“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” said Franklin D. Roosevelt during his inauguration address in 1933. Fear is the singular greatest barrier we must overcome to thrive and rise to fulfill God’s vision for our life.
However, fear also serves a crucial purpose. It alerts us to potential threats to our safety. But when fear starts running rampant, we have to be extra vigilant to discern between those fears which are serving us and those which are just stressing us out and keeping us from taking wiser actions that set us up to thrive. Actions that help us keep calm when others aren’t.
Our situation isn’t making us anxious. We’re making ourselves anxious. I write this now as the supermarket shelves are being restocked since coronavirus-induced panic emptied them two weeks ago.
Fear hijacks our imaginations and discards facts, or at least focuses only on those facts that justify alarm. Getting stressed out about getting sick just puts you at more risk of getting sick.
No one denies the dangers of coronavirus or the toll it’s already taken on human life, economies, and communities around the world. But like all potential threats, it’s important to put it into perspective.
Many things in this world are dangerous. Focusing solely on all the dangers can do more harm than the danger itself. Not only does dwelling exclusively on a perceived threat produce acute stress that lowers our immune system, but it keeps us from taking the very actions that would make us safer, healthier, and more secure.
Fear can make us panic or do things that make matters worse, like circulating rumors online, hoarding face masks and food, or blaming particular groups for the outbreak.
You may not be walking around in face masks, jumping when you hear someone sneeze within earshot, or checking your temperature repeatedly; however, chances are you can easily find at least a reason to feel afraid right now—to batten down the hatches and retreat into safety. After all, fear sells. Fear wins votes. Fear can be easily weaponized or commercialized and do us far more harm than the very thing we’re afraid of.
If our anxiety levels have dialed up in recent times—or have been on high for longer than we can remember—I encourage us to do one thing: abide in God’s Word.
Perfect love casts out all fear. Faith comes by hearing—listening intently with a heart to obey—the WORD! Unplug from all the fear-producing activities in your life and plug into HIS WORD! The WORD became flesh & HIS SPIRIT dwells within us!
Listen, whatever we fear, we serve! For me and my house, we will fear the LORD, Maker of Heaven & Earth.
Fear is a magnet to the very thing we dread. “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” (Job 3:25)
But Jesus is our peace in the midst of a troublesome world. “I have told you these things, so that in ME you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Faith! Believe! Trust!
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge HIM, & HE shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD & depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, & your vats will overflow with new wine. Selah.” – Proverbs 3:5-10
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