Tuesday, October 2, 2012

31 Days of Fear{less}: Absence of Fear?

So, what does fear{less} really mean anyways? In our Taylor Swift quote that this series is bases on, it begins by saying that "fearless is not the absence of fear", which at first glance can seem quite contradictory. Often we think of being fearless as being...well, completely void (or absent) of fear. When we think of "fearless" people, we think of people that do scary things (like skydiving, bungee jumping, riding roller coasters) without a second thought. But, that isn't the actual definition of fearless. According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, fearless is being "free of fear". It's not letting fear hold us back. It's not letting fear take over our thoughts and actions...it's freedom.

So, what does the Bible say about all of this? I think a lot of times we quote all of the "do not fear" verses in the Bible (there's quite a few!) and we get set in our mind that fear is a really bad thing. We read these "do not fear" verses as commands, so we think that if we have any fear at all...it's bad. But, I don't think that is what God really intended. I think that instead of advocating for the absence of fear (since he does talk about fear of the Lord and that kind of stuff), he is rather advocating for freedom from things that bind us and hold us back from a complete and full relationship with Him. If our fear is standing in the way of this, we need to find a way to be freed from it. We aren't called to live lives in bondage to fear. If fear is impacting our relationships (with God and with others), it's not a good thing. But, being fear{less} isn't about having no fear at all...it's about not letting our fears affect the way we live in a negative manner. 2 Timothy 1:7 says that "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." God didn't intend on us to live our lives bound by fear...he wants us to live fear{less}.He wants us to live in freedom the freedom described in 2 Corinthians 3:17 where it says that, "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."

Is your worry affecting your life? Are irrational fears taking over your life? What can we do about this? How can we find freedom from fear? I don't want this series to be me just spouting off things about living fear{less} with no practical application, so here's some practical steps that we can take to find freedom from fear:
  1. Pray. Prayer is a powerful thing. Philippians 4:6 reads, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.". Psalm 18: 16 says, "In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears." These verses remind us that God does hear our cries for help. Even when fear is crippling or consuming, know that God is there for you when you cry out to him...and he will help you and give you comfort.
  2. Read Scriptures to remind you of God's faithfulness. If God provided for the people "way back then", why would he not care about you right now? One of the reasons that the Torah is my favorite portion of the Bible is the stories that it contains of God's faithfulness. Even in the midst of really bad situations, when all seemed hopeless, God provided for his people. Even if it wasn't on their timeline or the way that they wanted him to act, God always came through. Reading these stories can help remind you that God is there for you and will intervene in your life. He wants you to have freedom!
  3. Count your blessings. What is the "good" in the situation that you're fearful of? What can you be thankful for? I'm a huge pros/cons list person- mostly because it helps me manage this. Try to have the "pros" outweigh the "cons" in your list. Look for the good in the situation, and don't let the bad consume you!

1 comment:

  1. I love this! i love especially how you separate the idea we have of fearless (of not having fear) from what fearlessness is (not being held back by fear). it's such a tangible difference! & i love how you phrased it. i've turned fearlessness over in my mind a lot, as you know, and your simple definition helped me understand it a lot better, even after all the thinking i've done!