What Are You Afraid Of?

Jen’s Gem: Do it afraid.

Recently a very good friend of mine and I had a conversation about worms. I don’t like worms. The sight of them sends me running for the hills. My friend noted that it seemed out of character for me to be afraid of such a harmless creature.  Alas it is true.

When she asked me what brought about this fear, I told her that when I was in elementary school, the boys would chase the girls with worms and throw them at us. Whenever it rained, I knew that a day of worm throwing would be upon me as I stepped off the bus and saw their inventory building up.

Mind you that none of the worms ever landed on me. However, my entrance into school and sometimes my recess time were filled with such trepidation that I was shaking in my Catholic school girl shoes. Silly I know. This fear would manifest again in my adult life as I never gardened without wearing gloves. Ever. 

One time as I was clearing out the back area of my house, I came across a garter snake. Within seconds, I ran like a girl into my house leaving my tools and other lawn equipment to rot. That was the very last time I did this task. Bigger, stronger, and less girly men were hired shortly afterwards.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”.” (Joshua 1:9 NKJV)

These days it does take more than worms to send me packing. Looming college loans, appliance nightmares, and yes, even cooking a Thanksgiving dinner can cause my heartrate to rise. However, here is what I have been learning about fear: 

  • It’s a tactic of the enemy to prevent us from having a joy-filled, purposeful life.
  • It’s the oldest trick in the book.
  • It’s an opportunity for us to run away or to rise up. 

When we are feeling fear, our mind takes over and plays out all of the potential doom and gloom scenarios. Our focus is on the “worm” when it should be on the Word. What I mean by this, is that when we keep our eyes on Jesus (the Word), whose perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18), then we can speak against these fiery darts and push through what’s making us a-scared.

“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 NKJV)

Fear is only a feeling. Feelings are fickle. They change as quickly as the weather in New England. Therefore it is up to us if we want to remain in fear. We can make a decision not to feel this way. We can choose to be brave and walk through the fearful situation.

I did not let my fear of worms keep me from gardening and enjoying my time in the dirt. I simply donned a pair of gloves and had a shovel at the ready to relocate this creature if it crossed my path. When we let fear, or any negative emotion steal our joy, our lives become small and God’s plan for us gets put on hold.

Over a dozen years ago, when I was starting my baby gift business, I signed up for a networking meeting. I did not know a soul and I stood in the parking lot for a few moments before venturing in. I told myself that if I wanted to make a go of my business, I had to step out. So I put on my big girl pants and entered the building. Today, many of these fine people are good friends of mine.

Here’s the lesson we all must consider learning: Do it afraid. Each of us will face a fearful situation on a regular basis. Every time, we have a choice to make. Run away like a girl or rise up like a warrior. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather rise than run.

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV)

The difference for me now as opposed to years ago when worms and women’s networking groups gave me a stir is that I’m not going it alone. Every time fear wants to steal my joy, I recall the promises of God and I speak them out loud. These ‘confessions’ strengthen me and bring me comfort in the knowledge that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)

Note that this Scripture does not say “I can do some things” or “I can do one or two things” but rather I can do all things. Do you know what the definition of “all” is? It’s “all.” That means, every single thing that you need to do, you can do, whether it’s dealing with creepy, crawly things or whatever you’re facing today.

Remember God is love. Perfect love. And perfect love casts out all fear. With Jesus holding your hand, you can do anything, even if you have to do it afraid.

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