When I was a child I feared not being liked. When I was older, I feared losing the popularity I had longed for. My fear so consumed me that I hurt those around me and sacrificed true friendships for pseudo friends.
I feared not being liked by boys or losing boyfriends, so I engaged in dangerous activities to keep their attention. When I got pregnant at a young age, I feared what my parents would think, so I kept my pregnancy a secret until I couldn’t hide it anymore. I feared disappointing my parents and I feared taking care of a baby at such a young age. I feared that the baby would end my relationship with my boyfriend. So, I had an abortion.
I feared the disapproval of others, so I engaged in unhealthy and harmful activities in an effort to be liked by them.
I feared marriage and how it would change me.
Because of the abortion I had in my teens I feared never having children, and I feared God’s punishment if I did have children. I feared failure as a parent by making irreversible mistakes with our children.
I feared losing my parents, friendships, children, spouse, and my financial security.
I feared no longer being needed by my adult children. I feared their future.
I feared trying new things.
I had a lot of fear!
God helped me see all my fears for what they were—false evidence appearing real—by taking me on an Alaskan cruise without cell service or internet access. I had no connection to the people I love, no social media, email, texting, or even phone communication. With no way to control the situations I feared, I had no choice but to trust the Lord to do as He knew best, and to trust that whatever lay ahead, I would be okay. I was in His hands.
Without distractions, I was alone with the Father and spent uninterrupted time in the Word and in prayer. I was able to honestly share my fear with Him, and I questioned what would happen if all my present fears came true. Would they—or could they—steal me from the One who holds my life in His hands? Was turning away from Him an option I might consider?
Ultimately, I repented of my lack of trust and faith in Him. Mercifully, none of my fears came true while I was isolated on that cruise ship.
Here’s what I learned about fear.
Fear in and of itself is not wrong—it’s natural and it can save your life! For example, if you didn’t fear fire, you would get burned.
The fear of God is also good! “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).” This kind of fear is awe or reverence of the Creator of your soul, the Author and Finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2).
But the wrong kind of fear can cause us to react irrationally, illogically, and impulsively. It can paralyze us and leave us feeling helpless, defeated, and lost. Fear erodes our dreams and makes us think life is hopeless. It convinces us we must wrestle alone. Fear looks at the ‘here and now’ instead of the ‘not yet’ and whispers lies into our minds. When we give in to fear, we can feel like we’re losing our minds because we believe there’s no way out or that all we have left to live for is what we dread. Fear can cause us to question if we’ll survive what’s to come because we’ve played out all the worst-case scenarios in our minds and they all lead to pain and suffering and loss. It can rob us of breath and lead us to question if we even want to endure what comes next.
The truth is that this kind of fear is nothing more than false evidence appearing real.
How can we live without the wrong kind of fear?
There is hope for those who trust in Jesus as our Savior, because God’s Word tells us, “God has not given you a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).” God has given us His Spirit—”For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’ (Romans 8:15).” So we no longer have to live in the fear that once took our peace and kept us bound.
In 1 John 4:18 it says that, “there is no fear in love; but perfect love drives out fear.” God’s love is perfect. He loves you, He made you, and He delights in you (Psalm 139:14). His love provides the supernatural peace that delivers us from the natural fears that bind us.
My friend, you don’t need to go on a cruise like I did to be alone with the Father or to share your heart with Him in prayer. You can start right where you are in the quiet of your own home. Be still with the Lord. Read His Word and allow His love for you to strengthen your trust in Him and free you from fear. Lay down what you have no control over—the fears that seem to control you—at the feet of the One who already knows it all and loves you.
If you struggle with fear and wish to experience how God can help you with this, consider joining a Healing Hearts Bible study for men or women. To find out more about the ladies studies offered at RMCC, please contact Lee-Ann Chisholm at email@example.com or call/text 403-608-0064. For information about men’s studies, contact www.healinghearts.org.