This month we’ve been answering the question “how has God changed my perspective about an issue”. Tracy and Jen shared their stories earlier this month. You do not want to miss them so click on their names and check out how God shifted their perspective on two very personal issues.
I have lived much of my life battling one thing: fear.
When I was little, fear took the shape of typical childhood distress. Fear of the dark. Fear of being lost. Fear of losing my mom or dad.
As I grew, some of those fears remained in my childhood while others shifted into the shadows, lurking close enough to incite anxiety but far enough to remain elusive, unidentifiable.
I didn’t always know I struggled with fear. Early on it wore different faces: moving cross-country; making new friends; starting new schools; the darkness of our basement; moving out of my parents’ home with a newborn baby; uncertainty and distress after the Oklahoma City bombings; blending a family of five after a debilitating stroke struck my first husband; adding a sixth member to our floundering family.
During those years I rationalized my feelings and disregarded their strength. Fear lurked in every corner of my heart, threatened any sense of peace and security yet I was convinced if I just tried harder, served God more, and did all the right things, those feelings would dissipate in absolute trust. After all, doesn’t the Bible tell us not to be afraid, supposedly offering one verse for every day of the year? So if I felt afraid, if I allowed fear to dig its roots into my soul, did I not trust God? Had I lost my faith?
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious righthand.” Isaiah 41:10, NLT
I believe Scripture is true. All of it. I believe when God tells us not to be afraid, we’re not to be afraid. But what I struggled to understand, what I’m still wrestling through: what happens when I do feel afraid? When fear steps creeps out of the shadows and looms large? Because it happens. A lot.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7, NLT
March 2, 2005. My greatest nightmare, my biggest fear, became my most devastating reality as fire destroyed our home and death snatch away the life one of my children. Fear no longer lurked in the shadows but became as real as the air I breathed.
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before the. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT
I could no longer pretend fear had not been a constant companion. I could no longer deny its existence. I watched its shadow creep over the precious face of my little girl as I stood on the brink of allowing fear to consume me, erasing any existence of God, any truth I thought I believed.
Yet as I stared at my greatest fear, as I look it square in its eye and grabbed it by its shoulders, a greater truth began to take shape. A truth I had heard but was only beginning to understand.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12, NLT
Fear is a feeling, a very real and legitimate feeling given to us as a means of protection. As I stood on my driveway as my house burned, the fear I felt was real and appropriate.
But sometimes it seems bigger and feels even stronger because the unseen world twists and corrupts. That’s the goal, after all: to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10a). The battle is real and fear can be an effective weapon.
Fears are distorted into the what-if’s and what-might-be’s. What if fire strikes again? What if my spouse chooses to leave me? What if something happens to my child? What if I can’t make the bills this month? Scripture calls those fears “worry” and challenges us to determine their usefulness (Matthew 6:27-30). All they do is snatch away our joy, our peace, and sometimes even our relationships.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7, NLT
What do we do when fear creeps in? How can we respond?
I’m learning to bring my fear to Him. Every. Single. One. I’m learning that He doesn’t taunt me or ridicule me. He won’t condemn or make fun of me. As those feelings creep up my spine and grip my heart, I’m learning to cry out and invite Him in, to call on His name and be reminded of His power, power that is stronger than any fear.
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.” 1 John 4:18a, NLT
He’s changing my perceptive. He’s opening my eyes to see His true character, who He is and how He cares for me, the truth that He loves me and knows everything about me (Psalm 139), including each fear I face.
The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:14, NLT
I’m learning that while fear lurks in the shadows of this broken and fallen world, I don’t have to face it on my own. Nor do you. We can safely and confidently press in to the One who loves us so much that He fought death on our behalf . . . and won.
Wait patiently for the Lord. Be strong and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14, NLT
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17, NLT
What issue do you believe God is wanting to shift for you? Join the conversation and share in the comments or over on our Facebook page.