by Melissa Maimone
I don’t like fear. But fear seems to like me. Fear comes to visit regularly. It’s not like I invite fear. I don’t skydive, wrestle sharks, or eat strange foods. I like seatbelts, helmets, and knowing that my airplane seat cushion can be used as a flotation device. And yet, fear barges it’s way into my heart without so much as a polite knock.
How do we deal with such a rude, uninvited guest as fear? We are are told over and over in Scripture, “Don’t be afraid”, and yet, simply trying not to be afraid doesn’t work very well. It’s kind of like telling you not to think of a pink elephant on a bicycle. You can hardly help it. Ignoring fear only emboldens it. Hiding it helps it grow–like mold in a dark, damp corner.
The best thing we can do is look at fear squarely in the face and describe what we see to God. When we admit our fears to the Lord, an interesting thing happens. Courage shows up. A deep, abiding courage that doesn’t even require kick-boxing classes. Courage that defeats fear is not dependent upon our own strength. It’s dependent upon love. And you’ve got plenty of love at your fingertips.
1 John 4:18 says, “Perfect love drives out fear.” You have the love of God so completely it’s hard to comprehend how high and how wide and how deep it goes. And because you’re loved, you can confess your fear to the God who already knew you were afraid in the first place.
Do you need a healthy does of courage today? Has fear shown up again and tried to make itself at home in your heart? Remember who you are. Remember how dearly you are loved. And remember that no matter how hard it tries, fear will never be allowed to live where love already does. There is nothing that can separate you from that love; not circumstance, not weakness, and certainly not fear. When you turn your attention to His perfect love, courage will show up too.
I haven’t had many moments when fear left me alone altogether. I still like safety and seatbelts. But fear cannot bully me out of doing courageous things. I’m too loved for that. So are you.
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9