Like countless people all around the world, I found myself watching the inauguration and all the drama that ensued last week. Don’t worry; this is NOT a post on politics. This remains a politic-free zone! However, as I watched the protesting, arguing, and disrespect that was rampant on both sides, I noticed something. Instead of focusing on the arguments, I began to listen to the underlying emotion behind many people’s posts on social media. And while there was undeniably anger, there was also another prevalent emotion. I lost count of the number of times someone posted: “What if this bill gets passed? What will happen if…? What can we do?” Do you see it? Underneath all the destruction (and yes, I count words as being destructive), many people were wrestling with fear.
The more I saw fear-based behavior, the more I began to think about how fear affects us. Stop and think about all the times you’ve been afraid in your life – the countless thoughts that run rampant through your mind. How will this bill be paid? What will the doctor say about the latest round of bloodwork? Will my child ever realize the error of his ways? Can my spouse and I come back from this? Fear can come in many shapes and forms, but it has one thing in common. It has the tendency to be all-consuming and completely take over our thoughts, and when that happens, there’s no telling how we will respond.
Scientists have proven that when we are afraid, our brains don’t function the way they normally do. The reason for this is because it’s preparing the body for fight-or-flight mode. Although the brain doesn’t shut down, it can restrict power in one section of the brain so another area of the brain has more energy, and that’s what happens when we’re afraid. Now this is a good thing if you’re in a life-threatening situation, such as trying to avoid a car accident or being chased by a horde of killer bees. However, when we start being afraid of things we have absolutely no control over, we lose perspective fast. It’s as if we’re an old record player that is stuck on the one scratch that the record contains.
It's no secret I’ve often struggled with fear. When you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness, one of two things usually happen. Either you begin to wrestle with anger and bitterness or you regularly deal with fear. Neither is good. For me, I spent so much of my time ensuring I didn’t become bitter about my situation that fear crept in when I wasn’t looking. I’ve lost track of how long God and I have worked on digging out the fear that has taken root in my heart. What I’ve learned over the past several years is that it’s a process. Fear, doubt, and worry act like chains that weigh us down and keep us from fully trusting God. There is a reason God tells us in His Word 365 times to not fear. He wants us to believe and rely on Him. He promised He would take care of everything that concerns us. Granted, things may not turn out the way we expect them to, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t in control.
As God and I have been working on me fully believing God, He’s begun to show me the many things that hold me back and weigh me down. The one thing He keeps showing me is that worry and fear will keep me from believing God unlike anything else. It really hit home several weeks ago when I finally realized something. Fear is faith in the enemy. It’s saying Satan is more powerful than God. Stop and think about that for a moment. Fear is saying you have a greater faith in the devil than you do in God. I don’t know about you, but I find that mind-boggling. I don’t want to have anything to do with Satan, let alone have faith in him. Yet every time I choose to hold on to my fear rather than give it to God, I’m essentially saying, “Even though my God can bring the dead back to life, He’s not strong enough to deal with my problems. Satan is going to win in this situation.”
Are you going through your own battle at the moment? I don’t know your story. Maybe you’re weighted down by fear and worry. It could be that fear is your own form of captivity. Know that God doesn’t want this for your life. Just as He freed the Israelites, He wants to free you too. He is Jehovah-Nissi.
It’s time for some victories. Don’t let fear steal that from you. Choose to believe!
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9
© January 26, 2017