Throughout my life I can see different places and times I have been crippled by fear. When I was little, it was a fear to go to sleep because I was afraid of the homeless people and raccoons living in our attic (five raccoons eventually proved to be true; no idea how I imagined the homeless people).
As I’ve gotten older, fear has evolved into something that can limit, restrict, and bind me from pursuing dreams, stepping out, and fulfilling my goals. What if I fail? What if this is mistake? What if I’m missing God?
In lining things up for our most recent move, for weeks, I was plagued by a fear and anxiety that we were making a mistake. After a long process of prayer, we finally arrived to a place where we were confident that God was leading us to move and were expectant about this new season. Fast forward two days, and I watched as my joy was being squashed by irrational and insecure fears.
Paula Rinehart in her book Strong Women, Soft Hearts (yes, I’m still talking about it) wrote an incredible chapter on Living Beyond Fear that I read at the perfect time. One thing I embraced in reading it is that I’m not alone in my fears.
“I can only conclude that fear is endemic to the human condition because the Bible speaks about fear so often. Every angelic appearance begins with the same three words: Do not fear. When Joshua was preparing to enter the Promised Land, God repeated to him over and over: Do not fear, for I am with you. I guess Joshua was having a few bad dreams too. Even in the New Testament, Paul’s forceful personality did not cancel out his fear. He admitted to the Corinthians that all the time he was telling them about Jesus, he was there ‘in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.’ I find that comforting.”
If Mary, Joseph, Joshua, and Paul show signs of fear, I guess I’m in good company!
Is there anyone else out there who has been discouraged and crushed by fear? Paula says, “Fear is truly the enemy of passion and a roadblock to the wisdom God would give us…Fear can breed a kind of paralysis that makes you think you have to wait until the fear is gone to do the thing you need to do.”
(I think we need a whole post called “Paula Says”…did I mention I love her?)
Tomorrow we’ll look more at tackling fear and stepping out in spite of our fear to fulfill our dreams, but until then, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite promises about fear.