Etched in jagged red lines reminiscent of the Peavey music font, “FEAR” peaked out from underneath its colored cotton hideaway.
“Why do you have the word fear written on your arm?” a voice from nearby cut into my thoughts.
The question shocked me as I glanced over and realized my movement had unknowingly uncovered my secret.
“She noticed. No one ever notices,” I thought to myself.I fumbled for an answer, any answer, that would not make me seem like a crazy person as I slid my sleeve down past the incriminating marks on my forearm.
I don’t remember what finally tumbled out of my mouth, but I’m sure it was insufficient. I didn’t even know the answer for why I had taken a razor and marked myself with “fear”.
It’s been a long time since that moment back in college that still plays fresh in my memory, however fear is still a constant battle for me and has been for as long as I can remember.
As a child I would have panic attacks if mom was not home when I thought she should be or when I tried to wrap my head around the idea of eternity. Last week I had an anxiety attack on my cross country overnight train as I struggled to focus on God instead of the mounting fear in my chest.
Sometimes I have fear and anxiety in check, and other times they simply seem to overpower me. And honestly I think it has become so normal in life that I’ve just accepted it as something that always will be.
But I don’t think that’s okay. But that is NOT okay!
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 (NASB)
No fear in love.
God’s love is perfect and so it reasons that if we are abiding in His constant, unfailing love then that will drive away our fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV)
But there are times when I’m not walking in love and invite fear in. I take the bait. I fall for it. And I certainly pay the price. I lose my power. I’m certainly not feeling the love and you can forget soundness of mind.
Something tells me that I’m not the only one.
So how do we walk in perfect love instead of gripping fear?
Seek God first.
â€œI sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fearsâ€ (Psalm 34:4).
I usually want to run to someone for help, to hear me out, to hold me and calm me. When I want someone’s opinion and advice, God should be the first one I turn to. He is the one who delivers from fear, so why not run to Him to begin with?
Prayer and petition WITH thanksgiving.
â€œDo not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesusâ€ (Philippians 4:6-7).
With thanksgiving seems to be a vital key to this verse, in my opinion. When we come in prayer with thanksgiving it alters our perception of the problem in the first place. Thanksgiving ushers in the peace of God because we are reminded of His faithfulness, His trutworthiness, His unfailing love and then that guards our hearts and minds against the torment of fear.
Remember that life is about more than material things.
â€œThen Jesus said to his disciples: â€˜Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?â€™â€ (Luke 12:22-26, NIV).
A lot of anxiety and fear comes when we start dwelling on the future and we think that we are lacking or will be. How will the loans get paid and the family still be fed? How will I ever be able to afford the rent this month? What if…?
Jesus says that all our worrying doesn’t add even a single hour to our lives, and I dare say that it subtracts hours from them. So why not entrust it all to Him?
I am tired of being marked by fear. It may not be etched into my arm any longer but it’s hold on me has been too strong for too long.
How do you deal with fear?