Fear and I were once in a close relationship. Fear gave voice to my inhibitions and responded with answers that agreed with my feelings at the moment. Fear would tell me to avoid pursuing God’s purpose for my life by saying, “It is much better to play it safe. Do you realize the cost of being a disciple of Christ?” Fear taught me to look at circumstances and said, “Things can never improve. Are you sure you can trust the sovereignty of Christ?” At one point, I felt Fear’s role was to keep me safe and to keep me from harm or embarrassment. However, Fear has a way of knocking on our hearts, gaining access to our lives, and then remaining as a tenant. If we are not careful, fear will refuse to leave.
Many of us have learned that Fear is “good” and Fear’s intent is to keep us safe. In fact, many of us have learned that Fear is our best friend. We are quick to accept Fear and his associated relatives. I am sure you have met the Fear of Success (Achievemephobia), his role is to tell you all of the reasons you should remain in your comfort zone. You have also met the Fear of Failure (Atychiphobia), his role is to stop you from trying before you make a grave error and actually make a mistake! You might have even met the Fear of Fear (Phobophobia), his role is to make you fear Fear! Fear has a lengthy family tree and is at the heart of many ideas, behaviors, and outcomes. Fear makes sure all of your present and future decisions rely on him. Fear is controlling!
Fear is the reason we have a divided nation. Fear is the reason diversity and community is rarely discussed. Fear is the reason we never move past our fears to pursue the richness of difference. Fear is the reason we forget we were created by God and by working together, we will all be great. Fear is divisive and wants to keep us isolated from one another!
How should we respond to Fear? As I asked this question I was reminded that Fear and Faith take effort. Both need a voice in order to be alive and to move forward. If we quit giving voice to Fear, Faith can come alive! Faith always believes the best, always pursues what is right, and always believes that good can result from the darkest situations. Faith is always hopeful and always pursues what is best and just. Faith refuses to surrender to Fear and can defeat Fear under the right conditions.
As I look at my relationship with Fear, I ask you to do the same. Have you been acquainted with Fear? Is your relationship with Fear causing you to move forward or giving you permission to live a substandard existence? Is Fear truly a friend or is it an enemy to your growth and development? For me, Fear kept me from experiencing the abundant life Christ died for me to have. I refuse to give Fear any additional space in my mind, my actions, my attitude or emotions. I refuse to take the precious gift of life and spend it on Fear and its qualms. Will you decide to evict Fear from having control in your life?
Questions of the Week:
List the ways you have responded to fear recently. Why do you respond to fear in this manner?