How to Avoid Falling into Fear
Fear is a bit of a drama queen. It likes to make things appear much worse than they are. And if they are, in reality, really bad, then it’ll send you cheery messages like: “You can’t cope” and “you’ll never get through this.” In contrast to this, we have a Father who believes in us. When we tune into His daily vote of confidence in us, we know that come what may, we’ll be OK.
When my eldest daughter was about nine months old, one morning she just couldn’t sit up straight. This was something she’d been able to do perfectly well just the day before, and the day before that. With a rising sense of panic, I picked her up and set her down again, so she was sitting on her bottom on the carpet. Slowly, she toppled over to one side and fell over. She just couldn’t stay sitting up. What on earth was wrong with her?
A sudden thought struck me. Her little friend (also nine months old) was suffering from a terrible ear infection and had been hospitalized with a high fever because it was so bad. What if my daughter had a terrible inner ear infection too that was affecting her balance? My heart started beating faster. I could feel the panic rising. My poor baby… How could she have become so ill so quickly that she couldn’t even sit up?
“How we see the problem can seriously affect how we respond to it.”
I ran through the options in my head. Should I call my husband? Give her some medicine? Take her straight to the doctor? What to do? What to do? I sat her up straight on the carpet once more, but this time as she instantly tipped to one side, I noticed something. She had both her legs stuffed into one leg of her jeans!
No wonder she couldn’t sit up straight... She was in a leg-straitjacket. When I’d got her dressed that morning, I had put both her legs in the same hole of her pants without even noticing. It wasn’t a terrible inner ear-related balance issue, after all. It just goes to prove I’m about as reliable as the Internet when it comes to diagnosing ailments.
“There’s nothing like laughter to give fear a real tweak of the nose and a poke in the eye.”
Someone once said that the word fear stands for:
Fear knocks us off balance, makes us feel wobbly and can leave us feeling off-kilter. What if the reality is that we’ve simply got both our legs stuffed down one leg of our jeans? How we see the problem can seriously affect how we respond to it. Once I realized that my daughter Honour wasn’t going to be hospitalized but was simply suffering from an extreme wardrobe malfunction, all I could do was laugh. Laugh at my mistake and my misdiagnosis. There’s nothing like laughter to give fear a real tweak of the nose and a poke in the eye.
Fear is often triggered by the unknown. And us not knowing if we’ll be able to cope if things go wrong. When I decided to start up my business and work for myself again, I knew I had to bring in a certain amount each month to pay the bills. But as a freelancer you never know where the next job is coming from and you can’t guarantee an income. Not when you’re starting up again and you’re not sure how much work is out there. I was practically having palpitations thinking about the “what if’s?” “What if it all goes wrong?” “What if I can’t pay the bills?”
Fear lingers in the future taunting you, “So you made it through today, but what about tomorrow?” No wonder Jesus counseled us:“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34 NIV)
“Fear lurks in the future and taunts us with the possibility of failure.”
As I was panicking trying to decide what to do about my business, I rang a wonderful friend of ours, David Dalley. Not only is he the father of one of my very bestest friends but he’s Mr. Father Heart. He gave me just what I needed — a father’s encouragement. He believed in me, and said he was sure I could do it, and that my Daddy God would provide for me. His vote of confidence settled my heart.
Fear lurks in the future and taunts us with the possibility of failure. It’ll keep us off balance if we let it. But the Father’s love is here every day to settle us. Your Father God gives you a massive vote of confidence every day of your life. He believes in you, that come what may, together you can laugh in the face of potential disaster. The God of the whole universe is on your side, and yes, things go wrong, but He is still there cheering you on, believing in you to get up and start over again. You’re loved, cherished and valued no matter what happens. The Father’s love is what keeps us safe.
“Nothing can make Him lose His confidence in you.”
“Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39 NIV)
And often as not, the things we worry about are just us sticking both legs in one leg of our jeans. Don’t get knocked off balance by what might or might not happen. If you listen, you can hear your Father’s vote of confidence in you every day of your life… and nothing can make Him lose His confidence in you. Not even stuffing both your baby’s legs in one trouser leg.