The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 NIV
Facing the Unknown
When my daughter was little, she was afraid of the dark. Night after night I went through the motions of getting her ready for bed, prayed with her, and tucked her into bed. Thinking we were all set for hours of deep slumber, the calm would last little more than five or ten minutes before I heard, “Mama, Mama, come here.”
There was always something for me to check out. Look under the bed she would say. Open the closet door so she could take one last look around. Leave the door cracked so she would know we were close by.
Each time I was summoned to her room for one last ‘look see,’ I knew what she really wanted was to prolong the inevitable–bedtime. It was the ‘being alone’ part, coupled with the dark of night that got her.
It didn’t matter how many times her dad and I reassured her, fear and anxiety gripped her heart. Finally, after many attempts of getting her to settle in for the night, we were able to comfort her with a night light and a ‘Psalty’ Singing Songbook tape. What we considered to be small and insignificant, made all the difference.
In the midst of her fear, a touch of light and a bible-believing children’s character gave her God’s Word to store in her heart.
As I think about what I’m afraid of, I am reminded of my precious girl and her nighttime shenanigans. Do I allow my fears to control my thoughts or emotions like she did?
Do I make things worse than they are, or as the old German proverb says, ‘Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.’
Real or Imagined Fear
In a church service a couple of weeks ago we were asked to write down our fears. Then the pastor asked if our fears are real or imagined? Did our fears exist in our minds or are they the real deal?
My fear of heights is real. My heart races and my palms sweat. Does that mean I didn’t go to the top of the Empire State Building when I had the chance? No, it didn’t. Instead, I prayed about what scared me, gave my concerns to God and boarded the elevator for the ride to the top. The view was breathtaking and the wind was strong. I didn’t stay long on the observation deck that evening but the picture of my friends and I is priceless.
Dealing with Fear
Fear itself can be a deal breaker if I allow it to invade my heart. It could be a major stumbling block if I don’t guard against the darkness and negativity. God doesn’t intend for me or any of us to live scared. Instead He wants us to live a full life girded in righteousness, trust and faith.
2 Timothy 1:7 tells me, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” No matter what I’m facing, God calls me to a deeper relationship with Him. I am to trust Him and depend on Him in everything.
Here are four ways to overcome fear:
- Pray. Give it to the Lord and talk to Him. Pour out your concerns.
- Turn your attention from your own worries to others. Focus on and help someone else.
- Set a limit on how long you’re going to fret or worry about something.
- Grow in your faith and trust God.
Overcoming fear is often easier said than done, but these steps and our commitment to Christ can help move us in the right direction. God wants us to face our fears head on. And remember, when fear comes knocking, let Him answer the door.