By: Casey Bonilla.
What are you afraid of?
Really, think about it – what fears are living within you? I’m not talking about superficial fears like heights, spiders, fires, etc. (though these are valid, they’re a different type of fear). I’m asking about those fears that weigh on you internally, that might affect the decisions you make, that *might* be holding you back. Maybe it’s a fear of failure. Or a fear of being alone. Perhaps a fear of losing something or lacking something, or even a fear of an unknown future.
I don’t think there is anyone in this world who is without fear, even those who might seem like the bravest, most courageous, unworried people. It’s not a lack of fear, but the presence of courage. Fears can present themselves in our lives as anxiety or worries, and God is so good that he asks us to hand all of this over to him. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”. God doesn’t worry because He knows all, and when we trust in him we do not need to worry either.
But again, this is easier said than done. Sometimes God might not remove fears from our hearts, but rather put us in situations in which He knows we will overcome them. This can be terrifying for us, but if God is walking us through it, our fears are no match for His plan. Sometimes we need to be proven wrong in order to see that our fears are holding us back. If you fear being abandoned or alone, God might begin to reveal to you that despite what your worldly situation is, HE will never abandon you or leave you alone. God is the answer to each and every one of our fears. Are you afraid of the future? It’s in God’s hands. Afraid of failure? God is in control.
1 John 4:18-19 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.We love because he first loved us.”
Bring your fears, your worries, your doubts to God, for His perfect love casts out fear. Abiding in Him is the only way to combat the fears that reside in your heart, for He is the only true solution. It is not that the fears do not exist, but rather that faith becomes greater than fear.
I’ve seen it time and time again, even in Scripture, that when God calls us to something – it seems scary to us. But that’s normally because it is bigger than us alone, and dependent on us depending on God. Have you ever been afraid to take a leap of faith that God was calling you to? Are you letting fear, right now, hold you back from anything God has set before you? If you’ve walked through this, you probably saw that in the end there was really nothing to be afraid of. If God has called you to it, He will walk you through it.
Look at the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus. If you were in her situation, wouldn’t you be filled with fears, worries, doubts? What would Joseph think? What if nobody believes me? What about the future I had planned? How can I raise this child? Will I end up alone? It even says in Scripture that she was troubled when the angel Gabriel first came to her. (Luke 1:26-30, “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”)
Immediately, before even telling her what was to come, Gabriel told Mary “Do not be afraid”. The same words that God spoke time and time again to His people in the books of the Old Testament. He doesn’t tell her to not be afraid because this life will be easy, but because she has found favor with God. Do not be afraid, for God is with you. Faith in God and trust in His ways allows Mary to take this to heart, and to step into her calling faithfully, despite how large and daunting it seemed.
We have Scripture as a reminder that no matter what is to come, we have no need to be afraid. In our humanity there will always be something that tries to creep its way in, but bold faith can cast away those fears, through confidence in the love of God and his authority. “Faith over fear” might seem like one of those overused catchphrases, but it really is the only way to walk with the courage the Lord has given you.
If you are currently afraid to step out or step into something, try this exercise:
- First, identify your fears. Sometimes we don’t even realize what fears exactly are halting us.
- Second, think about this fear – have you had to overcome it before? What might happen if you did overcome this fear?
- Lastly, find Scripture that speaks against the fears in your heart. There is no fear in God’s love, so whatever you might be troubled with, God is there to oppose that. Write these Scriptures out and perhaps leave them somewhere you will see them regularly, to sow them into your heart, right over your fears.