Unafraid of Fear

by dbrowe

I have this little disorder called anxiety. Recently diagnosed, I’m learning to live with it. Though having a tendency to worry about everything is no fun, it is what it is — the hand I’ve been dealt. Luckily, the cards also came with a little yellow pill of assistance that I take every morning.

Unfortunately, the hand I’ve been dealt is for a card game that goes on all day, every day. Try as I might, I cannot seem to quite worrying about the most mundane of things — whether the iron is still plugged in, if I shut the garage door, or if I really took that magic yellow pill instead of just imagining it. Yeah, those are some of the less embarassing things I worry about — I’m ashamed to tell you the others. But it’s not the small things that get me really anxious. It is the big ones.

Life-altering decisions are hard for anyone. I know because I’ve talked through countless ones with family and friends. But for someone like me, they can be absolutely parazlying.

You see, I have these dreams of what I want to be when I grow up and how I really want to spend my life, but I’m afraid to go after them. I seize up with anxiety every time I seriously consider taking the plunge and doing something risky yet potentially rewarding. Like a four year old on one of those big waterpark slides, I cry out to whoever put me up here and demand to be carried down the steps to safety.

I was listening to a sermon by Tim Keller a few days ago about this very topic of fear. Keller challenged his people to pray their fears, to make them known out loud. And he pointed to Psalm 3 as an example.

David finds himself in some real, verifiable trouble (“how many are my foes”) and some trouble sprining from doubt and lies (“there is no salvation for him in God”). But no matter the cause of his anxiety — real or imagined — David trusts that the Lord will be a shield that surrounds him. Front to back. Protecting him from all enemies. And he can sleep in perfect peace.

I’m amazed by him. This man I have never met inspires me with his bravery and makes me wish I had the same.

His secret really is no secret, though. The Bible has spelled it out for us. Where the Lord is, there is liberty from anxiety. Hebrews 11 gives countless other examples of such faith-fed freedom.

Now, the decisions I want to make that I mentioned earlier are probably nothing compared to the kingdom-wide decisions that rested on David’s heart daily or the life and death ones of others in the hall of faith, but they are big to me. They feel like enemies to me. And I can hear them whispering that my God cannot save.

But I must choose the better way. I must grab hold of God and fight with the faith that he is sufficient to defeat all enemies.

It’s hard. Even today, I have probably failed at it more times than I can remember. But I don’t give up. Salvation belongs to the Lord.

Am I alone with this wrestling? What are you afraid of, and how do you battle it?