Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Five Things I Fear and Why I Shouldn't

Everyone feels afraid at some point in their lives - whether it is a small, anxious feeling that will not go away, or an overwhelming paralyzing phobia. We each choose how we deal with these fears, how we face them, and whether or not we let them control our lives, but regardless, we all have fears and we all worry.

The Bible specifically talks about two types of fear. One - fear of God. Two - fear of earthly things. I wonder which type of fear is most prevalent in peoples hearts?

The first type, fearing God, is beneficial to our lives. It causes us to have a beautiful reverence for God, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and behaviors. It is a reverent fear that causes to have respect for His Word and His soveriegnty over the world.

The second type, fearing random stuff in an earthly life, is a stumbling block in our lives and in our faith. This is the type of fear that needs to be overcome and that prevents us from fully trusting God. This is the type of fear that is hardest to overcome.

I am going to let down my guard here, and tell you my five biggest fears, which are in no particular order. These are simply the first five things that came to mind, but Im sure if I thought hard enough, I could come up with some more.

My Top Five Fears:

1. Spiders
2. My childrens health and safety
3. Heights
4. Conflict
5. Marriage failure

As I was looking at this list above, I realized something very interesting that I had never thought of before...... I have no power to control any of these things.

God is God. Only He has the power to control all things, big and little. Only He has the power to make things happen, make things not happen, and predict the future.

Question: Why do we waste time on fear? Why do we allow certain fears to take up residence in our heart? Why do some fears become overwhelming and gut-wrenching? Why do we worry instead of trusting God? Why cant we just overcome fears, and be more like Christ?

Answer: Because God is God, and we are not. He has the power. We have none.

Let me break down my top five fears individually to prove my point about why it is so beneficial to relase our fears our God, and stop fretting, and fearing:

1. Spiders - I have always had an overwhelming, numbing, leg-weakening fear of spiders. In my minds eye, even the tiniest spider is, in essence, a tarantula. I am afraid that every grandaddy long legs I see is going to leap five feet and get on me (I know, they dont jump; just saying). But eight legs are eight legs no matter how big, small, short, or long they are. Creepy. Creepy.

Reality: God is God. God made spiders. Nothing I do will cause them to be extinct. They are not going to go away. The likelihood of ever seeing a tarantula up close and personal where I live is rare. Most spiders will not hurt me, and I will run from all of them, so the likelihood of getting fatally bitten is one in a million. Thus - an unnecessary fear.


2. My childrens health and safety - ever since my three children were born, I have worried that something would happen to them. When they were little, it was such an overwhelming fear that I would actually have visions of bad things happening. Now that they are older, the fears are even more compounded, and what-if's and worry can drive me crazy if I let it.

Reality: God is God. He loves my children more than I do. He holds their futures in His hands and knows the number of hairs on each of their heads. He has plans to prosper them, and give them a future and a hope. I have learned over the years to worry less, and pray more, and to trust that God is surrounding them with a hedge of protection everywhere they go, but even then, I cannot control the future. Thus - an unnecessary fear.


3. Heights - I have no problem flying in an air plane, but put me in a situation where the possibility of falling is even a remote possibility, I feel weak in the knees (think rollercoasters, high balconies, high rise elevators)...or, maybe I should just say my imagined possibility of falling. For example, while visiting the St. Louis arch a few years ago, I practically crawled on my stomach when I got to the top because I was sure the wind was going to blow the entire structure to the ground. Sad, but true.

Reality: God is God. If it is His will for me to plunge thousands of feet to my doom, then so be it - however, that is highly unlikely, especially since I typically do not go anywhere that presents that possibility. I believe that God loves me and that His protection surrounds me, but only He knows the number of days we have on earth. Thus - an unnecessary fear.


4. Conflict - I needed to call a teacher recently about a problem one of my children was having in class. I fretted for two days about calling her. I rehearsed what I would say over and over before I called, in an effort to avoid saying anything that might turn the conversation into a confrontation. In fact, anytime I have ever had an unresolved issue with another person, I worry myself sick over having to face it and confront it. Get the picture - I dont like conflict!

Reality: God is God. Conflict is a part of life. But through prayer, God can give me the strength to face any problem. He can help open my eyes to see the situation from His point of view, how to deal with the problem, and how to see the other persons point of view. I can pray for Him to guide my actions, thoughts, and words when dealing with this person, and ask Him to intervene in the situation - before, during, and after. He already knows how the sitation will turn out and He hears my prayers. Thus- an unnecessary fear.


5. Marriage failure - I think the fact that my parents got divorced when I was 15, created a hidden fear in my heart that one day that would be my fate too. In my first number of years in our marriage, I was sure that every conflict, every disagreement, and every letdown, was one more step down the path to divorce.

Reality: God is God. God ordained marriage, and it is His will for every marriage to survive. I have seen God work miracles in my marriage over the years, and my husband and I recently celebrated 20 years of marriage. Marriage is hard, and everyone deals with trials and struggles in a relationship. But God is still God, and He is stronger than any problem we can face. If we trust Him, devote our marriage to Him, trust Him, and make prayer and faith a priority, He will intervene. The reality also is that not all marriages survive, but all marraiges are in Gods hands, and He loves us individually no matter what. Thus - an unncessary fear.


What I have come to realize, over time, is that although these fears may be warranted, they are unnecessary in the scope of our lack of power in the universe.

Also, these fears are soooooooooooo normal. They are common. They are frequent. And they are only a minute sampling of the fears that people face and struggle with every day, from little daily problems to huge life altering situations.

Unfortunately, we do not have the natural ability to fight off feelings of fear and worry, but we do have the ability to fight it off WITH GOD. We do have the power to tap into Gods power, through prayer and building a relationship with Him.

Once we learn to put our full trust in Him, in all situations big and small, only then can we learn not to be afraid of the things that hold our hearts captive.

Psalm 5:11 "But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you." (NIV)

When we embrace that God is God, and that our fears are unnecessary because of His power and His sovereignty, then we can begin to trust Him, take refuge in Him, believe in His protection, and sing for joy.

If you ask me, those things sound a lot more wonderful than spending life hanging on to, and fretting over, all of my fears.

No matter what fear you are holding in heart, remember, that God is God.

What are you fearing today? What are your top five fears? Ask yourself if those fears are based on reality, on your desired ability to control them, or if they are unnecessary? Consider whether you have released those fears to God, and if you are trusting Him with your whole heart in all things.

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3 comments:

Allison Morrison said...

All of the things I fear are unnecessary and out of my control...all I can control on this earth is my part in my relationship with Christ. But just for fun I'll list the first 5 things that come to mind:
1) Snakes
2) Flying
3) Something happening to my kids
4) The future
5) Satan (spiritual warfare)


So unfounded these are...God is in control. God is God and I AM NOT!

Wander said...

I have these same fears sneak in on my joy too.
The main one involves my kids. They are 20, 17 & 16 so I don't have to say much more to convince you what my mind can dream up.

Somedays....I literally feel like my brain is a battlefield of worry.
I'm NOT in control. I just repeat to myself....Christ is in control.

Anonymous said...

I used to worry about so many things in the hope that worry would mean control. Once I realized that I was not in control and God is...and that worry is a wasted emotion, I do not worry near as much. Worry is actually a lack of faith in God. Although, I don't worry as much, it still sneaks back in at times but I try to pray and remember God is in control.
Teresa