I could likely write another 10 weeks on all kinds of ways the devil will use fear to paralyze us, but we have the tools now to combat those lies and terrors.
There’s something I’ve struggled with on and off for years though and it’s a sneakier fear. One we don’t typically list when we talk about bad things or uncertainty.
It’s fear that can come on you in the middle of the good.
I actually did a search of my blog because I knew I’d talked about this before. I’ll share what I found, but one of the most fascinating things I found is how God has hung I John 4:18 around my neck as a promise for YEARS. Three years ago I wrote about an outing I took to She Speaks, a writers and speakers conference (my first!), and said this:
I was a wreck. The only thing worse than thinking you might fail is thinking you might succeed. That afternoon was a roller coaster. I left the conference for almost an hour to sit on my bed and watch mindless t.v. When I returned, Amy reappeared to sit with me and walk through the drama even though she had just had her OWN three publishing appointments (which went well). I ended up confessing that I was terrified my ministry might grow, and then I would screw up and it would explode like my father’s had and end up turning people away from God. She told me I was nuts and there was only one source causing me to have a massive meltdown. We went to the next session, which happened to be on God-sized dreams, and the speakers rattled off a list of reasons that indicate you have a God-sized dream. You know what was near the top of that list? You are scared. If you are passionate about what you want to do but are suddenly terrified, you might just have yourself a God-sized dream. Ugh.
Then, at the end of the post, I quoted I John 4 as a way to push back against the fear of your dream actually coming true!
Two years later, almost to the day, I was given the same promise of I John 4. Doesn’t this sound familiar:
I am scared of my dream failing. I’m at least equally as scared that my dream might succeed.
I am scared of disobeying God. I’m just about as scared of obedience given some of the things He is asking me to do…
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.
Then I saw I John 4 hung around me in Yosemite, and when I was thinking through career changes, and then it became the THEME verse for this study without me even realizing how it has been written on my heart all these years. Lest you think you can hear these promises once and be clear of all fear, I’m Exhibit A it’s a constant journey where I move just a little closer to knowing and trusting Him and releasing the fear.
We can become fearful over the good. Fearful of what success will look like. Scared of our dreams actually coming true. We start worrying when the other shoe will drop. But such a perspective means our view of who God is and how He loves us is warped. He’s nuts about us. He wants to see us happy:
We have become such an apprehensive people. We almost wish against experiencing a beautiful scene in our own lives for fear of what will come next. There couldn’t be an instance of unadulterated joy unmarred by misfortune. Misfortune must follow. What does that say about our faith? Our perception of God? Even the most optimistic among us, including me, sees the car accident as an inevitable consequence of the beautiful moment of blessing. We spend our lives waiting for the other shoe to drop. It doesn’t have to drop. Sometimes, there is no other shoe.
There is so much scary in the world today. The news. The economy. Misfortune. Illness. Let’s not add fear in when God provides blessings. Let’s remember how much He loves us and how much He wants the good to happen:
Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Matthew 7 – Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Ephesians 1: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
1. List your blessings. Thank God for them. Acknowledge how He provides.
2. Read any of the multiple passages in the Bible which tells of how God loves you and wants such goodness and treasure for you.
3. Share what you’re learning in the comments on the blog or on Facebook.