, and goodness so that when fear arrives it can be swiftly replaced with the peace that knowing Him brings.