Monday, February 8, 2016

Fear Not

“The only thing we have to fear is...fear itself.” (Franklin D Roosevelt)

All of my life I have struggled with a spirit of fear. Every decision I made and everything I did was controlled and directed by fear. It didn’t matter of what—what would or wouldn’t happen, where I was or wasn’t, what was known or unknown—I simply was afraid. Fear controlled how I felt about myself and how I interacted with the world around me. But fear is not a bad thing. Fear is the emotional fuel of self-preservation. God gave us fear to alert us to danger and react accordingly. But somewhere early in my life, the enemy perverted this wonderful gift of healthy fear into a tyrant that imprisoned me. Because of fear I was paralyzed even when it came to the smallest of things like asking a store clerk where an item was in the store. If I couldn’t find it, even if I desperately needed it, I would go home without it because fear would not allow me to ask a person where something was!! Fear is why I did or didn’t do everything and anything. This debilitating fear permeated my life and stole my self-worth and confidence. Fear stole my dreams in sleep and for life.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." (Ambrose Redmoon)

I couldn’t overcome my fear and so I let it build a wall around me to keep everything and everyone away from me. I’d look for the danger and find it and fear it every waking moment. And then I became a mother and I didn’t have the luxury of letting my fear hold me back when my son needed me to chase away the monsters in his closet and under his bed. When he needed medicine or food I couldn’t find in the store, I found the courage to ask. Some of my biggest triumphs over my fear occurred because my son needed me to be strong for him. I had found courage, but still could not escape the life-crushing fear that had become a part of me.

Ten years ago, a friend gave me the greatest gift ever!!! He gave me God’s Word. Specifically, he gave me Isaiah 43:1-5a.
But now, GOD’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
    the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am GOD, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.
 “So don’t be afraid: I’m with you.

Over the last ten years, I’ve turned often to this passage when I felt fear grabbing hold. And in that time God has proven he is faithful to a point that the enemy can no longer convince me that God doesn’t care about me or that God will not act to save me. I still hesitate from time to time with fear, but then I look to the God who loves me and has called me and walk on toward the next adventure.