Monday, October 8, 2012

Are you a scaredy cat? Fear is not of God




I should warn you. This post goes on forever, but it's something I've bottled up for awhile. Ever have that happen? You mull something over for months, then, one day, you have to put it in writing? Well, here goes. I'd be pleased to have you along for the ride, but won't hold it against you if you move on down the blog road, so to speak. If you're like me, some days you're just not into long-winded people.

This post is not meant to be critical of anyone, and I hope you who come along for the ride will not take it as such, but I've been disturbed lately about something. I meet so many people, via blogs, Facebook, or in person, who are living beneath the life God wants them to have, and that bothers me. You might be wondering how I, a not-so-spiritual woman, know this? Because their own words tell me so. 

It seems they are afraid of everything. They fear they aren’t being a good wife, sibling, daughter, teacher, jogger, writer, speaker, Christian. They fear they aren’t parenting their children correctly. They fear they aren’t pleasing God. They fear they’ll fail at whatever task they’re about to take on. 

They fear. They fear. They fear

As a reader, such writings are depressing, and I’ll just be honest: There are blogs that I used to frequent because they offered bread for my spirit, but somewhere something changed. I no longer go there, because I leave feeling worse than when I arrived. There’s nothing there that lifts my spirits. Just the opposite. I've had to hide friends on Facebook, because their negativity is toxic.

Does that mean that I’m never fearful? No, not at all. There are times when I’m not only fearful, I’m plumb terrified. But whenever fear threatens to choke my faith, I spend a lot of time speaking the Word, out loud. One of my favorite Scriptures comes from Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I can’t tell you how often I quote this verse, because I need it and I believe it and it has been proven, in my own life, to be true. Things I thought I could not get through, I got through them, only by the strength of the Lord.

I think it's safe to say that readers want to leave your space feeling hopeful, seeing how God can take nothing and make something, or how He brought you through the fire. How He took you from fear to faith. Such testimonies make readers know things can turn around in their own life. The greatest compliment I can hear from a reader is one that says, "Thank you for your candid writing." I think women find strength in sharing their struggles with each other. I know I do. It helps to know someone has been in my shoes. 

But sharing our struggles is not the same as constantly expressing our fears. Unless at the end of our fearful revelations, we show how we were connected to faith, we leave our reader unfulfilled, feeling hopeless. 

Let’s take a look at what the Word of God says about fear.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy in his second epistle, it is clear that Timothy had an occasional bout with fear, so much so that Paul said in the first chapter, and I paraphrase, “Timothy, I’m praying for you night and day. I remember the faith that is in you, that was first in your grandmother and then your mother, and I am persuaded it is in you.” He goes on to say, “Listen to me, Timothy. You were given a gift by God. It is there, still, within you. Do you remember it, Timothy? I laid my hands on you and you received the gift of God. Stir it up, my friend. Stir up the gift that is in you!” 

And then, Paul says something life-changing in the seventh verse: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 

Fear is not of God. Fear is the opposite of faith. Those who walk in fear are not walking in faith. It’s as simple as that. 

In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they [you] might have life and have it abundantly.” It’s perfectly OK, in fact it’s what God desires for us, to live an abundant life. Not a life bowed over, or cowed down in fear, but an abundant life! 

In First John 4:18, Paul wrote, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” He goes on to say that we cannot be perfect in love if we hate our brother. We cannot even love God, unless we love our brother. 


I’d like to call an end to fear. Fear is not of God. The psalmist David often showed distress in his writings. He acknowledge being weak and afraid and fearful, but he always ended on a high note. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” (emphasis mine)

It is not a sign of arrogance when women refuse to be intimated by fear, standing up and boldly declaring Scriptures; it is a sign of their faith in God.

Next time you’re feeling fearful, instead of confessing it, so the enemy of your soul can hear you and use it against you, try quoting a few verses from the Word.

Here are some of my favorites: 

“I can do all things through Christ!”  (Philippians 4:13)

“Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world!” (1 John 4:4) 

“My strength comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth!” (Psalm 121:2)

“The Lord will uphold all that fall, and raise up all that be bowed down!” (Psalm 145:14)

“I will sing of your power! I will sing aloud of your mercy in the morning, for you have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble!” (Psalm 59:16)

“If God be for me, who can be against me?” (Romans 8:31)

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." (Psalm 56:3)

***
At long last, this post has come to an end. It isn't often that I get so wound up, and I hope you won't hold this one against me.
I humbly invite you to join me in my mission to end fear, once and for all, to be a woman of faith, not a woman of fear, to stand up and boldly proclaim, "I can do all things through Christ!"

Ladies, we can do this!

***




25 comments:

  1. Dayle,
    Your post is right on, as usual. Since I retired in the spring, my life is simplified, and I have been intentional about my quiet time each morning. I have more time than ever to be praying Scripture, aloud, over my family and friends. Not only has it blessed and transformed those I pray for, but I have been transformed too. It is truly an entirely different lifestyle, one of ongoing prayer and abiding in Him.
    Not that I am perfect! Far from it. But I am grateful and blessed every day.
    And thanks for your inspiration. I have always enjoyed simple pleasures, and was inspired to blog 31 days of them this month with The Nester's blog party.
    Talk about long winded....

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    1. I look forward to seeing all of your simple pleasures. I still miss hosting the party.

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  2. You are so right! I have a long list of verses I say aloud over my life, but I'd gotten away from it lately. You encouraged me to continue to speak life over myself, family and circumstances.

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    1. Good to see you here, Elizabeth. I like the idea of speaking "life" over our circumstances.

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  3. I just couldn't agree more. The last thing I would ever want is for anyone to leave my blog thinking that my God is anything but capable, merciful, strong, able and mighty, IN SPITE of my weaknesses and fears. I have battled anxiety my whole life. But I can honestly tell you, He IS strong when I am weak, and His peace washes over me in ways that truly can't be explained. Knowing we are battling the enemy when we are fearful does help as we can fight it with scripture and win! Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. You are just sooo right, we CAN do ALL things through Christ!

    Sorry my answer is as long as your post, haha, but I am passionate about this too. So glad you wrote this..

    HUGS

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    1. Blessings to you, Debbie. Anxiety is a very real thing, but God is bigger!

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  4. Wow.....thanks so much for your post. I Linked back to your blog from mine to share your post. Hope that's okay.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your heart on this. BillieBee, shared on her blog.. so I am visiting due to her sharing. My son is in a difficult situation right now... and to a degree I am tied to the situation as well. Much as usual us unknown.. and fear sets in. This is timely, thanks!

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    1. I think the hardest times to walk in faith is when situations arise with our children. I tend to become a worry-wart, but it only zaps me of my energy. I find I give my daughter to the Lord over and over, instead of releasing her into His care, once and for all!

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  6. Dayle, I really appreciate what you've written. Though I'll be honest -- I'm not a religious person -- I value the attention you've given to standing up to fear, which cripples a lot of people, especially women. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment. I agree that fear cripples a lot of people, and especially women. It's our nature to worry.

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  7. Loved your post, Dayle. They say that fear is LACK OF FAITH. I believe it. It's so easy to fall into the fear trap, isn't it? We little human beings forget who really runs the show.

    I love "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me" too. Isn't it wonderful that we know this?

    We just need to put it constantly in to practice. Susan

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    1. Thanks, Susan. I'm always happy to see your smiling face here.

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  8. Thanks for speaking out on this issue, Phil 4:13 is my life verse!
    I teach women's seminars and you couldn't have said it better, the world needs more people speaking out on just how much God loves us, and will strengthen us and get us thru anything! Barbara in western NC

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    1. Thanks, Barbara. I am often taken aback by people who claim to be Christians, yet they are constantly expressing their lack of faith and their fears, instead of proclaiming the power of Christ within us! We limit God with our unbelief and fears.

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  9. This post will be refered to many times, I'm sure.
    Just like your New Years post, which I have reread several times. I will turn to this Oct.8th post.

    When fear creeps up on me, I will be back to read this post.

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  10. Thank you more than you know... "A timely word"... I sooooo needed to be reminded of what God has to say about fear!!!! Blessings

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    1. Thank you, Terri. I'm glad you stopped by and shared your thoughts with me.

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  11. you are SO right! fear is toxic! i repent of it.

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  12. Preach it Dayle!! Yes I so agree with you. And I don't get it really, why so many people are negative and worry about what others think of them. I do feel compassion for my friends gong through difficulties and pray for them, and try to encourage them, but I need fresh air for my own soul.

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    1. Same here, Anita. Fresh air. And I'm speaking, primarily, of women who consistently express their fears (openly) about what they say they've been called to do. If you've been called to do something by God, go boldly into your calling, proclaiming the Word, leaning on Him in your times of doubt and discouragement. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. It's okay to feel weak and afraid at times (we're humans); just don't forget to draw from the power that is in you. (I'm remembering the story of Jonah, who was so afraid he ran, compared to the story of Noah, who did exactly what God told him to do, even when it made no sense.)

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  13. I just happened to see this as I was finishing the newest blog post. This is excellent! I have thought about writing on this same topic myself. I joke a lot about my constant companion of rear, but in all truth, I have really been doing a great deal of serious DEALING with this topic the past few months. I was first convinced and then convicted that God wanted me to deal with this fear thing of mine once and for all. My husband refers to fear as "the mark of the beast".

    I'm pleased to report that God has been faithful as I have worked to break free from it. I am, as they say, not where I'm supposed to be and not where I'm going to be, but praise God I'm not where I was.

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Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle