According to Mirriam-Webster Dictionary (online) fear is, “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc. whether the threat is real or imagined.”
Lately, I’ve realized how I’ve let fear rule me. I’ve allowed my fears to guide my decisions, my actions (or inactions), and my relationships. These fears have become such a part of who I am and what I’ve done for so long that I have come to view them as part of my personality as opposed to the handicap that in reality they have become. Over the past several months God has been using people and circumstances to reveal to me the capacity at which I’ve allowed fear to motivate and direct me.
Fear is debilitating because it causes us to cower away from decisions and actions due to imagined results. Fear keeps us thinking about pleasing others and their opinions about us as well as our own failures and unrealized goals.
For me, I’ve allowed the first question that pops in my mind when a decision is to be made become, “What would ___________ think about me if I did this.” I’ve chalked up this attitude to a self-conscious personality when in reality it is a lifestyle driven by fear. I’ve kept myself from pursuing many a dream or goal by becoming fearful of failing and/or letting people down. This is no way to live a happy life.
So…as God has revealed more and more to me the ways I’ve allowed fear to reign over me I’ve been letting go piece by piece of those fears. An example, this blog. For years I’ve dreamed of writing and becoming a part of a writing community, but I’ve only really shared that with my husband. He is so brave and courageous and always pushes me to reach my goals and has always been a positive believer in me. This winter a great friend of mine talked to me about how she could sense that I was fearful and I needed to stop worrying about haters because they are always going to be there and I can do nothing to stop that. I prayed about that idea and although at first that statement scared me it became a statement that began to lead me down the road toward freedom.
I began throwing off my fears one at a time. I began to publish my blog. My mentality has been the whole time that if someone doesn’t like something I post or is uncomfortable with details from my life then they have the right to not read my posts or unfollow my blog. I haven’t been writing to please or impress anyone. It’s been therapeutic in one sense and has also helped me toward pursuit of a dream. During this time I’ve also been more vocal at work. I think my fears over time had made me a bit of a pushover, but lately at work I’ve let my ideas and goals become known to the administration and I’ve gained a lot of respect for stepping out in that way.
I’m nowhere near done with dealing with my fears, but God is doing a big work in my heart and life and I am thankful for that. I no longer think about what could happen, and instead focus on who I am and where I’m heading. The root of fear is believing that God cannot accomplish all that he says that he can. Fear is telling God that He is not in control. I just want to allow God to direct my steps and my actions and take back the reigns from anyone or anything else that I’ve allowed to do so in my life.
I want to leave you with a few verses that speak wonders to me in my fears:
Psalm 23:4- Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 27:1- The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 118:6-The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
2 Timothy 1:7-For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Psalm 115:11-You who fear him, trust in the Lord-he is their help and shield.
Deuteronomy 31:6- Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Isaiah 54:4-Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
1 John 4:18- There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.