Lion at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Wichita, KS

Fear doesn’t always roar

Fear is our default. Do you ever think about that? People don’t have to learn how to be afraid. Granted, I think some of it can be taught, and others learn it better in some instances. But generally speaking, we are all born with fear inside us. It’s part of being human, and it’s diametrically opposed to the kind of life God wants us to live.

But fear doesn’t always roar. Most of the time it’s a lot quieter, like a whisper that you can’t stop listening to no matter how much you try.

I struggle with fear. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them that because I come off as a very strong, independent person. And I am. But just because someone is strong and independent doesn’t make them brave. Sometimes it just means they’re compensating.

Fear is a sneaky little problem that can creep into every area of our lives without us even knowing it’s there. For instance, I’m not afraid to die. I’m not afraid to be uncomfortable. I’m not afraid to be rejected or abandoned or emotionally hurt. And maybe it’s because I’ve experienced all those things and have seen how God has worked through them in my life, so I know without a doubt that He can use them.

But I am afraid of success. I am afraid that people will expect more from me than I am capable of giving. I am afraid that I won’t live up to my potential. I am afraid that I will disappoint the people I care about and the people who look up to me as some kind of leader.

Maybe it’s a quiet fear, but it’s still fear. And any kind of fear — when it’s fear of the world or fear of our circumstances — cripples us.  It prevents us from living the kind of life God has planned for us. It keeps us from doing the things He’s designed us to do.

God wants to use us. He’s got awesome plans for us, and He wants to work in our lives in miraculous ways. But if we give in to our fear, we aren’t going to seize the opportunities He sends our way. And if we aren’t willing to walk through the doors He opens for us, He can only take us so far.

More than anything, God wants to bless us. But we have to let Him. And we can’t let fear be our guiding light because if we do, we’ll end up wandering around in the dark.

But it’s one thing to tell yourself not to be afraid. It’s something else to actually achieve it. And there are so many ways to combat fear, but what works for me is reading the Psalms. I’ve really been trying to deal with some of my fear issues for a few months, and whenever I think about not being afraid Psalm 46 always comes to mind.

If you ever struggle with fear, tuck this one away somewhere where you can find it when you need it.

Lion at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Wichita, KS

Lion at the Sedgwick County Zoo – Wichita, KS

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!

A river brings joy to the city of our God,
the sacred home of the Most High.
God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed.
From the very break of day, God will protect it.

The nations are in chaos,
and their kingdoms crumble!
God’s voice thunders,
and the earth melts!

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.

Come, see the glorious works of the Lord:
See how he brings destruction upon the world.
He causes wars to end throughout the earth.
He breaks the bow and snaps the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.

Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.”

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.

Rose at Glen Eyrie - Colorado Springs, CO

Worry offers the illusion of control

Life is busy. No. Scratch that. Life is insane. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so. Everyone I know is busy. All of us are running around like crazy people with our hair on fire, scrambling to achieve something. We are looking for jobs or we’re trying to keep the ones we have. We’re trying to please people in authority over us or we’re trying to maintain the status quo.

So much to keep track of. I always feel like I’m forgetting something.

I fly to Indianapolis today for a crazy, banzai overnight, a work trip. And even though I’m sure I’ve got everything, I still feel like I’ve left something behind. Add that to the general feeling of insecurity and anxiety I already have because I have to go to a strange city and talk to people I don’t know, and I’m kind of a mess.

Rose at Glen Eyrie - Colorado Springs, CO

Rose at Glen Eyrie – Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is 1 Peter 5:7.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

This is good for me to see today. It’s a good reminder. Because worrying is a choice. Well, at least, first, it’s a choice. Then, it becomes a habit.

Granted, there are steps to take to make sure we don’t forget something or that we aren’t irresponsible with what we’ve been given. And there are processes to follow to make sure that everything is done right. But after you’ve done your best, after you’ve followed all the steps, what good does worrying do?

I can’t control the flights. I can’t control the people I’m going to talk to. I can’t control any of the situations that I’m walking into today and tomorrow. So what good does worrying about it do?

I have to turn loose of it and let God take it from here. But that’s easier said than done, especially when you’re a control freak.

Worrying doesn’t really accomplish anything, though. I think it provides some sort of release, though, otherwise we wouldn’t do it. Maybe it’s some kind of comfort in illusion because by worrying over something we think we have more control over the outcome. We don’t. But it makes us feel like we do.

So my goal today is not to worry. What happens, happens. And I’m going to give my worries to God. And when I start to worry again, I’m going to choose to stop. It’s going to help me keep my perspective straight because if I can wrap my head around the fact that God is in control, maybe someday I’ll stop trying to take it back from Him.