I remember it like it was yesterday.
I woke up early one sunny summer morning in my Aunt Mildred and Uncle Harold’s house. At the time I was a young pre-school aged girl staying with beloved relatives on their farm while my family was away. My Aunt and Uncle had gone down the farm lane to do morning chores while I was still asleep and as young children often do, I woke up earlier than expected and found myself all alone in their home. I was too young to read, so they didn’t bother with a note and I have no doubt they thought I would sleep until their return. And for the record I was perfectly safe. Even though my fear had no reasonable basis, all I knew was that I was scared. But then again, fear isn’t reasonable now is it? It is what we might describe as:
In other words, fear is fake news. I am not talking about common-sense sort of fear, the kind that teaches you not to lay your hand on a hot stove burner and keeps you from doing foolish things like sticking a hot poker in your eye. What I am referring to is the kind that robs us of living life to the fullest. That insidious, unseen predator that lurks in the shadows of our minds and hearts.
Fear is all about f words- no, not that one silly- these f words: false, fake, and future. All of my fears reside in the future and the large majority of my fears have never happened. They are fake news that don’t exist right now and most of the time never will. Funny thing is in nearly any given moment in which I currently occupy space on this planet, ninety-nine-point nine percent of the time I am just fine and dandy. Unfortunately, I just forget to notice that part of the equation. I have come to recognize it is when I am not trusting God that I am most fearful. What I mean to say is that when when the false evidence of fear is in the driver’s seat of my mind, I tend to lose my peace of mind and perspective of truth. When I stay present in the moment (and don’t forget the present is a gift) and keep my thoughts in the here and now and in tune with my Creator, my fear levels tend to be lower and peace of mind higher. I wish I could say that my fear is non-existent, but that wouldn’t be completely honest. When my thoughts wander to the non-reality of “what if” land my serenity level is lower.
So, why do we buy into the fake news of fear instead in the reality of truth? If we look carefully, appears is the key word. The sad reality is most of us wouldn’t know truth if it conked us over the head and fear is easier to believe and let’s face it, it sells better. Fear is bound up in what think we see or know to be true. And as spiritual beings attempting to be human we all too often fall for it hook, line and sinker.
I am speaking form experience, and have lived much of my life under the influence of some sort of low-level fear without even recognizing what a stranglehold it had on me. Fear has masqueraded itself in anger, pretend happiness, control, substance abuse, overeating, workaholism, people pleasing but primarily as a lack of trust in what God says is true. Self-reliance is my worst enemy because it robs me of so much of the joy of real living God intended for me. I’ll bet that statement is a bit of a surprise to you all, but dependence on God at all levels of my life is my strength, because like the Apostle Paul said, when I am weak, then I am strong. You see following and depending on Jesus is not something I do, like being a member of a club or my job.
It’s who I am.
It is one thing to believe in God. It is altogether another kettle of fish to trust God. And what I have learned through the school of hard knocks is that it is impossible for me to trust in God if I don’t know God personally. And the only way I will get to know God is to study (not just read, picking and choosing verses that make me feel all warm and fuzzy or worse justify a position that I want to make) but to study God’s very own Word to me, And what I and the many, many, many others who have gone before me have found is that when I get to know THE God, made manifest in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, I find not just the truth, but complete truth. And as Jesus said, if we stick with His word and keep following him we will know the truth and the truth will set us free and he goes on to say, that who he (Jesus, that is) sets free is free indeed. Free from what? Free from fear.
And I like the f word free much, much better than the f word fear. In fact, if you search the internet and ask how many times the Bible says “fear not” or “do not be afraid” you get one of two answers, either three hundred and sixty-five or three hundred and sixty-six. One “do not be afraid” for every day of the year including leap years.
The choice is ours: A) fear brought to you courtesy of fake news from that ancient liar the Devil or B) freedom brought to you by the Creator of the Heavens and earth through the simple act of trust.
In conclusion, if you follow Jesus, I ask you the same question Jesus asked his very first followers after he calmed the raging sea, “Why are you still so afraid? “ ©
Be joy filled always,