I've been thinking a lot about what fear does to people, but thinking more on what it actually is. Fear is really a confession of a need for help. A circumstance happens and in that moment we often react to the fact that we don't have enough information about what is happening in the moment and we have exceptional anxiety about negative impacts in the future.
And then we often hold onto the fear, internalizing it for fear of embarrassment. But to move beyond fear, it often starts with a confession of our need for help, that we can't do it on our own, that we don't have enough information about what is making us afraid and we don't have enough information about what it means for our future.
As parents, we see our children struggle with fears that to us are almost irrational. WE know many fears really aren't that big of a deal, because WE have been there and we KNOW the outcome isn't what our child may think in the moment. If only we could get them to see it. What we fail to do in many of these cases is to give them the chance to actually confess their need for help. We just stomp on it and say "it's nothing to fear".
Then we grow up and we face real fears. Death, money, relationship struggles, health, work, home, food etc... And we are afraid and anxious. So what do we do as mature grown ups? We work harder. We read more books. We get more opinions. We get by hoping it will go away. We get medicine... but what we DON'T often do? We don't confess our need for help and our inability to understand.
And then, the Christian remembers. Jesus death on the cross was done so that we do not have to fear God. That when we come with our sins to God, acknowledging them, asking for his grace and mercy and forgiveness, he looks at us and says "It is finished". When we don't have to fear God because we have relationship with him through Jesus Christ, he then can look at us and say like a perfect parent: "Tell me your sorrows... Confess your fears... Leave me your burdens". In relationship we leave them to the one who has been to death and back, defeated it and the devil and has triumphed to say that in all things He is with us, Always! Like a parent speaking to a child, he knows the real impact of what we fear and he has ultimately defeated it.
When I'm afraid, when you are afraid, confess your need for help. Confess it privately to God, but then confess it to someone you know and trust. It won't make all the challenges of life go away, but confessing our fears goes along way toward replacing fear with faith... As God says of himself in Isaiah, "I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you - Do Not Fear... I Will Help You!"
Confess your fear. Confess what you don't know and can't understand about your present circumstances and your future reality. Confess that the moment is beyond you. Confess your need for help - and in so many different ways - He will help you! Often by using other people and sometimes in his own divine ways.
With Peace - Mike