Too often, I find myself acting out of fear. I make decisions based on what I think will please others, afraid of criticism. I say yes to requests that make me uncomfortable or don’t seem like my best yes because I’m afraid of rejection if I say no. I refrain from sharing my dreams and desires out of fear of being laughed at or being ridiculed if I fail.
God doesn’t want us to live afraid.
He tells his people many times in Scripture not to be afraid:
- God told Abram not to be afraid when he was worried that he wouldn’t have an heir to carry on his family line: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward” (Gen. 15:1 NIV).
- God encouraged Joshua as the new leader of the Israelites: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9 NIV).
- Jesus tells his disciples not to be afraid on the night he’s betrayed: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 NIV).
- Peter encourages Christians in Asia Minor by reminding them that they are not alone: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for her cares about you” (1 Pet. 5:7 NLT).
These stories give me the encouragement I need to move beyond fear in my decision-making.
When the Bible admonishes someone not to be afraid, the comfort offered is not a five-step plan for overcoming their fear. Nor is it a clear vision of the future. It’s a reminder that they’re not alone, that it’s God himself who’s with them. God tells us to lean into him, to share our concerns with him, and then trust that it’s all in his hands.
I’ve struggled with allowing fear and anxiety to overwhelm me at times. I’ve ruminated on things that haven’t happened or that I can’t control. I desperately want my fears to be assuaged. Often, I forget that God is waiting to exchange my worry for peace. Instead, I try to do more and work harder, hoping busyness will be the answer.
Read the rest over at The Glorious Table.