Don’t worry. Easier said than done.
Especially for me. I come from a long generational line of worriers. Anxiety and fear have been constant companions for most of my life. Fretting has become a common pastime around here.
How about you this week?
Because every time I turn on the news fear is being magnified. We fear terror. We fear race. We fear other religions. We fear diseases (Zika? Anyone?). We even fear the upcoming election.
I even find myself worrying ABOUT WORRYING.
I’m even anxious about the fact that I am still struggling with fear and anxiety. I thought I had kicked this habit by now. But faced with circumstances outside my control this week, fear reared its ugly head once more. I couldn’t seem to shake the acceleration in my heart nor the pit in my stomach.
But here’s what I’m learning.
Be fearless. Not less fearful.
This might sound ridiculously simple, but it was super profound to me. I realized that in trying to overcome my fear and anxiety, my focus was all wrong.
My goal was to be less fearful.
You know, because being afraid a smaller percentage of the time was better than all the time. Right?
But then I was reminded of a familiar verse in the Bible:
“Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Fear not. Do not be afraid.
Those words that are mentioned countless times in the Bible. As if God really wanted to hammer a point home.
I thought I got it. Except I think what’s not being said here may be just as significant.
God didn’t say, “Don’t be afraid most of the time” or “All things considered, a little bit of fear might be helpful.”
Countless times He appears to people and tells them not to be afraid – of Him, of others, or circumstances. God wants us to be fearless. Not just less fearful. There’s a difference. I think it’s because He knows that even a little bit of fear can destroy your life in a big way.
Give fear an inch and it will take a mile. Like a disease, even the smallest amount will infect the rest of your body. A little fear here, a little anxiety there, and before you know it you’ll be reaping the consequences in more ways than just one. Which is why we need to completely root out fear altogether.
There’s no room for just a little fear. And there’s nothing biblical about being less fearful. You’re either afraid or you aren’t. You can’t be both at the same time.
Which leads me to another point.
Choose faith over fear.
When you’ve experienced trauma or tragedy firsthand, fear has a way of settling in and taking up residence in your heart. There seems to be more chaos than control these days, more darkness than light. And plenty of reasons to give in to fear.
In order to overcome fear, we have to see it for what it really is. The Bible is clear that fear does not come from God (2 Tim 1:7). Fear is from the enemy. And just like any other sin, we can also be tempted by fear.
The moment fear comes knocking at our door, we have a choice to make. We can either give into our anxieties and allow them to fester, leaving us terrified and paralyzed. OR we can turn our fears away at the door and choose not to let them into our hearts and minds.
As believers, the Bible promises that if we resist our enemy (and sin) he will flee from us (James 4:7). If we resist the urge to entertain the what if questions and the imaginations that plague us, fear will lose its power altogether.
Because fear is only powerful if we allow it to have power over us.
When God tells us not to be afraid of others or our circumstances, He gives us a good reason why. He says, “Fear not, for I am with you”.
God calms our fears with Himself. Only the presence of a God who is more powerful than our fears and mightier than our circumstances can give us the courage and strength we need to face them.
Need more? Here are 67 other reasons why we don’t need to be afraid.
When we focus on God, our fears fade. He is stronger. He is in control. He knows the future. And I’m fully confident He can handle it.
So when the days look dark and your anxiety creeps in, remember that you have a choice. Choose faith over fear. Resist the temptation to ride the roller coaster of emotion. Remind yourself that God’s got this even when you don’t.
So let’s choose this week to be fearless instead of just less fearful. And let’s trust God and put our hope in Him who is always with us.
“Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21