It’s funny how things often come together from seemingly different places. This Sunday, I am doing Kids Church and it is Halloween, so we are talking about fear. As I have been thinking about kids and what they might be afraid of I think of things like spiders, heights (we are trying to overcome this one with my son), monsters, and bad dreams. Or bigger fears like mom and dad getting divorced or no one at school liking them. The lesson for Sunday is pretty straightforward – we don’t have to be afraid because God is with us and will deliver us from fear.
Then one day last week, I listened to an interview with Pete Wilson. It was about a number of different ideas, but about half-way through I started hearing things like: “Fear is not the issue. Fear without faith is the issue. Fear establishes the limits of your life if you let it. What you need to do is allow it to become the fuel that pushes you forward. We can’t allow fear to dictate our choices. Don’t allow fear to overcome your faith.”
Wow. Those are all great thoughts. And can you imagine if we had learned those lessons as kids, how different our lives might be now? But instead, I need to learn some of those lessons now. Although I am scared of spiders and things that sting, I don’t let those fears overtake me. I can kill a spider if need be (beat it with a shoe and then use a box of Kleenex to pick it up and throw it away), and even have smacked down a wasp or two when in an area where it might sting my kids (using a long-handled fly swatter, of course). But what about the other fears we wrestle with?
- Fear of rejection – Would we rather not put ourselves out there if there is a chance we might be rejected?
- Fear of intimacy – Would we rather not share ourselves authentically because it would demand something more of us? Or is this more a fear of being “found out” – that someone will find out we really are not the person that we want to be?
- Fear of hearing from God – Of course you will say to this, “I do want to hear from God – I don’t have this fear.” But let’s be honest. If he said you needed to pack up and move tomorrow to a place he would show you at some point in the future – do you want to hear that? Or do you want to hear about the deep issues in your life that need to be dealt with, but life is easier if you just keep them buried?
- Fear of obedience – Or have we heard from God and we’re reluctant to obey because of what it might cost us?
Perhaps it would be of benefit to really sit down and think about what we fear – and how, with God’s help, we can overcome those fears. Our faith in God must outweigh our fear of the unknown – because really, that’s what all our fears boil down to. We don’t know what’s going to happen when we try to kill a wasp – it might sting. We don’t know how many blessings (or hardships) we will endure on the way to the Promised Land. But that can’t stop us. We have to let our faith in God determine the limits of our life, not fear. And since nothing is impossible with God, the potential for our lives can be limitless!