If you’re alive, you probably can relate: for the last 4 years of my life, I felt paralyzed in my quest to overcome fear. I’ve been afraid of how afraid I was, and terrified that I’d never overcome my fear. I wasn’t sure how to stop feeling frightened, and I was even afraid that my fear disappointed God. What a vicious cycle. I desperately wanted to do incredible things for Him, but between me and my intentions was a sea of anxiety I couldn’t swim across. Do you know the feeling?
Last month, the Lord spoke to me on New Year’s Day that my theme this year would be “fearless.” I realized I had to be able to define fear to be able to defeat it. To fear is “avoid or put off doing something because one is afraid.” How many times do we skirt around things we know are important because we are just waiting for them to go away? How often have I ignored God’s voice because I trust the negative possibilities more than I trust Him?
Obviously, when I felt God say that this was the year to be fearless, I was horrified. I knew He must be fed up with me, ready for me to just deal with it and stop annoying Him. Then, I found the verse that changed my idea of fear.
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says, do not fear, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
I was stunned. God didn’t expect me to just “get it together.” He was already standing beside me, waiting to take my hand. He wants to help me walk through my valleys. He wants to do this together. He wants to make a table for me right in front of my enemies. I will never stop being shocked by how gentle He truly is with us.
What’s more, I realized in that moment that I had made this about the wrong thing: me. Fear is only allowed to reign when we focus on what we can or cannot do, or what could go wrong. Fear puts the emphasis on our abilities, our emotions, and our weakness. We alone give it the permission and authority to tell us who we are. In an ironic twist, who we are is never the issue. We will never be perfect and brave and capable in a way that completely silences fear. God will. Fear cannot rule us when we remember that we serve a perfect, all-powerful, victorious God who banishes the darkness with a single breath. We are walking with the God who defeated death itself, and He says he wants to take hold of our hand. He promises to help us. When we remember that Jesus is the focus, we recognize fear for the bully it is.
“As God is exalted to the right place in our lives, a thousand problems are solved all at once.” A.W. Tozer
We invent issues for ourselves when we believe that we are the most important person in our lives. We were created to fix our eyes on our God, not because he is a narcissist, but because he is the answer to all of our brokenness and humanity. His presence heals our every anxiety and meets our every need. When we know who God is, fear cannot control us. When we exalt God to His rightful place in our hearts, not even the grave can touch us. Our trust is in our Savior, and He has already won for us. How can we be afraid when we remember that? The Conqueror is already standing beside you; won’t you let Him take your hand?
- What area of your life are you most fearful in?
- What is a truth from scripture that could change your mindset? (It is totally ok to research this)!