To fear or not to fear
Updated: Apr 27, 2020
That is the question? During this COVID-19 pandemic we have the tendency to fear. Finances, job security, illness, loneliness are just a few of the fears that can keep us up at night. The words "fear not" are used 365 times in the bible. So the only day we are really free to fear is on a leap year, right? All kidding aside, it makes me think of the question, 'why do we fear'?
Loss of control comes to mind as a main reason. We can't control the outcomes. Keeping or not keeping a job. Keeping or not keeping our homes. We fear losing control of our freedoms and feeding our desires. We grow angry when we are afraid that we may lose something we hold dear.
So what are we to do when fear tries to grip us? Let go. Yep, you read that right. Let - GO!
It's hard to do that for a few reasons. One is fear, ironically, and two, often we just don't know how.
Let's explore that a bit... One of the most effective ways to let go of fear is to face it. What I mean by that is to get real with it. Most fear is embedded in our subconscious. It cannot distinguish the difference between real or imagined. Our body reacts the same (take if from someone who had anxiety disorder for 14 years).
The first step is to challenge the fear. Start asking it questions. By doing that you get out of your subconscious and into your conscious. You will find that the imagined fear slowly dissolves when it is faced with real logic. Even if the 'what if' becomes reality, what do we have to gain by worrying about what has not yet happened or may never happen?
The second step is to play it out. For example, say "Okay, so what if I lose my house because I can't pay my mortgage?" Will I die? Will the world come to an end? Will I ever get another house? The answer to all of those is probably not. It doesn't change the possibility of something catastrophic but it does kick into gear the ability to be resilient. To critically think and even plan. Thinking brings us present. Fear keeps us in the floaty no boundaries subconscious muck.
The bottom line is we can't control what we can't control, so we need to practice letting it go. And once you do, don't grab it back.
There is something I found quite funny and ironic this week. As I was praying about my finances and work (both are slimming down quite a bit) I remembered this verse "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and HE will direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6) and then I kept 'thinking' it and saying it out loud. Then I accepted it. The truth set me free - God has got this. I started to feel free and light and joyful. Then something bizarre happened...
I got fearful that I was in denial of what was happening around me! Worried that I may have put on a Pollyanna bury my head in the sand spiritual cloud floating mentality. Isn't that funny? I bet I am not the only one right?
Here is what I've learned. When we finally trust that God has really got us, no matter if the answer is not what we expect or want, HE-HAS-GOT-US. Realizing that God is our flotation device when we are feeling alone in the middle of an ocean, or the one who carries us when we feel we can't walk any further on our own, He pours over us a sense of peace and joy that makes absolutely no logical sense. Faith is about the unseen. And when we rest in the faith and trust that the God of the universe, who doesn't miss a single thing in each of our individual lives, has got us, we can find and rest in the peace that surpasses all understanding and human wisdom. It's not denial or burying our head in the sand. Its fully trusting in someone that is bigger, better and stronger than us.
So, hang on. Take a deep breath. Invite Jesus into your fear and worry and then watch what He will do with and in YOU. Sometimes he calms the storm that ends up calming the child, and sometimes he calms the child so they can press through the storm. Either way, we win with our big and amazing God.
"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)