Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fear-Based Living = No Way to Live

I am a fearful person.

Most people wouldn't think that about me because I am generally happy and optimistic. But just because the world views you as one way does not mean you are always that way or act that way in private.

I am very prone to anxiety, and it has caused a lot of damage. I have had to work diligently to prevent fear from ruling my life. Most of my issue lies in the fact I am a planner, and therefore a worrier. I do not want my "perfect" plan to be ruined by something which "could" happen. I read a quote one time which said something like, "only smart people are worriers, because only smart people have the capacity to entertain so many possibilities at once".

It was the first positive interpretation of worry I had ever seen. But no many how many quotes you read or Bible verses you devour trying to look for relief from fear/anxiety/worry, it doesn't go away unless you decide it will. The power of perception and positive thinking cannot be underestimated when combating fear.

Fortunately, we don't have to fight this battle alone. I have a mantra I recite whenever I feel fear closing in, and it comes from the Bible in Joshua 1:9. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage. Do not be terrified nor be discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go".

I first heard this verse at Vacation Bible School when I was five or six. I have kept it in my heart ever since. God said this to Joshua when he had a giant task in front of him: take the Israelites to the Promised Land. The only problem? The city of Jericho stood in the way. From reading about him, it sounds like Joshua was quite the planner. He had to be in order to lead the Israelites. I am sure he entertained many horrible possibilities of his people getting exterminated by the citizens of Jericho or never reaching the Promised Land.

God knew all of this about Joshua, so He told him not to fear or be discouraged by what seems impossible. Sure enough, God told Joshua to march around Jericho and the walls of the city came crashing down, allowing the Israelites to conquer Jericho and continue on their way.

I think my favorite part about this verse is how God promises to go with us wherever we go. So when I'm falling down the rabbit hole of fear/anxiety/worry, I remember God is with me. I don't have to do this alone. I can fight because God has given me a good life full of many blessings. I can decide to say NO to fear/anxiety/worry and concentrate instead on better things.

If you are a fearful person like me, there is freedom in knowing you are not alone. I am here for you! I hope you will reach out if you ever need help. In the meantime, remember Joshua 1:9. God is with you WHEREVER you go.