This is the year to conquer fear. In keeping with my 2013 New Year’s resolution, I plan to do at least one thing that I’m afraid to do each month this year. January’s scary thing was asking for a job.February’s was getting a biopsy on that weird thing on my tongue. March’s scary thing was getting back up. April’s, Public Speaking. May was the dreaded colonoscopy. June brought some scary stuff, but I can’t tell you about it just yet, because it involves someone else that doesn’t want me to share just now.
I can’t share June’s scary thing now, because it involves someone else. God willing, I’ll tell you about it before the next New Year. In the meantime, I thought we could talk about this issue of fear.
People tell me that the Bible says some variation of “Do not fear,” 365 times. I don’t know if that number is correct, but it’s in there a lot. People also tell me that God commands us not to fear. So stop it. Don’t fear. Fear is sin. I don’t believe it.
When my oldest son was little, I bathed him in the kitchen sink. When I transitioned him to the bathtub, he felt afraid. I knelt down as he stood next to the tub, and I encouraged him feel the water with his fingers. I reassured him that I would stay right with him, and not let him slip. I reminded him that his big sisters took their baths in the tub. I still remember him shrieking and pulling up his legs as I lowered him into the warm water. He tried to get out a couple of times, but I gently sat him back down and said, “Don’t be afraid.” I wasn’t commanding him. I was letting him know he was safe. That’s what God does. Anyone who uses the Father’s words of comfort to belittle a fearful brother or sister misses the whole point.
The feeling of fear is just that. It’s a feeling–a part of my physical body. It’s driven as much by hormones, blood sugar levels and sleep patterns as reality. My reality is in Christ. If I feel afraid, that does not change the situation. Like Queen Esther, who approached the king, knowing her life was at stake, but also knowing it was the right thing to do, I will choose to act on reality, not feelings. That’s the decision that led to my New Year’s Resolution.
As I face each new scary situation, I imagine God holding me firmly as I once held my son, gently moving me along with amused affection, saying, “Don’t be afraid.”