Jesus said to his followers, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” [Mark 4:40 (NCV)]
So don’t worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you. [Isaiah 41:10 (NCV)]
Yesterday, I wrote about unfounded fears. Although I’m a bit of a nervous flyer, I’d rather travel than stay home, so I pray and fly. While I’m a little nervous about heights, I’d rather ride than hike up the mountain, so I pray and ride the lifts. Since my little Ziggy-like guy can easily capture my irrational fears, they rarely plague me. It’s not fear of external things like plane crashes or gondola accidents, however, that disturb me. Instead, it’s the fear that happens when I focus on me instead of God. Will I be wounded, bothered, abandoned or tested? What if I don’t succeed, reach my goal, or make a good impression? Will I be welcome? What if I make a mistake?
Recently, during his message, our pastor asked us to call out our fears. People were afraid of being honest, rejected or criticized. They were afraid of apologizing, failing and even of succeeding. They were afraid of taking risks, moving ahead, standing up for themselves, or letting go of old habits. Those are the kinds of fear that damage our daily lives; unfortunately, they are much harder than those big unfounded ones to identify and capture.
Fears like these sneak up on us; instead of being easily spotted like a butterfly, they’re more like those no-see-ums that afflicted me last night on the beach. It was nearly impossible to see those teeny gnats but they surely made their presence known. They sucked my blood the same way those tiny niggling fears can suck the life from us. And, just like the itch from those bites annoys me today, those fears are equally irritating and troublesome. While a little cortisone and Benadryl relieve the itching, faith is the best medicine for fear.
Fear is about us and doubting our abilities; faith is about God and trusting His. Fear holds us back; faith moves us forward. Fear keeps us focused on our inabilities; faith acknowledges those inabilities and puts our focus on God. Fear restricts and faith releases. Fear prevents and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. On the other hand, faith enables and empowers us to fulfill God’s purpose for us. Our destiny is shaped by our fears or our faith. Which will it be?
Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. [Les Brown]
We can feed our faith with the Word, rather than feeding doubt with the devil’s lies. [Joyce Meyer]