Franklin Delano Roosevelt once gave the famous refrain in his first inaugural address:
“There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.”
That’s pretty true, isn’t it? Some of us come by worrying and fear more naturally than others but I think the reality is, we’re all susceptible to feelings of fear at some time or another in our lives. Now, our “fight or flight” reactions may spark fear but are intended to preserve our lives. I’m talking about living in a constant, vicious cycle of fear.
I discussed in yesterday’s post the fact that you’re never alone and the fact that it has got to be one of the devil’s most overused tools on us, as Christians. Well, fear has to be a close second. It is a real bondage to be so wrapped in fear that you cannot face the future with optimism and hope.
When I was in my early twenties, I worked at an independent living apartment complex for senior citizens. I was an administrative assistant and one of my daily jobs was to take Mrs. Augustine her mail as she was too afraid to leave her apartment for fear the mafia would come for her. She was a sweet lady but clearly had some problems.
As outlandish as this may sound, we all have things we do or don’t do out of fear. Now, some of those things are good. For instance, we don’t walk in the middle of the street because we could be struck by an oncoming car. That is a valid fear and one we should heed. We do not submit our income taxes late for fear of being fined. We do not place our hand on a hot stove for fear of being burned. All very good things.
However, there are also things we do or don’t do out of an unhealthy fear.
We don’t attend church or a certain Bible study out of fear of being judged. We don’t have a gym membership for fear of being ridiculed. We don’t leave the house without make-up because we fear being inadequate. We don’t volunteer for a project because we fear our talents are insufficient.
You get the idea. These are negative fears that can impact us if repeated long enough.
This is one of my 2017 goals:
“Face life unafraid!”
Not afraid of what someone else thinks. Not afraid of failure. Not afraid of insufficiencies. Not afraid of being imperfect. Not afraid of what “might” happen. Not afraid of someone else’s approval or response. Not afraid of being misunderstood. NOT AFRAID!
What if we all lived like this?
What if we took the shackles off and simply lived life the best we could? … without all the mental clutter, all the “what if’s”, all the insecurities?
The reality is that no one is perfect. No one. So, your failures will not surprise anyone. They are common place, my friend. My goal this year is to live life to the best of my ability and rest knowing that, that is good enough. My goal is also to face my fears, wherever I may find them, head on. I have found that when I actually get around to doing a task on my “to do” list that I’ve been dreading, I often wonder why it took me so long. We have to muster up our courage and run toward our fears, instead of running from them. If our backs are facing the fear, then we are on the wrong side.
Sometimes we fear the unknown. That is a valid fear. After all, none of us know the future. However, we must come to the place that, although we may not know the future, we know WHO holds the future. And that is God.
It is said that there are 365 Bible verses on the topic of fear – one for each day. I think that is so neat. God knew we would need constant reminders of His presence and His grace in our lives. He knows how weak we are.
Can I challenge you today to face your fears? The days of sweeping them under the rug are gone. Deal with the dust bunnies in your life and move on so there can be closure. Don’t allow fear or anything else to keep you from forward progress in your life. Forward momentum is what productive, happy lives are made of. The moment we begin to get “stuck” is the moment we succumb to traps of the enemy and snares that bind us. Determine today that with God’s help, you will move forward with His strength and face your fears.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” ~ Isaiah 41:10