When I was a child, I had a “No Fear” shirt. Do you remember these shirts? If not, it’s because you are a young one, so you will just have to believe me when I tell you they were super cool.
The other day, I was having a conversation with myself. Don’t judge. You do it to. I don’t really remember what “we” were discussing, but I do recall interrupting myself and saying, “No fear.” And immediately I had a mental image of my awkward, basketball-loving junior high self sporting that awesome t-shirt. “We” laughed for a bit about that silly trend before getting back to why on earth that phrase came up in conversation.
It doesn’t take a lion trainer to figure it out. (Anyone else bored with “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist”?) “No fear” came to mind because I DO fear. Often. I am terrified. I am terrified that my circumstances won’t change, that I don’t have what it takes to reach my goals, that people won’t think my best amounts to much at all. That I. Will. Fail.
Or if I succeed, that success will be a let down.
Do you know what fear kept people from in scripture?
In Deuteronomy chapter one, we see that it kept an entire generation from seeing the land The Lord had promised His people. They trembled in fear and said, “The people are taller and stronger than we are; the cities are large with walls up to the sky.” Moses reminded them, “Do not be terrified. Do not be afraid of them. The Lord, your God, who is going before you will fight for you, as He did in Egypt before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how The Lord, your God, carried you as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” But, they let fear win. They stopped moving forward because their fear was bigger than their faith. God was too little in their eyes to do what He promised, to lead them to victory.
Sarah told her husband, Abraham, to sleep with another woman. She was afraid God wasn’t big enough to keep His promise to give them a child, so she made her own way. And in doing so, she gave up the peace of her household. She brought havoc into another woman’s life. And the entire world is still feeling the effects of her decision.
Peter was afraid too. His fear looked like shame. But what is shame if it isn’t fear we cannot be loved or useful to Christ after the things we have done? In Peter’s fear, he went back to the familiar. He ignored that Jesus had renamed him “The Rock” and promised the church would be built through faith like his. He gave up the potential God himself had spoken over him and Peter returned to the safe life…fishing. Not for men, but for fish. He went back to casting his nets day after day never knowing whether it would be a good day or a bad day.
Isn’t that just ridiculous? I mean, when we read these stories, it is so clear these people were making awful choices! You gave up what God had PROMISED because you were afraid? Of what? So what if the people are big? So what if it is taking longer than you thought? So WHAT if you made a fool out of yourself and made one of the worst mistakes of your life? God has already told you he is giving this future to you. Hello!
But I do the same thing. I mean, God has not told me I will be a sucessful musician or that I will ever get to go back to India or that I will ever be married. But, He has promised to take care of me, to lead me in victory, to direct my steps, to love me, to use me, to mold me. He has promised the best for me. So, why would I let fear keep me from moving forward?
It is the what ifs that hold me back. What if I find out I’m terrible at this? What if I’m really good at it but no one cares? What if I’m teaching and lose my train of thought? What if no one reads what I write? What if EVERYONE reads what I write? What if What if What if?????
Stop what ifing. Ok..So WHAT IF those things happen? Isn’t God big enough to handle it? Do I really think one of those things could throw His entire plan off course sending me into a tailspin till I die sad and alone at the age of 93?
Of course He is big enough. He is bigger and stronger than all my mistakes, then anyone else’s thoughts towards me, than any walls and oceans and armies that threaten to keep me from the things God has in store for me.
So, no fear. I will choose, every second of every day. I will decide over and over and over again to not be afraid. To not let fear keep me from receiving the fulfillments of all His promises towards me. I will choose to remember that my God is big enough, strong enough, and He loves me more than enough to lead me in victory.
I love the speech that Samuel gives the people in 1 Samuel 12.
“Do not be afraid. You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own. As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”
To you and to me: Do not be afraid. Yes, you have made some stupid decisions, but the Lord called you because He wanted to. Fear Him. Love Him. Look at all He has already done for you and keep moving forward.
Originally posted on The Truths of Becoming: 1/8/11