Teach Me Titus Tuesday: Let's talk Fear...

Fear...it is a 4 letter word and yes I know it really is, but it is one of "those" 4-letter words in my book.  I have been held in bondage to fear for more of my 30 years than not and so when I was assigned to teach on the subject I thought I was the least qualified for the job.  I mean I am in the thick of it.  That is the funny thing about God, He often uses your weakest points, each word I write today is cathartic as I take this sage biblical advice and practically apply it to my own life...let's dig in!

Let's sit in a rocking chair, shall we?

“Fear is like a rocking chair, It is something to do but doesn't get you anywhere.” Joanne Weaver

We all know fear is futile and unfruitful and alas we still] do it.  We worry and live in fear.  We live in a nation that is in a anxious epidemic.  I have read that 1 in 3 to 1 in 4 people will deal with an anxiety disorder at some point in their life.  Fear is pervasive.

But God is seriously opposed to fear, he mentions "not to have fear" just over 250 times in the bible.  He has this to say on the subject...

The Lord is my life and my salvation – whom shall I fear?  The Lord is my stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

The lord was not just your "salvation" on the day you were saved but He saves us EVERYDAY from our sin even the sin of fear.  And fear is a sin, because we are not trusting that God is big enough to handle it.  (Let's repeat that together - He is big enough for my fears).  He has numerous scripture promises to combat nearly every fear.  I encourage you to memorize a few so you can recite them when you mind becomes captive to fear.  The greatest weapon we have against fear is our loving heavenly Father and His word.

Anxiety weighs down the heart
Proverbs 12:25a

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Matthew 6:27

Fear and worry is bad for our health.  When I was in bondage to fear this summer you should have seen my symptom list everything from diarrhea to muscle spasms, etc.  I mean I was physically a HOT mess.  See our mind, body and spirit are connected and so if one of those is out of sync it effects the others.  And here I thought a little pill would be cause for more side effects than fear, oh how I was wrong!

So if know the ill effects of fear, let's learn how to practically overcome it...I want to share an illustration with you that my friend Misty shared with me...

Our thought life is like a road and when we have thought these thoughts over and over again it makes grooves and the path is easy to go down.  When we purposefully try to take each thought captive, it is difficult because we can no longer go down the easy road, we must now beat down the grasses, weeds and rocks to forge a new road and sometimes we will veer back to that old road because it is comfortable and easy.  With each thought taken to the Lord, the new road will become easier and we will be able to train our mind.

Two roads diverged in the woods and I – I took the one less traveled and it has made all the difference.  
-Robert Frost

Do not worry about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, present your requests to the Lord and the peace which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

This is one of my life verses but I have often thought of this verse as unattainable but it is because I have looked at the first part without practically applying the 2nd.  I worry about everything because I pray about next to nothing.  I don't approach God with all the little stuff that bugs me, if this study has taught me anything my prayer life needs a facelift ;).  See I often "hide" things from God just as Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden of Eden hoping to figure it out in their own strength.  

“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be turned into a burden.” 
-Corrie Ten Boom

My greatest fault with fear is that I don't take even the smallest worries captive and turn them into prayers to the Lord.  I don't always renew my mind with scriptural promises instead I sit and stew which only flames the fear fire. Corrie Ten Boom is correct, if I am worried then I need to pray.  The road might be difficult at first so I need to earnestly ask God for discernment and His help to recognize truth from lies.  Satan is smarter than us (not as smart as God - PTL) and he will use our weakness to drive a wedge and send us running from God.  Fear can be a foothold in our lives.

Think on this...

"I am not okay if_____________"  
(My friend Sarah shared this exercise with me and it has proved good for my soul.)

When we hold on to these ideas, God doesn't have all of us.  Our hearts are full and not in a good way.  He can't help us fully if we don't give fully and be honest to Him.

So as you crumple up your paper with "I am not okay if...." and toss it away so there is room in your heart for God to move.  When we stop hiding from Him, he wraps his arms around us and says…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” 
Proverbs 3:5-6

Come all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 

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 hand.
Isaiah 41:10

We have every reason to fear in this messed up fallen world but God has overcome it and He can help us overcome this too.  I was never so glad this summer to relinquish control to Him as he led me to medicine, once I let go of "I will not be okay if I can't fix this on my own" and "I will not be okay if I have to take medicine" he could get to work at helping me.  What "I will not be okay if's" do you need to let go of so God can help you overcome in your life?  God is a loving Father, there is not a day that we have that does not pass by Him first and He has our best interests in mind. Don't let fear hold you captive, let God's love instead!