28 October 2011

Overcoming Fear

I would imagine that most people who know me or read this blog would say that I am not a fearful person, that fear isn’t something I struggle with (except for fear of rodents).  In fact, I hope that is the perception most of you have, because for the past ten years or so I’ve made a concerted effort to conquer fear in my life.
I believe that fear has no place in the life of a Christ-follower, because fear is not of God.  For me, this principle is true from the very small fears to the very large fears.  I believe this so strongly that I have confessed my fear of mice as sin and asked God to forgive me as I try to conquer that irrational aversion.  (Still plenty of work to do on that front, unfortunately.)
Throughout the Bible, God’s message about fear has two themes: Fear God and Fear Not.  Fearing God comes from having a true understanding of who God is and as our understanding of God increases, our reverence (or fear) for God increases, which Proverbs 1:7 says is the beginning of wisdom.  The other command, to “fear not” seems to always be followed with a “because of God” statement.  For example, as Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and they are trapped at the banks of the Red Sea, Moses exhorts the people “Fear not; stand still and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today.”  (Exodus 14:13, Amplified)  It seems to me that the more we fear God, the less we fear other things because our understanding of God allows us to overcome the fear.
Here’s a little anecdote about how this “Fear God/Fear Not” principle worked out for me recently.  Fred travels a fair bit, a few days at a time for seminars, meetings, trainings, and I’m becoming used to that, but one recent night when he was away, I had a moment of overwhelming fear.  My usual approach to fear is to ask myself “What’s the worst that can happen if this fear is realized?” but when that fear has to do with losing my husband, imagining the worst case scenario sent me spiraling deeper into fear.  I simply couldn’t imagine living with the pain of losing Fred.  I began praying against the spirit of fear, confessing that the fear doesn’t come from God and asking for peace “beyond understanding.”  That peace came, and I fell asleep, but I hadn’t really overcome that fear.  The next morning, I was thinking about God’s heart for widows and orphans, when I realized that my fear was of that very thing…being a young widow…and the more I remembered God’s character and promises to support and care for the widow, the more I felt fear fading.  Obviously I don’t want to lose my husband and I pray regularly to have a long life with Fred, but a fear of God, respecting that God can take care of me and bring me through anything, allows me to fear not what tomorrow may bring, even if it’s that worst thing I can imagine.
I might have another post on fear coming soon, but to close out this post, here’s a photo of my recent birthday party.  We had a couple of nursing students over for dinner, which was prepared by not me.  The students surprised us by bringing me birthday presents, even though they’re all very broke.  We had a great time, and enjoyed some non-alcoholic wine spritzers with caramel corn for dessert.

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