Fear plays out in different ways for different people. How we respond to being afraid matters and can set the precedent for how we live our lives: timid or brave.
Fear has played an active role in my life for as long as I can remember. Fear of failure, afraid of being alone, fearful of the future. I lived in a state of constantly being afraid of what people thought of me and what could go wrong in certain situations. As the years went by I continued to be fearful, but made every effort to pretend that I wasn’t.
Recently this theme of fear and what it should look like has been popping up in my life. From songs I would hear on the radio, to the devotions I was doing, to the books I was required to read for work. They each spoke about fear in a unique way but there was a constant theme. God is obviously trying to teach me a valuable lesson about fear: fear is a liar, and fear is normal.
Fear is a Liar
One of the first things I noticed about God’s lesson on fear and its impact on my life was that fear is a liar. There is a song that is literally called “Fear is a Liar” by Zach Williams. I first heard this song when I was deciding whether or not to start sharing my story in a more public form by writing. If that isn’t clarity I don’t know what is.
Fear’s lies play out in different ways for different people. For me, the lies of fear took form in telling me that I shouldn’t do this and that I was not good enough. For others, it may come in the form of comparison…
“She has it more together than I do”
“They are happier than I am.”
“She is prettier than I am.”
These are all lies that stem from fear. The fear that we are not enough. That is a lie.
The Lie over the Call
For some of us, it may manifest itself in our actions. Fear lies to us and tells us that we can’t do it and that we are going to fail. We listen to that voice and ignore God’s call in our life.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline
2 Timothy 1:7, NLT
The lie says be afraid and be timid but the truth says that we are full of power, love, and self-discipline. Scripture is clear that God did not call us to be fearful and timid. We need to take charge of our thoughts and actions and replace the lies with the truth found in God’s word.
When we learn to replace the lies with the truth we can be rid of that fearful and timid spirit. We can find joy in God’s plan and purpose in our life.
Fear lies and it destroys. We all feel fear but at the end of the day, we need to place our trust and anxiety on our creator and protector.
Fear is Normal
Another truth I found during the journey that God has been taking me on is that fear is normal. We are going to feel fear, but the change happens when we move forward in spite of our fear. Ann Voskamp says it well in her book The Way of Abundance, “Fear can be what we feel, but brave is what we do.” We all feel afraid at times but we need to take hold of that fear and turn it into bravery.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
Psalm 56:3, ESV
This scripture tells us we will be afraid, but it doesn’t stop there. It tells us what to do in response to fear: put our trust in Him. He is our provider, our protector, and our constant source of strength. When we put our trust in him it turns our fear into action which results in power, love, and self-discipline.
When thinking about the normalcy of fear and how we will inevitably feel it, I like to think about what Jesus may have been feeling in the Garden of Gethsemane. Scripture tells us that he was in anguish “greatly distressed and troubled”. In such turmoil that His sweat had turned to blood. While scripture does not say that Jesus was afraid, it is clear that he asked God the Father to “remove this cup from me”. How would you feel if you were facing death and separation from God? Jesus didn’t stop there though. He continues, “Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).
Jesus puts His trust in God and believed that what He willed was best. He persevered, He conquered. He did not let fear or anguish or turmoil stop Him. And because Jesus did, we are able to have a personal relationship with God. We are able to receive the gift of eternal life.
And he took with him Peter and James and John and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch. And going a little farther he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said “Abba, Father all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will”.
Mark 14:34-36, ESV
We all feel afraid at times but the difference comes with what we do with that fear. This requires us to make a choice. We can choose to allow that fear to cripple us and stop us from pursuing God’s perfect plan in our life, or we can put our trust in our perfect God and overcome our fear turning it into bravery. God has the ability to rid us of our fear. That can only happen when we actively choose to put our trust in Him and His perfect will.