Let’s talk about fear. This powerful emotion that evokes actions out of the ordinary. Sometimes, unknowingly leading us to become who we are not.
During my younger days, I was more aware of my fearful tendencies. I feared crowds, meeting people for the first time. I was afraid to speak up. I was afraid to hurt people. I was afraid to be wrong or perceived so. I recall a certain season of my life when I dreaded receiving phone calls. That season brought along much bad news that with every other phone call, I feared what next would be coming. Then, as more hard stuff hit at me, my heart grew stronger. I developed coping mechanisms against pain. Some of these were good and biblical. I had started grasping God’s love and the fact that He did not enjoy seeing me heartbroken. But others, so I learned later, were simply my ‘humanly’ set of coping mechanisms. I had found my own ways of dealing with a soft/fragile heart, to ‘harden up’ as folks used to tell me.
So, I gradually went on a journey of self-reinvention that would make me more resilient to disappointment. Self-help books here and there, some self-talks and plenty of affirmations led me to turn my energies to other things so I did not have to deal with what I feared. I found myself growing into a different person. I still had not dealt with fear. The more I toughened up, the less empathetic I became. Last year, I did a personality test that returned with surprising results, describing a completely different person from the one I knew. Not that I didn’t love the new me. It was the recommendations of my areas of improvement that made me think through my life. I had suppressed many good things about me out of fear of being hurt. The very virtues that I had within me, were among the traits I needed to grow. How ironic!
I started to reflect on my journey to find out where the switch happened. It was a gradual one, influenced by several factors. But most astounding is that while I thought I had dealt with fear, at that point I realized I was very much still influenced by it. The fear of being hurt by people had led me to grow cold and stop loving in the freedom that God avails me.
“Fear – To Avoid doing something because one is afraid.” ~ Oxford English Dictionary.
There are many definitions of fear but for the purpose of this piece, I chose to share this definition. To avoid doing something because one is afraid. It led me to ask, what I’m I really afraid of? Why? Does God desire for me to live in fear? I had let fear reign over my faith in God. I had allowed it to imprison me.
God doesn’t wish for us to live in fear. I read somewhere that the phrase “fear not” is used at least 80 times in the Bible. Could this be that God knew that the moment we (humankind) gave in to the first trap of fear (through Adam and Eve), we gave room for the enemy to use fear to decrease our hope and limit our victories? The devil has a way of making us magnify lies so that we forget the Truth of who we are, whose we are and what we are here for. The only healthy fear we ought to uphold is the fear of God, for it gets us started on our journey to acquire godly wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10).
The only healthy fear we ought to uphold is the fear of God, for it gets us started in our acquisition of godly wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).
I have found that studying God’s word about the things that I struggle with, helps me get a bigger, healthier perspective. As God pointed out to me this fear issue and led me back to His truth, I thought of the many people still trapped. I came to my blog to write about it so I can help many out there to get started on their journey to freedom. But I also need to remind you, just in case you find yourself in a situation that causes you to be so fearful that you forget who you truly are, You are a child of the most sovereign God who is all knowing, all loving, all present. He will never lead you where His grace is not enough to carry you through. He says in Deuteronomy 31:8 “He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
“There’s no fear in love. But Perfect love drives out all fear…” (NIV).
I’ve learned that when I fear anything’/anyone, I am in a way setting up a ‘god’ for myself and diminishing who God is in my life. When I fear to give love the way that Jesus offers it to me, then I have not allowed His perfect love to settle within me. I am still holding on to my pride, ego, my selfishness instead of embracing His perfect love. John 4:18; “There’s no fear in love. But Perfect love drives out all fear…” (NIV).
Do not allow fear to turn you into a person that you are not. Most of all, do not allow it to stop you from living the life that Jesus, so convincingly died for, so we can all experience it. A life that exudes that pure love.
So, go on Child, spread the love. Do not hold back.
You are stronger than your fears!