Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fear Not: Part 7

(If you missed the earlier posts in this series, here they are: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.)

I want to just be really honest here and say that this idea of actually needing to fight for faith has been the crucial point of challenge for me.  I don't want to have to work at this.  I want everything in life to be easy-lasting peace included.  I want to just slap a scripture on it and repeat, “Fear not, fear not” a couple times and feel all better. But that’s not how trust in God usually grows.

If you want to strengthen your muscles, you don’t expect that just sitting at home on your couch is going to do anything to help you get toned.  And we rarely grow in trusting God by merely doing nothing either.  There is a war going on in our hearts - the war for faith in God.  Wars aren’t won in a day and we won’t win the war against fear in a day either.  There’s battle after battle after exhausting and challenging battle before victory comes.  The question is whether we’re going to choose to pick up our weapons and fight for faith or merely be trampled by our fears.

So how about you?  Are you using the weapons of prayer and the weapon of reminding yourself of what God’s Word says is true about Him?  Are you doing that even when your feelings and circumstances are screaming otherwise?  Or are you just passively listening to what your fears and circumstances seem to be saying?

I’d like to share a little bit about how fighting fears with faith in God has made a difference in my life.  I share this not to make you think highly of me (I could never have brought about this change on my own).  I share this to give you hope.  I’ve never met a person more consumed with fears than I was and I have seen that God really can transform fearful hearts like mine.  It really is possible for you and for me to grow with the help of the Holy Spirit.

First, let me share some things that I’ve tried to do over the years to weaken fears and anxieties.  I’ve tried to ignore it (you know-try just not to think about it and hope it goes away).  That didn’t work.  I tried to convince it away (you know-tell myself that the statistics were incredibly unlikely that I would get kidnapped while going to the mailbox).  That didn’t help.  I tried to educate my fears away (you know-scour the Internet for every possible way to eliminate anxiety attacks).  That didn’t work either.  In fact, going to the Internet to help me weaken fear has only brought on more fears.  I’ve tried to barter with God; “Lord, don’t you think I deserve some peace?  I’m trying to follow You!”  That didn’t bring me lasting peace either.  So what did help me not to fear what is frightening? Honestly it’s been the two things that Philippians 4 mentions: prayer and talking to myself.

I started really engaging in this war against fear when I came to our church. The Lord kindly introduced me to a book by Ed Welch that my friend, Jodi gave me.  It was on the “fear of man.”  Through this book and some other excellent resources, God started to show me that my fears were not happening just because I’m naturally introverted or because of my family background or because this is just how I’ve always been.  I started seeing that fear had to do with my heart and what I was really believing about God.  I started to see that through the help of the Holy Spirit teaching me to fight for faith, lasting peace was really possible.

I began to re-read passages in scripture about anxiety and started asking God to help me see how trustworthy He really is.  Instead of just reading the same scriptures over and over hoping that just reading them would change me, I started praying through scripture and thinking about it.  I began talking to myself and reminding myself of who God is.  Over time, this started to become a way of life for me.

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3 Responses to “Fear Not: Part 7”

  1. Katie, this is such helpful stuff; good to read again after hearing it a few weeks ago. And the picture of superhero Owen makes a perfect accompaniment!

  2. Oh, wow. He is just an adorable hero! Such an appropriate pic for this post. I've appreciated all that you've shared, it's made a difference for me, 'The Queen of Worry.'

  3. Dearest Sister Katie, I thank God for your communication skills this fine day! Be blessed in all you do unto the Lord! I have been dealing with fear. Fear of self!!! I can feel God in it at times and then POW! Satan rears his ugly sneaky head and I am back at square one again! What I appreciate about your blog is this....when we cannot get out of our own way, so that God can work...God will use others and work through them! That is what He has done today! I came upon your blog in what I thought was interesting,but a fluke. Then, as I began to read I felt the Holy Spirit help me to receive the message intended for me this fine day. No fluke at all!! Thanks Katie!!