I sat in the dirt of the garden, trowel in hand, tears rolling down my cheeks and whispered, “Lord is okay to be afraid?”
The scripture that kept torturing my brain was “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
We know this scripture and quote it frequently to others or have it quoted to us, but when we sit alone with ourselves, alone with our thoughts, we wonder, is it okay to be afraid and what to do if we are.
The answer that came to me was gentle whisper, “Yes. Of course, I know you are afraid.”
God was not surprised or condemning of me at that moment, which was good, because
I was being hard enough on myself for both of us.
The picture flashed into my mind of Jesus kneeling down in agonizing prayer in the garden of gethsemane, not once but three times, pouring out his anguish so hard that His sweat became drops of blood. Jesus was afraid. The night before He was arrested, He knew the ending and He was stepping into the unknown because He and God the Father are one and they had never been separated before. (Luke 22:44, Matthew 27:46)
Jesus has experienced everything that we have – in order for that to happen Jesus had to have experienced fear. Hebrews 4:15
The problem is that we think fear is a sin – something that we are never supposed to do.
Fear is a feeling. Feelings make us act in one form or another. Fear is not the problem – the actions are. Fear can paralyze us, make us run, hide, shout, scream or do absolutely nothing.
“People who live with uncontrolled fear are susceptible to broken relationships, missed opportunities, illness, guilt, depression and loneliness. For them, fear is a prison as impregnable as any made of stone and steel. If you are struggling with fear, you know how it can control you and turn you into someone you don't want to be.” https://www1.cbn.com/resisting-fear
I have found in my own life that there are times where I need some help in combating fear and anxiety, so I started my Jewel pages. I have a prayer book where I write prayer requests but at the back of the book I write down the Jewels of each day. Jewels are the treasures God sends me in a day. Some of the jewels are big, exciting things such as when we found the house we moved into last year, or creative ways God helped me pay the bills on a sparse month or perhaps a friend I happened to “run” into on a day where I needed it. I look for ways to see how God is blessing me – it might be simply watching the birds at my bird feeder, God knows I love birds and it blesses my heart.
This keeping track of God and His hand in my life is one way I combat fear, I look back at the jewel pages over the years and can see God’s track record in my personal life. He was faithful here and here and oh yes, here, it is a running commentary for my walk with God.
The Bible is God’s track record worldwide for all mankind and for us individually, and I love that I can follow God’s faithfulness in the lives of the people. God shows up over and over in the lives of the Bible stories. His faithfulness is what can keep us going when we are fearful and worried.
The other thing that helps me when I am fearful is to pray. I have to admit there are fears that get me down on my knees or down on my face – those times of intense prayer are the ones where I find I come away changed. Nothing in particular has changed except me, being in the presence of God.
I have also found that keeping fear in, isolating and brooding makes it look so much bigger in my mind. Talking out my fears and anxieties with a trusted friend can help ease the fear as other people can approach things with a different perspective that can help me see it from a different angle and they can help pray.
It is very true that God does not give us a spirit of fear, but He sure helps us when we have one.