Dear fear, you are no longer welcome here.

Fear. You know it well. From Monsters under our beds in our childhood to the monsters we fear in our adulthood of anything from cancer to rejection….fear chases us all. Fear comes clothed in a million disguises and if we are not careful we can feed our fears and allow them to grow and even consume us. I can literally feel the physical changes in my body when I allow fear to have its way.

Sometimes a Migraine, a stomach ache, heart racing…a million what if questions…the fretting, the worrying….the thing that stops me from really living in freedom. It’s one of those things I’m allergic to and yet it has pursued me most of my life. The past few years I have been on mission to release its hold on me. I don’t know that we can ever fully escape the feelings of fear..but we don’t have to allow our feelings of it, real or perceived to control us and that is where i am learning to let go.

Notice I said “learning” and not “mastering”. My personality sort of lends itself to being a worrier or as those who are closest to me may put it..”a tad neurotic”, some of it is just genetic makeup and some from painful early life experiences that taught me there was a lot to be afraid of. As long as there is blood running through my veins I will feel fear and anxiety but feeling it and allowing it to control me, hinder me or define me is separate. Feeling fear and obeying it are two different things.

I met fear early in life and it grew as I allowed it to grow bigger.. Fear that I was unloveable or not enough is what made me a people pleaser from as far back as I can remember. Fear caused me to place my value in what others said of me instead of trusting who God said I was. Fear chased me and cornered me into thinking I shouldn’t pursue the things that give me life because of the possibility of failure. It caused me to compromise in my youth and accept something miles away from Gods truth for fear that I wasn’t worth something more.

Fear told me that I was barren and would never have children because God had forgotten me. Fear told me that God was disappointed in me and that no matter how much I strived I would never ever be enough. Fear has crowded out the voice of truth in me and spun a web of endless lies to keep me from Gods peace for when I fear I am incapable of experiencing peace. Fear has kept me from enjoying life in the present by its list of the what ifs of tomorrow. Fear has kept me from many things and all though there have been many places I have been brave I have allowed fear to control me more.

The past few years I have been on a quest to allow Gods truth to penetrate the walls of fear that have been building since I was a little girl…..I want freedom….not just for me…but for those after me…my precious babies…and their children to come one day…I dont want them to have to wander in the same deserts that I have. I don’t want them to be robbed of precious time like I have by allowing the lies of fear to rent space in their minds and delay Gods purpose for their lives.

Fear keeps us stuck.. Fear steals precious moments and opportunities, fear can steal life if we let it. Fear grows if we feed it and allow it to write the lie in our hearts. How many big or little things do we not do or not say because of the grip that fear and insecurity hold onto us? The Bible instructs us countless times to fear not, do not fear, be not afraid. Why so many times… Because we all feel it…some of us more than others…some of us have had unfortunate experiences and or people that have proven to us that we should fear and that nothing is safe. Truth be told, life isn’t safe and hasnt been since the Garden of Eden, people aren’t always safe, but Jesus, oh wow, He is. He is Prince of Peace in the face of our rational and irrational fears.

If He can stand at the edge of a boat calming the raging seas then He is more than able to to stand at the edge of my ever raging heart and ease my many unknowns. The unknown…I mean that is kind of what fear is all about anyway right? There is sort of a hidden false sense of control that we feel we possess when we are in a constant state of fear because we hide, we try to control we strive.

When we are afraid we desperatley try to control every possible scenario hindering our ability to take risk.

We place barricades around our hearts, limitations on our abilities and futures and live in a perpetual state of the illusion of safety.

We miss out on living when we live like this because our existence becomes more about self protection than actual living. The more we try to control our world the more out of control we become. My fears did control me at one time, they held me captive…they extended beyond just being afraid, it got to the point that I was so afraid to answer my phone anytime I was away from my kids or husband for fear of something happening to them.

My husband is a firefighter and when I wouldn’t hear from him I would assume the absolute worst…my mind always automatically played out the worst. Thus I began the illusion of control. I couldn’t live in the present, ever…I felt like I was always living in flight or fight mode trying to avoid pain. Fear was winning… and my trust in God, well, it was…waning.

Fear is absent of trust in God and trust in God in spite of uncertainty removes the fear…or at least gives it less space to rule our hearts, our present and our future. Some of you know this feeling all to well, some of you can’t ever rest your minds and hearts because you are afraid, some of you really want move forward but it’s grip is to tight..Maybe its illness you fear, or failure, or losing a loved one, or maybe there is something you are passionate about but the fear of failure overrides your desire to try.

I know that feeling, I have been there to many moments in my life…I have wasted to many moments in fear. Fear doesnt add minutes to the clock, moments to our days, change the diagnosis, prevent failure or make certain the future, it only robs us of having hope in the middle of the storm.

Fear prevents us from being comforted. Living in fear…isn’t freedom…that isn’t what living is….Jesus didn’t die so that we could live in the bondage of fear, He died that we would be totally free…He died to give us perfect peace and rest even when our fears sometimes come true. He died to show us how much he values every place of our being inside and out and that He has created each of us individually unique for a purpose to glorify him. He died to display that in the face of a dying world with no hope He is the hope that can overcome that which overcomes us. When we replace our fear with the truth we CAN live with that peace that passes understanding.

Fear in and of itself is not bad, there are very rational things to be afraid of. Fear in the right place can actually protect us….fear is what keeps my three year old from jumping into our campfire because she knows she will get burned. There are a lot of “healthy” fears…but the majority of our fears arent coming from a place of protection but from a place of hindrance.

Feeling fear is not the problem it’s what we do with it. When fear hinders us from becoming, being or even living the life we are intended to, that is when it controls us and holds us prisoner. So what about you? What is holding you back? What areas do you compromise in for fear that you aren’t meant for more? Who do you shrink in the presence of for fear that you are less than? What are you called to accomplish that you are suppressing for fear of failure? Are you living in the present or haunted by the fear of what tomorrow might bring?

Fear comes wrapped up in a million packages, it’s one of Satan’s favorite tools but God didn’t call us to have a spirit of fear, He called us to boldly show people Jesus through our lives, bind up the broken hearted, give hope to the weary, encourage one another as we embrace the race we are in. we cant accomplish our task if we allow fear to blind us from Gods truth and hold us back. I don’t know what fear is placing its grip on you today but whatever it is, replace its lie with Gods truth.

The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid. Psalm 27:1

Dont let the lie of fear keep you from accomplishing Gods will today or tomorrow.

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Live in freedom!