“Careful you must be when sensing the future, Anakin. The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.” — Yoda
Over the years I often found myself comforting my children from their fears. Fear of failure, fear of something new, or fear of rejection was usually the culprit. With children, fear is often borne of their inexperience or insecurity and with time their confidence begins to override those fears.
One of my daughters in particular struggled with fear and anxiety. When I first became her mother, she was already 8 years old. She had learned the hard way that the world is a scary place. She was afraid of the dark, of being alone, of being lost in public, of strangers, and more. With God’s help, she has grown into a beautiful young woman who is facing the world with confidence.
My mother is ALWAYS worrying about me. It’s her God-given job I suppose to express concern to make me stop and consider if I’m taking on too much, if I’m taking care of myself, or with standard (yet embarrassing) clean underwear reminder…just in case I’m in an accident. I have often begged my mom to stop her worrying ways and suggest that her worry is distracting her from her true purpose (which I’m pretty sure, by the way, is NOT worrying about me).
The fact is I have given my mother good reason to worry about me many times. I have experienced serious and profound fear in my life. It is not a sensation that I particularly enjoy to say the least. Fear is not a sin or necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, we have all been given the emotion of fear to help keep us in balance and to provide protection. Without fear, what would stop us from driving too fast, eating too much, or singing in the middle of the grocery store. Yes, fear can be good (have you ever heard me sing?).
However, fear can also be unhealthy and lead us into poor decisions or just plain keep us from living a full and abundant life. The following are two examples of unhealthy fear in that if left unchecked can lead us in the wrong direction.
1) ANGER AS A CHILD OF FEAR – As a mother I have admittedly spoken to my children at times in an angry tone of voice. In almost every instance it was because they did something that just scared the “whooey” out of me. Out of fear for their safety, their future, or their character, I birthed a burst of anger in the moment. For most of us mere mortals this is not likely something we ever completely master, but with time and God’s help we can certainly learn to count to ten before reacting and keep our anger under control.
(Psalm 4:8 – In your anger, do not sin…)
2) FEAR DERIVED FROM THE ENEMY – Fear is a powerful weapon that the enemy uses to paralyze the life of a believer. Playing upon our fears of public speaking, sharing our testimony with a friend, fear of rejection, and more, Satan can effectively keep us from the plan and purpose God intends for us. To remove this fear from your life, claim 2 Timothy 1:7 as a personal verse and face those fears head on that you know are inhibiting you. Throughout the Bible we see countless examples of how God used the ordinary to achieve extraordinary purposes so that He might be glorified instead of man. I call them “Moses excuses” in my own life and they are usually uncovered the minute I start make excuses why I can’t do something I know I feel led to do.
(2 Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.)
If you are struggling with fear in your life, please remember that the difference between the hero and the coward is not whether they experienced fear but rather what they did about it. Go ahead and have fear – but render it powerless with God’s promises found in His Word.