October 10, 2019
"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
Fear is something I battle constantly.
I have to work at not living in the harshness of the worst-case scenario. When I'm triggered by a small fear, instead of taming that thought, I feed it. I magnify it. I let it dictate my reaction. Everything gets blown way out of proportion because I convince myself that only my created protection will help me avoid the worst-case scenario.
When my daughter Hope was 15 years old, she announced she wanted to spend her summer with a missionary family in a remote village in Ethiopia. The minute she told us what she wanted to do, my mind started racing through all the scenarios of dangerous possibilities, from her plane crashing, to getting kidnapped, to contracting a life-threatening illness far from medical help. Fear overwhelmed my emotions so I couldn't hear any of the details she was sharing. I just quickly and sternly said, "Absolutely not!"
She kept trying to plead her case, but I shut her down and kept saying no.
I could see the hurt and confusion sitting heavily on her. And that look on her face kept popping into my mind over and over. I felt utterly conflicted. I wanted what was best for her, but my fear kept overriding any consideration I had of letting her go. I wanted to protect her, but my desire turned into control the moment I refused to pray and seek God about it. Anytime I want my way more than wisdom, I stop checking my desires with God and easily go astray.
We distrust God when we are fearful of losing control.
When we try to take control, we ultimately leave no room for God to be God.
Eventually, I felt God tugging at my heart with this thought, "The safest place for your daughter is in the center of God's will."
Though I was still afraid and anxious, I slowly opened my heart to the possibility of her going on this trip. Granted, my fears were not unfounded. But as I released control of the situation, I gained a deeper sense of trusting God. If the door opened for Hope to go, I wouldn't let my fear keep her back.
Have you ever done something similar, taking a concern and turning it into a big, all-caps FEAR?
For me, when fear emerges in my heart, it tends to feed my doubts. Before I know it, I'm attempting to control things to get my fear under control. This is when I've learned I must respond to my fear in faith, based on what God's Word says.
And what does God's Word have to say about fear?
"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7).
"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 right hand" (Isaiah 41:10, NIV).
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).
That summer missions trip did more to grow Hope's faith in God than anything else she'd ever experienced. God had a plan, and I'm so grateful my desire to control fearful situations didn't derail that experience.
Though this story about Hope happened almost 10 years ago, I think about that situation as other fears in my life emerge. Using God's truth and remembering His faithfulness from that experience has helped me fight my fear in other circumstances.
I don't know which worst-case scenarios are trying to steal your peace right now, sweet friend. But I do know this: God is in total control and holds our very lives in His hands.
Father God, thank You for reminding me that the safest place to be is always in the center of Your will. I'm releasing control to You today, choosing to remember and believe that You are good, and I can trust You at all times. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 34:4, "I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." (NIV)
Proverbs 14:26, "Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge." (NIV)
Are you exhausted trying to keep everything under control - because you fear God won't come through? Loosen your grip on the people and circumstances in your life by taking steps to truly rely on God with the help of Lysa TerKeurst's new Bible study, Trustworthy: Overcoming Our Greatest Struggles to Trust God. Preorder your copy here today.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is one example from your life where God's past faithfulness and His truth have helped you better handle your fear? Join in the conversation here.
© 2019 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.