Packing for vacation, the fear creeps in, settling in my over-night bag alongside my toothbrush. “Hope we don’t have a car crash. I’d hate for anyone to see our messy house, and have to sort through all this clutter.”
I expect it, that thought. It comes nearly every time I’m preparing to go out of town. It’s usually highway-related. And I know its partner thought will soon follow. “This is too risky. We should just stay home. Then I’ll have time to sort some of the clutter.”
The thing is, I love to travel. The idea of staying at home in my familiar, comfortable routines, worn like wide footpaths, is crushing. No. Way. But I’m not blind to the reality that, yes, bad things can happen. Awful things.
If I’m not alert, I’ll get slowly paralyzed by the tension between the ideas: God is good and always in control, but we live in a chaotic world where actions cause unexpected reactions. How can I balance what I know is true?
He has not given me the spirit of fear
…and yet, there it is. Hmm, not from the Father, so where does the fear come from? I don’t like to think about the enemy messing around in my mind, upsetting my heart. But the verse states it pretty clearly.
It’s not as if I’m being called to step out of the boat and walk on the waves. But it can still feel like I’m drowning when I take my eyes off Him. Peter only started to sink into the sea when he focused on the impossible, rather than on the One who makes all things possible.
Fear motivates my sin
Fear fueled our fall from the perfect fellowship of Eden: fear that He’s holding out on us, that He’s being unfair, that He doesn’t know us like we know us. And fear is what separates us from Him still, even after we’ve accepted His grace.
If I want intimacy with the Creator, I have to trust Him with a child’s faith. He’s bigger than me, He’s stronger than I am, and He knows infinitely more than I ever will. Certainly he’s able to keep me safer than I can keep myself.
Fear robs me of the present
If I’m living in the “What-if”, I miss out on the now – moments of grace and goodness flowing past me like dandelion fluff in the wind. They’re moments I can hold in my hand for a brief time, ones that I ignore when I’m thinking about regrets or worries.
If I’m living in the “What-if”, I miss out on the now – moments of grace and goodness flowing past me like dandelion fluff in the wind.
If I truly want to fight fear, I have to affirm His promises daily. I make a conscious choice to believe them. Because you know what? I really do believe them. But if I don’t remind myself, it’s all too easy to focus on worry—the chaos that bends us away from trust.
Now, when the panic threatens me with worst-case scenarios, I greet it and keep working through my vacation to-do list. I can’t control safety, not really. Those thoughts are only the disguised original lie of the enemy, that we can protect ourselves better than God. I won’t shy away from the adventures he’s called me to live.
How do you keep focused on His face instead of the waves?