Afraid, unafraid, fear, fearless, living boldly, boldness, God’s love, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Feeling Afraid: Boldly Living Because God’s Love Drives Out Fear

Many situations in our lives have left us feeling afraid. How can we overcome these fears and live boldly? How do we allow God’s love to drown our fears?



For a time in my life, I was afraid of the down escalator. So bizarre. I actually panicked once trying to get on it. I had to turn away, walk a loop, and then try again. I succeeded the second time. I still can’t help feeling afraid whenever I have to get on, but it’s much better now…

Many situations in our lives have left us feeling afraid. How can we overcome these fears and live boldly? How do we allow God's love to drown our fears? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #afraid #fear #fearless #LivingBoldly #boldness #unafraid #brave #GodsLove

Feeling Afraid

A bigger fear I have is cockroaches. For real. Even if there is one dead I can’t pick it up. I have to use the vacuum, or more likely I’ll leave it for my husband to pick up. One time I sucked one up with the vacuum but it was still alive, so I took the vacuum outside until my husband got home. When we were first married, he tried to “cure” me of my fear and have me pick a dead one up with a pair of tweezers that were on the end of a super fancy fly-swatter (why did we have a fancy fly-swatter?). His “cure” ended up with me in tears, begging him to not make me do it (we have come a long way in the past 15+ years).

The peak of this fear was when I was painting an apartment that we were going to be moving into while we lived in Chicago. I went to remove a smoke detector, and as I was twisting it, all this dust started to fall. When I saw that it was actually roaches falling to the floor, I had a full-blown panic attack. Thankfully they were all dead, otherwise, I probably would have busted my head as I passed out and fell off the ladder. Unfortunately, I have several stories like this. For some reason, they only try to attack me, never my husband.

(Just for the record, our first place was new construction, which results in these bugs coming indoors. The Chicago apartment was truly infested, but we had a pest control service come and get it under control. Now we live in the country, and bugs are just a part of life.)

Real Fear…What If’s

I fear rejection. What if I put myself out there and no one responds? What if I pursue a friendship and get the cold-shoulder? What if I tell someone an idea I have and they don’t share my excitement?

I fear missing out. What if there is an opportunity and I don’t take it? What if it would have been a great thing? What if the opportunity never presents itself again?

I fear that I won’t always like my children. What if they disappoint me? What if they make choices I don’t agree with? What if I don’t want to be around them?

I fear that I will no longer be attractive to my husband. What if he doesn’t want to be with me? What if he wants a wife with bigger boobs? What if my heart gets broken?

Is there truth in fear?

There are things that happen in our lives that shape us, good and bad. Perhaps our friends, a spouse, or even a stranger has rejected us. Perhaps opportunities have passed that we regret not taking. Maybe we have developed an idea in our minds that is not realistic or attainable.

We need to get control of our thoughts and acknowledge that we have listened to lies. LIES!! They are all lies!!

We need to replace the lies with truth.

The truth is, our perfect God loves us with His perfect love. You dear momma/dear lady/dear one, are loved. Fully, completely, no-need-to-fear loved.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

1 John 4:18, ESV

Are people going to hurt us? Yep.

Are people going to let us down? Yep.

Are our children going to disappoint us? Yep.

We are all messy humans, and we are all going to mess up and cause messes.

But our identity, our confidence, our self-worth… it does not come from other people or situations. We can live boldly because we have been loved boldly. We are fiercely loved. And in that love, fear can no longer remain.

Afraid…but GOD has loved me.

So what are you afraid of?

The truth is, our perfect God loves us with His perfect love. You dear momma/dear lady/dear one, are loved. Fully, completely, no-need-to-fear loved. Click To Tweet

Many situations in our lives have left us feeling afraid. How can we overcome these fears and live boldly? How do we allow God's love to drown our fears? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #afraid #fear #fearless #LivingBoldly #boldness #unafraid #brave #GodsLove

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
fear, grace, trust, unafraid, surrender, control, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Unafraid: Trusting God to Take Control of Our Lives

Fear is crippling. We must surrender the reins of control to God. In order to live a trusting and unafraid life, we must accept His grace and mercy, daily.



Trust. Five letters. One simple concept. We utilize it on a daily basis…

We trust that our alarm clock will go off in the morning and wake us up. Trust that our coffee maker will brew the liquid gold that is such a necessity to many of us. We trust that our car will start. Hopefully!

With significantly more certainty, we trust that gravity will continue to keep us pinned to the earth. We trust that the Earth will continue its orbit around the Sun. On smaller scales, we trust for personal, daily needs. On a grand scale, we trust our needs to be continuously supported on this planet we call home.

So, if we so easily trust these small things for our continued existence, why do we find it so hard to trust the One? The One who allows for, and is in control of, all the aforementioned things and more, to happen?

Fear is crippling. We must surrender the reins of control to God. In order to live a trusting and unafraid life, we must accept His grace and mercy, daily. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #fear #control #grace #trust

Control

The reason is fear! Four letters. One powerful concept. It has the ability to make us fight, flee, or even freeze in our tracks. Fear is “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.” The key words in this definition are real or imagined.

Fear stems from a lack of control. The more we feel out of control, the more we are afraid, and the more we are afraid, the more we try and take matters into our own hands. In short, the more out of control we feel the more we try and control our life situations and the less we trust.

Let me tell you a secret…

Come close.

Closer.

Closer.

Right there…

Control is an illusion.

Trust is Peace

We have no control. We think we do because it keeps the fear at bay, but we really have precious little control over our circumstances. This is a lesson the Lord has been trying to teach me over the last five years. But here is another secret, the less I try to control my circumstances, and the more I trust God to take care of me, the more peace I feel.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7, NIV

Fear is easy. Being afraid comes naturally. We fight to keep something from happening or to keep someone or something safe. Or we freeze, unable to do anything. The wonderful thing is we don’t have to fight. The fight has already happened and God is the victor. Because we are His, we have nothing to run from, but Someone wonderful to run to.

‘Fear Not’

Staying unafraid is hard. It is an active choice we have to make almost every minute of every day. The phrase “fear not” is mentioned 365 times in the Bible.

He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV
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Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.

Isaiah 43:1, NIV
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When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Psalm 56:3, NIV
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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 23:4, NIV

To name a few and store in our memory banks.

Human Nature

God knew fear would be our natural fallen state. He knew we would need a daily reminder of our victory through Him. Even from the moment Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden and were afraid to approach Him, God knew. They had an intimate relationship with Him. They knew who He was and how He felt about them, yet they were afraid and ashamed of their sin. But, they couldn’t bring themselves to look at God.

The fall of Adam and Eve in Eden is the first instance of humans trying to take control. They were the first to feel shame, guilt, and the weight of fearful baggage. It is the first time humans tried to fight for themselves…

We have someone to fight for us. We have nothing to fear. In the absence of fear, there is trust. Psalm 20:7 says: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” When we have nothing and no one to fear, trust comes easier.

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 27:1, NIV

I am reminded of the words in Chris Tomlin’s song Whom Shall I Fear, “I know who goes before me. I know who stands behind. The God of Angel Armies is always by my side.” Romans 8:31 says: “More Than Conquerors. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” The Bible and worship songs are filled with reminders of the victory we have through Jesus.

Unafraid

Like being unafraid, trust is hard. We, unfortunately, mix our sinful human emotions and experiences with who God is. We mix our hurt and lack of trust with who God is. He has never let us down. He is not the boyfriend, fiancé, or husband who cheats and abandons. God is not the best friend who betrays trust or backstabs. He is not the mother or father who abandoned a helpless child. He is not the source of anyone’s pain, He is the healer.

We all have these experiences and hurts…baggage if you will…that we carry around with us. He not only wants to carry our baggage but dispose of it so we don’t have to carry it anymore.

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.

Psalm 55:22, NIV

Trust and being unafraid are active, daily choices. To live a fearless life and to fully trust God, we must allow God to heal us and take the reins of our life.

I am so thankful that the Lord is patient and offers daily renewed grace and mercy.

Grace. Mercy. Two words. Five letters each. Concepts that are life-changing.

Like being unafraid, trust is hard. We mix our sinful human emotions and experiences with who God is. We mix our hurt and lack of trust with who God is. He has never let us down! Click To Tweet

Fear is crippling. We must surrender the reins of control to God. In order to live a trusting and unafraid life, we must accept His grace and mercy, daily. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #fear #control #grace #trust


At the age of 12, Rachel was called into ministry and dedicated her life to the Lord’s will. This led her to teach and work at a school in Korea for four years after college. Through the Lord’s help, Rachel has grown because of these experiences. She’s learned to solely rely on God and trust His provision for everything.

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Fear: Brokenness Ultimately Leads to Living Fearlessly

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless.



My earliest memory of fear occurred when I was a child of six. On a warm summer evening, my family went to the home of some good friends of my parents for dinner. All my brother and I cared about was that they had kids close to our age – two boys. (It seems none of my parent’s friends had girls, but that’s another story!) While the adults chatted after the meal, we children happily played outside on the swing-set laughing, yelling, and probably arguing. 😉 Suddenly, I felt something stinging my face; the pain was immediate and intense. Jumping off the swing, I ran screaming to my mother, who soothed me and quickly assessed I had at least two bee stings on my face. Her friend made a paste of baking soda and water to apply to the stings while I rested on mom’s lap.

Within several moments I was ready to return playing with our friends, but no words came out when I opened my mouth to speak. I tried once again, but to no avail. Panicked, I got mom’s attention and she realized my body was swelling. Things were moving quickly from there. Fear spread throughout the group as they were preparing to take me to the hospital. Fortunately for me, mom had recently read an article regarding deadly allergic reactions some people had to bees and that a new desensitization process was being offered by the medical community. That article saved my life.

Needless to say, despite several years of shots to alleviate my reaction to bees, I spent decades being deeply afraid of them. I’m blessed to say I’ve raised perennial flower beds for 15 years now.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1, NKJV

Fear: Rejection

In high school, I wanted to be popular…translated – liked/loved. As a result, I became a cheerleader, joined clubs, became editor of the newspaper, etc. Guess what? There were still people who didn’t like me. Shocker, I know. For reasons unknown, I can recall one particularly vicious phone call I received from a popular girl about something I didn’t do, but she thought I did. Even though I professed Jesus, I was looking for acceptance at the wrong addresses.

Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation from generation to generation.

Isaiah 51:7-8, NKJV

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless.

Fear: Paralyzed

When I was a young mother with a baby, my husband worked a swing shift. I didn’t like staying alone on the nights he had to work, but I spent most evenings at my parents’ until it was time to take my son home and put him to bed. But then one night while we all were out, our home was burglarized. My husband and I felt violated.

After that, fear blossomed like a sunflower in my chest. I heard every noise, real or imagined, in the house or the basement. Its embarrassing to remember the times I would call our neighbor over to check the house because I thought I had heard something. (He and his wife were very gracious!) This fear lasted so long it was making me physically ill – I was trying to stay awake all night, begging God to keep us safe. I was thinking of escape plans for my son and I should someone break in. It was difficult.

Fear: Delivered

During this time, I was working with first graders in Sunday School. One week we made a prayer wheel out of paper plates. For every need on one side of the wheel, there were Bible verses on the other side that applied to the need. “Coincidentally,” my husband worked nights that week, which I dreaded with a vengeance. In desperation, one night I pulled that children’s prayer wheel out and turned it to fear, looking up each verse. I told God I was so weary of living this way, and I knew that He didn’t want me to anymore. (He does say, “Fear not” 365 times in His Word!) From that night forward, the paralyzing fear left me. Has it attempted to return? Sure, but God has delivered me from the stronghold of fear each time.

I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be made like grass? And you forget the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth; You have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, when he has prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor?…But I am the Lord your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared – the Lord of hosts is His name. And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand…

Isaiah 51:12-16a, NKJV

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless.

Fear: Be Fearless

I believe we all battle with fear in one form or another. Otherwise, why did God mention it so often? Sometimes I wonder if our fear isn’t used by God to help bring about needed brokenness…because only out of brokenness comes fearlessness. And isn’t that what we really want – to be fearless? Even Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for this in him in Ephesians 6:16-20.

Louie Giglio said in a sermon at 2012 Passion, “Minimize your fears by maximizing your one fear and realizing this: I’m already chained to Jesus Christ. The only thing I’m afraid of is living an insignificant life.”

Amen.


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Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless.

Luke Matthews


I was afraid, but God… loved me.

This is one of the truths you will learn in the study, but God…Where the Story Changes.

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Heard: Embodying Godly Virtues While Speaking Truth

Everyone has an opinion, and not all opinions exist from truth. It can be difficult to embody Godly virtues while trying to be heard.



My 30th birthday is fast approaching. Yes, yes… I’ve heard it all… “You’re so young!” “You’re just a baby!” “Wait, what!? You’re not 30 yet?” I have been the subject of these phrases a lot, lately. At first I laughed, then I felt a bit fired up and defensive, but now I’m feeling encouraged!

Being perceived as “young” has a few negative connotations. Some have a hard time taking stock in what you say. Some categorize you into your “generation name” (I will spare my opinions on that). Some, just simply do not show much respect toward those younger.

My attitude about my age was encouraged when I read through the entire book of Job. Please do this if you haven’t in a while or ever. I also encourage you to switch between NIV and MSG versions, as both can help you understand the intense conversations between Job and his friends.

Encouraged reading Job? Job is depressing and what in the world does that have anything to do with age?

The back and forth between the three friends had me all sorts of confused! Rightfully so. These men were “old” and “wise”, right? Should I side with the friends? Should I side with Job? I had lost all sense of “hope”, then this fiery young fella, Elihu, rises up and lays in to them all! Who the heck is Elihu? He was not the subject of any Sunday school lessons. What makes him worthy of 6 chapters in the book of Job?

“You have my attention Elihu!”

Heard: Show Respect

Elihu is the youngest of the men gathered, and he acknowledges that fact first. He also makes it known that because of his youth, he has held his tongue while the old guys banter.

I’m a young man, and you are all old and experienced. That’s why I kept quiet and held back from joining the discussion.

Job 32:6, MSG

I hung on your words while you spoke, listened carefully to your arguments. While you searched for the right words, I was all ears.

Job 32:11, MSG

This is one of the best character traits we see in Elihu. He is the embodiment of respecting your elders. He showed respect, thus, his words were received. Elihu waited his turn; not interrupting those he did not side with. He did not belittle their opinions by making fun or laughing at them. He waited patiently, really listening to their words.

Heard: Confidence Through Truth

I kept thinking, ‘Experience will tell. The longer you live, the wiser you become. But I see I was wrong—it’s God’s Spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty One, that makes wise human insight possible.

Job 32:7-8, MSG

Elihu was not afraid to speak his feelings to his elders because he knew his words were true; truth, Spirit prompted from the innermost of his heart. The same should be true, when we write or speak against anyone’s personal opinions and feelings. We must make sure we do it from a position of knowledge. Whether it’s in God’s word, or extensive research on the matter. Above all, our argument should not be from a place of anger or animosity.

Everyone has an opinion, and not all opinions exist from truth. It can be difficult to embody Godly virtues while trying to be heard.

Heard: Be Reasonable

Elihu was extremely passionate about what he was saying. However, in the midst of the intensity, he was also reasonable.

My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know. The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Answer me then, if you can; stand up and argue your case before me. I am the same as you in God’s sight;

Job 33:3-6, NIV

He was reasonable enough to acknowledge that he was fired up, but that he should not be held in a higher regard than any other. Particularly, he recognized that his words were not his own, but from the Spirit of God.

 

Everyone has an opinion, and not all opinions exist from truth. It can be difficult to embody Godly virtues while trying to be heard.

Heard: All-Inclusive

Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you men of learning. For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.

Job 34:2-4, NIV

I believe this is one of the most important characteristics to learn from Elihu. Elihu included everyone listening, in his argument. He truly invited all of the men to enter in to his speech. To learn, together, the power of God. Elihu spoke from the ground with the others, not from a lofty, high above pedestal. In other words, he spoke from a posture of equality, not from a know-it-all angle.

Heard: What God Speaks

When God finally spoke, he scolds Job, all three of his friends, but makes no mention of Elihu. I believe Elihu ushered in the Spirit of God while he was speaking. Although he was the youngest of the men, he was the most impactful. He spoke with passionate truth, humility, and love for God.

Elihu has me encouraged for the future. Yes, I may be the youngest of most of those I hang around, but I believe, if I can embody the characteristics of Elihu, I can make a lasting impact. How humbled I would be, if the Lord chose me to usher in his Spirit so those with closed hearts would hear and know His truth!

What about you? Have you ever heard of Elihu? Do you find these characteristics helpful when approaching an intense subject with differing opinions?


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Above all, our argument should not be from a place of anger or animosity. Click To Tweet

Everyone has an opinion, and not all opinions exist from truth. It can be difficult to embody Godly virtues while trying to be heard.