We all have feared something before. Maybe it’s speaking in front of a large group of people. Maybe it’s your first day at that new job. Maybe it’s waiting for those test results. Maybe it’s waiting for God to show you direction in an extensive decision. Maybe it’s fear you’ll never meet your future spouse. Maybe it’s fear of embarking on a new season of life. Our fear can often lead to anxiety that feels overwhelming, resulting in us unintentionally allowing our fear to eradicate our faith that God is in control.
I’ll share 4 ways I have allowed fear to overtake my faith, and with each one, I’ll provide reminders from God’s truth in how we can eliminate that fear.
1. We lack control of our future
In today’s society, commercialism is all about control. We are sold on advertisements that we can control what we watch on our tv, the volume of our music in our car, the food we decide to eat, the phone that will give us latest technology, what we choose to wear, the list could go on. Society sells us on the need for control, and this pressures us with an even greater need to control every aspect of our lives. When we feel like one area is out of our control, it can greatly influence our security, leaving us feeling defenseless.
No matter how much we fear what we cannot control, it doesn’t allow us to attain any more power over what our future holds. In fact, it strips us of God’s intended potential for our lives in the present.
Matthew 6:25-27, 32-33
“Do not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
2. We fear what has occurred in the past
While our future can cause us fear of the unknown, our past can also haunt us with memories of things that we are afraid might reoccur in our future. Maybe your worst nightmare came true. Maybe you’ve experienced the 1% that someone said could never happen. We can rest assured that even if we do experience that tragic circumstance again in our future, we can remember that God is with us, just as He was in the past. He helped you overcome it before, and He will continue to do so in the future. It’s interesting that when we think of the future, we often don’t see God with us. When we grow worried of our future, we tend to forget God will be with us there too. God goes before us, nothing surprises Him. He knew what caused that heartbreak in your past, and He will be there to help guide you each step into your future.
The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
3. We focus on the “what if’s”
This is my biggest struggle of fearing the future. What if my life doesn’t end up how I pictured? What if I fail? What if they don’t accept me? What if I get that rare disease? What if I am single forever? What if I don’t meet up to all their expectations?
Fearing the what if’s has caused me so many countless hours of anxiety. Sadly, I imagine the worst outcome, helping me be prepared if my worst fears come to pass. It’s a silly strategy, but if I can be prepared for the worst, I won’t be surprised if it truly occurs. This is definitely not a healthy system, but it’s one I’ve bought into the lie of believing.
When I start to fall prey to the endless what if questions, I try to eliminate them by remembering this truth: even if the very worst thing happens, I know I have hope of an eternal home in heaven. My eternal hope and salvation in Christ cannot be abolished, no matter what happens on this earth. I can find hope, joy and peace knowing that no matter what tragedy happens on this earth, God will be by my side to help me through, and my eternal home awaits for me in heaven. Even the hardest of trials, the most intense suffering and pain all lead to deeper opportunities for us to rely on God and store up treasure for our future home in heaven. The best day on this earth cannot compare to the amazing joy we’ll have in heaven.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
4. We desire perfectionism
Sometimes we can grip tightly onto our circumstances, wanting nothing to change or cause us hardship. This can cause us immense fear if something were to impact our lives, messing up the perfect plans we dream and desire for our lives. We can live in fear awaiting our perfect to be disrupted. We want things to run smoothly. We don’t want conflict. We don’t want hardship.
We crave for bright days full of fun and enjoyment, but we fear the dark storms that could disrupt our daydreams of what we think our life should look like. Perfection is something unattainable on this earth. We live in a fallen world, and having a perfect life is what God intended for us, but we chose a path that lead to more pain and suffering. Even though our lives will not be like the fairytale stories we see in movies, we will one day experience a perfect home where we will experience far greater things beyond our wildest dreams. We don’t need to hold tightly onto our earthly lives, trying to perfectly plan out what our life should look like, because God has already planned a life perfect for what He desires to do through us.
Without tragedy we wouldn’t experience the intimacy that we can only find by relying on God for comfort and hope. Living a life with an eternal purpose and a heart that is shaped by God through the fire exceeds the fairytale dreams we may think will bring us happiness. A heart like Christ leads us closer to perfection than any dreams we can imagine.