When you’re tired of giving into fear

Last Thursday morning, a friend and I went to a young professional’s breakfast featuring a really neat speaker. After filling our plates with tomato basil eggs, bacon and cantaloupe, we introduced ourselves to the people at our table and scanned the speaker’s free book. Soon, the speaker shared her story. After a difficult adjustment to life in the big city, she began to hide “love letters” of encouragement around NYC. On a whim, she promised to write and mail a love letter to anyone who requested one through her blog. Over 250,000 letters later, her hobby has become a full-fledged organization. Her mission: to spread love.

The author’s speech was interactive and throughout her talk, she posed questions for us to discuss at our tables. “What is one thing a year from now you want to say you changed or made different?” As people contemplated the question, my answer popped into my mind quickly. “Fear. I don’t want to be ruled by fear so much.” Fear of disappointing people. Fear of rejection. Fear of losing my loved ones. Fear of evil. Fear of not being enough. Fear of depression. Fear of not living the abundant life that Jesus said He came to give us. For much of my life, fear has controlled my decisions, conversations, thoughts and plans. It’s exhausting and debilitating.

Yesterday, I woke up with so. much. anxiety. I prayed but couldn’t shake it. I quickly read some Bible verses but couldn’t shake it. I went to lunch with my family but even their words couldn’t shake it. My wise brother (who has the most positive attitude of anyone I know) said that it’s all in my mind. I just needed to cultivate a positive mindset. This sounds great in theory, but when you are riddled with anxiety and someone tells you to “cultivate a positive mindset,” it just adds to your anxiety. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I cultivate a positive mindset? I need to try harder. But I’m too exhausted to try.

I am so thankful that God is continuously pursuing us with His love. Later that day, the Bible app on my phone “happened” to buzz with a new study from Louie Giglio (one of my favorite pastors). The words jumped off the screen. “The solution to facing the giant of fear is not determination but faith in Jesus. It isn’t so much saying, ‘Fear, go away,’ but confessing, ‘I have confidence that Jesus is bigger than this giant and has already defeated it.’ In Romans 10:17, Paul states, ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God.’ When you see and hear God in and through His Word, the Word allows you to see and hear that He is bigger than your giant. That builds up your faith, and your faith in turn becomes the stone that shuts up the giant that’s already defeated. So today, identify the source of your fear and place it in the hands of Jesus. Remind yourself that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) and He is able to overcome this giant. Remember that Jesus has promised to always be with you (Hebrews 13:5). Name what is keeping you up at night and then offload those cares to the One who has promised to care for you (1 Peter 5:7). Then fill your mouth with praise because you see God’s might, recognize His love for you, and know He will always come through. His compassion will never fail (Lamentations 3:22).” -Louie Giglio

I wish I could say I read that and all of my fears vanished. That wasn’t the case, but it did give me hope and a place to go. I am so grateful we can take each fear to the God who created the stars and the skies, the God who knit our hearts, and the God who dearly loves you and me. And I am excited to read His “love letter” tonight to see what He wishes to share with me.