When you think of fear, what comes to mind? If you're at all like me, you will think of a memory of something that made you fearful or scared. Maybe it was a childhood memory or a nightmare that still comes back to bug you. Or maybe it's something very real that threatens to panic you and send your thoughts racing and your heart pounding. Maybe you even start to think about all the times that you allowed fear to hold you back from all the things you love and enjoy. Either way, fear is a very real and powerful thing. And when we allow fear to stand in our way, it can keep us from doing the activities and things that we love, it can lead us away from the plan God has from us, and can even make us make decisions that we know are not good for us but we make them anyway when faced with fear. Fear is a very real and dangerous thing. But before we go over some ways to stop fear in its tracks, we have to figure out a few things first. First of all, what is fear?
Dictionary.com puts it this way, "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid."
Believe it or not, little amounts of fear every now and again can be really helpful. A little bit of fear can motivate us into starting something new, or jumping into action when needed. In fact, fear is the body's natural response to danger. Without this response, called the "fight or flight" response, we would be in real trouble. In the face of real danger, we would continue going about our business like nothing was the matter, and would eventually die because we wouldn't have any sense that would tell us something was wrong. In a sense, this response was created by God to protect us. The problem is that humans have taken this response and generalized it, becoming afraid of small things that God never intended us to be afraid of in the first place! Nowadays, humans are afraid of almost anything! If you've ever Googled a list of fears out there, the list can seem to go on and on, seemingly never ending! Now I'll be the first to admit, the list of things I'm afraid of would seem a bit long as well. But that's nothing to be ashamed of, as long as we have a way to fix it and don't just keep wallowing in our fears and not doing anything about them!
So if a little bit of fear can be helpful, what happens when this little amount of fear becomes generalized and we become afraid of much smaller, unimportant things, such as spiders, that job interview, a test in school, or going to the dentist? We can allow these simple fears to hinder our every day life. Having too much fear can stop us from doing God's work, and this overjoys the evil one. He hates to see us completing God's work in our life, and uses fear as one of the main ways to stop us in our tracks. Having too much fear in our lives can also make us make snap decisions or think quickly without really thinking things out or asking God for direction in our lives. Again, this is thrilling to the evil one because when we make decisions without asking God's direction first in our lives, we have a much greater chance of making decisions that are not in God's will for our lives.
Fear can be a very disastrous thing when it gets out of hand. But if we can learn to stop fear in its tracks, we can destroy fear and be one step closer to living the life that God has planned for us. Be on the look out for part two on fear called, "Fear(Part 2): Through the Goo and into Victory!" which will explain some of the things that we can do to escape the grasp that fear has on our lives and start living the life that God has planned for us. Until then, here are some encouraging Bible verses on the topic of fear:
"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. (NKJV)" ~ Deuteronomy 31:6
"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?
(NKJV)" ~ Psalm 27:1
"I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals, human beings who are but grass, that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretches out the heavens and who lays the foundations of the earth, that you love in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor?" ~ Isaiah 51:12-13