fear is a liar

Life is too short to give way to fear. Fear will always be there, lurking around in the dark, trying to convince us that all the worse-case-scenarios we are playing out in our head are real. But here’s the thing…FEAR IS A LIAR!

Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t dangers out there in the world, or that we shouldn’t take heed in certain situations. Of course we should!  What I AM saying is that fear is our response. It is something we can control. Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 6.13.21 PMI remember almost twenty years ago when I first came upon the readings of a Greek Stoic philosopher, Epictetus. I WAS BLOWN AWAY!  It had a HUGE impact on me and began to change my way of looking at and thinking about things.

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Wow!  I had never really thought about it that way.  Epictetus went so far as to say that even the death of a loved one is not really what causes us pain, but it is our interpretation of the death of our loved one that causes grief. I had to wrestle with that one for awhile, but I found that there is some truth in it. We don’t always control the events in our lives, but we DO have control over how we respond to those events.

So, back to fear. Fear is an emotion. It is something that we feel based on something that has happened to us or that we worry about happening to us. Therefore, as Epictetus would explain, it is something that we can control. Fear often leads to the fight, flight, or freeze phenomenon.  These are the three most common responses, but it doesn’t mean they have to be the only response. It doesn’t mean that we can’t change our perception of our fears. It doesn’t mean that our fears are beyond our control!

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We have something greater than fear. We have FAITH!  We have a mighty God who cares about us, who loves us, who promises us that He works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).  God does not want us to fear.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.            —Isaiah 41:10

HUNDREDS of times throughout the Bible, God commands us not to fear!  He assures us that when we are struck with fear, that He is our God, He is with us always,  He will strengthen us, He will help us, and He will support us.

Fear sucks up love. It contracts. It makes us anxious. It makes us defensive and want to fight. It makes us want to run and hide. But God is LOVE, perfect love, and perfect love casts out fear.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.      —1 John 4:18

I think about Jesus talking to His disciples at the Last Supper and the fear of the unknown that they must have felt at that time.  Jesus is explaining to them that He is leaving, but that He will prepare a place for them and He will come back and take them with Him. He says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.” (John 14:1)  From reading the gospel accounts, I can feel the confusion and fear they had.

Simon Peter pleads with Jesus, asking why he can’t go with Him (Luke 22:33). Thomas wonders out loud, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5) The disciples are having a hard time understanding. They are afraid.  They are unsure about what is going to happen. But Jesus knows. He explains to them that when He leaves the Holy Spirit will come to them, and be with them forever, and teach them everything they need to know. And then he says this:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.                           —John 14:27

Jesus is reminding the disciples, and us today, that we do not have to fear. We do not have to be anxious. Because we have the power of Christ alive in us. Always. Forever. If we are in Christ, then we have nothing to fear.

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? —Psalm 118:6

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 6.20.09 PMFaith in God is a choice. It is not forced on us. We do not have to believe. God gives us free will to respond to his Truth as we choose. However, once we truly believe, once we have the power of Christ at work in us, then something glorious occurs.  We don’t have to fear anything anymore. We can respond to our fears with faith.  Faith will always be bigger than our fears. Does this mean that we will never be shaken?  No.  Does this mean that fear will never raise its ugly head in our lives? No. But it does mean, as Epictetus explained, that we have a choice in how we respond to that feeling of fear.  We can let it consume us, or we can turn it over to God and accept His free gift of peace.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 Jesus.           —Philippians 4:6-7

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26 thoughts on “fear is a liar

  1. Such truth. You are very wise and inspiring dear friend. May you always keep your eyes on His plans, never allowing fear to creep in and cloud your path. He IS faithful, always!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Now I really do appreciate the having God as an anchor. But don’t be frightened of going sailing. A ship in a harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships are made for. You can ride out mant storms, but then you come into the harbour and drop anchor and say Amen.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The hard part for me is knowing I must give up control. Not because I have it, but because I don’t. The winds and the waves don’t obey my voice! And never will. Yet I’m called to ‘walk right into my fears.’
    Elouise

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I bet you could come up with a 10-step Don’t Do This plan! (With regards to parenting….) If not now, later. So much of parenting is about giving up/walking into our fear. Each child = a zillion new ways to be fearful. Enough that I only have one husband now and a cat! And myself, of course. I understand (not having counted them) that ‘Fear not’ are the most-repeated two words in the Bible. For good reason. Thanks again for your post that puts it in our faces.
        Elouise

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, “fear not” and similar terms like “do not fear, do not be afraid” etc. Are repeated hundreds of times throughout the Bible. I take that as a pretty good emphasis from God that He really means this!!!! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yep! 🙂 Or as someone way more electable than me put it, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It’s far more harmful than most other things because it can be so paralyzing. I love that verse about love casting out fear. I don’t even know how many panic attacks that has helped me through–that one and 2 Timothy 1:7 (which you have posted before)–my translation reads as God has not given us a spirit of FEAR, but of power and love and a sound mind.

    This post reminds me that as we were just beginning our adoption journey, the Gospel reading that weekend was the one about Peter walking on the water out to Jesus. He didn’t have any trouble UNTIL he looked down and got scared. So my mantra has been, “don’t look down, don’t look down, eyes on Jesus and DON’T LOOK DOWN!!” Some days it’s tough. I have a play list called “Fight Songs” that I put on when I’m feeling overwhelmed…Battle Hymn of the Republic, A Mighty Fortress, The Battle Belongs to the Lord, Great Is the Lord Almighty, and various stuff by Petra and Stryper and Lecrae. Hard to feel so afraid when the house is filled with that!

    How’s your paperchase coming along? Is your dossier through translation yet?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for stopping by Sarah! Yes, I also love Timothy 1:7, one of my life verses for sure! And of course, the story of Peter on the water…we are always fine when we are looking towards and trusting Him, it’s when we stop and fear, doubt, that we fail…I might borrow your mantra! 😉

      My favorite songs as of late have been “Our God” by Chris Tomlin, “I am” by Crowder, and “Your Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture. There’s nothing like some good music for the soul!

      Our paper chase continues…we’ve had some major hiccups, including finding out one of our kiddos is actually still in process of having parental rights terminated…all in His good timing and in His good planning…

      How is YOUR process coming along? 🙂 I’d love to hear about it!

      Like

  5. Lovely post! A friend of mine is going through an extremely difficult time, and I just wrote out Isaiah 41:10 for her in a card today. So much comfort imagining God’s powerful hand holding us up during trials! Thanks for dose of encouraging truth. Stacy

    Liked by 2 people

  6. An excellent post! Fear is one of the most used evils used against us by Satan. He can stop us in our tracks with it if we let him. It can be hard work to rid our lives of certain fears, but we must try to do so in our journey to Christian maturity!

    Steve

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s always my pleasure to read your blog. And yes, we know where both fear and love come from. What is in our hearts will control our actions. We still feel fear on many occasions, but we must fight against it as best we can. For the Lord doesn’t want us to be afraid. He wants us peaceful and confident in Him. This will usually bring the best of outcomes.

        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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