Over the last two weeks I have heard the word “fear” used to describe my attitude or actions on multiple occasions. It has come from my own lips a couple of times. One of the pastors at our church used it in two different conversations, days apart. My precious, loving husband has also described me this way a time or two. When something recurs in my life like that, I assume that God just might be trying to get something through to me and that I should take some time to stop and listen. So, I did. When I sat down and stopped to think, I realized that yes, I am a very fearful person!
- I’m afraid of being rejected.
- I’m afraid of being accepted!
- I’m afraid I’ll fail at the things I do.
- I’m afraid that I’ll succeed!
This list could go on and on and on. Some fears are debilitating. When my husband is out of town, I am so afraid of being home alone, that I often won’t go out at night. Instead, I’ll find something to do at home, keep the doors locked and bolted, and keep every light in the house turned on. And I won’t sleep much, if at all.
In relationships with people, I am so afraid that I often do not know what to say. The thought of “small talk” literally causes me to suck in my breath and tense my entire body! So, I avoid it as far as is possible. And when it comes to reaching out to friends in need, I am one of the last. I also find it very hard to reach out to friends when I am in need. I too strongly fear rejection.
All that to say that God has not called His children to a life of fear! It is throughout the Bible, but one passage in particular really brought home the problem of fear to me. Romans 8:15 says, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba ! Father !'”
Whoa! Slavery and fear are related? No, no, no, no!!! I am not a slave! I am completely free in Christ! Free to walk blamelessly before Him! Free to worship Him!
Yet, I walk with great fear. And as I think about the way fear keeps me from stepping out in faith (and sometimes obedience), I must realize that I am allowing myself to be in bondage to these fears. My fearfulness isn’t unwarranted by the world’s measure. But it also isn’t the Spirit that He gave me at salvation.
The point was really driven home this morning when I opened my daily devotional. The author wrote on fear and her own fears that had hindered her from becoming an author. She used Peter’s walk on water to describe what we should do. Yes, he looked away from Jesus and began to sink, but I agree with the author. “I would’ve said, ‘If that’s you, can you toss me a life jacket?'” I never would have gotten out of the boat. But what an experience I would have missed! And I wonder now what amazing experiences He might have.