Have you heard the saying “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”? If you are like me, you might be thinking, people who believe this saying are crazy! Or you may think “They don’t know MY circumstances. If they did, they would understand my fears!” But the truth is, we are told over 100 times in the Bible to “Fear not” or “Be not afraid”. So why is it so hard for us to live up to this Biblical command? And how can we learn to “Be not afraid”? Let’s talk about how to overcome fear and fully live. You can read more our common top 10 fears here.
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Today we will be discussing:
- How to Overcome Fear and Fully Live
- Learning to Overcome Fear Through Grief
- What it Means to Be Unafraid
- Trusting God
- Fully Alive and Free from Fear
- God is Not a God of Fear
- So, What Does it Mean to “Fear not” or “Be not afraid”?
- Why is it so hard for us to live up to the command of “Be not afraid”?
- How do we learn to trust God and “Be not afraid”?
- Living My Best Life
Learning to Overcome Fear Through Grief
In 2015, after my husband passed away, I finally turned the corner and began to learn what is meant to truly “Fear not”. I had prayed and prayed for healing for my husband during all the years he was sick. But my prayers were not answered the way I thought they should, or that I had wanted. I learned through my grief, that God’s plans are bigger than mine. I learned that He, God, has the full picture and I have only the small corner of my world that I can see. I learned that while my husband is no longer on earth beside me, he is healed and no longer in pain, and therefore he is much better off than I. He is at peace. He has returned to perfect health. He has nothing to fear. He has a life in eternity with Jesus himself! What could be better? Read on for more about how to overcome fear and fully live.
What it Means to Be Unafraid
Although I had begun to understand, my education was not complete until about a year and half after my husband had passed. In August 2016, I did something that many people thought was absolutely crazy. Many of my friends worried about me, and honestly thought I might have lost my mind. But instead, I had come to completely understand what it meant by God’s commands to “Be not afraid”. In August, I quit a wonderful job, a career, a way of life, and literally – out loud in my car – said “God, I don’t know what you have planned, but I trust you.”
You see, during all the years my husband had been sick, I felt I should quit working, and spend more time with him. He didn’t want me to quit; he felt I needed the focus on my job, and we needed the insurance. So, although it wasn’t by my choice, I kept working as he wished. After he passed in 2015, I just simply couldn’t do it anymore. Life was too short. My focus was different. I felt my “job” was supposed to be focused on God and on my family, and I had been feeling this way for a LONG time already. So, the decision to quit my job was a pretty long process. It had been on my mind for literally years. Read on for more about how to overcome fear and fully live.
Fully Alive and Free from Fear
I had a savings account, but I had no idea if it was enough for me to live on the rest of my life, without a job. I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do the rest of my life. All I knew is that I felt I must listen to the voice I was hearing that said “Just trust me”. This voice had been speaking to me all these years, but I hadn’t listened. I couldn’t resist any longer. So, in August 2016, I said goodbye to my career and a steady paycheck, for the 1st time since I was about 16 years old. That is something to be afraid of, right?
You’re probably thinking, like most of my friends did, “Wow! That is crazy!” “You will regret it.” some told me. Others felt I was so grief stricken, that I truly did not know what I was doing. However, after a LOT of prayer and fighting the “voice inside”, I truly believe I was doing the right thing for me. I was doing what I was being called to do. I believe that I needed to step out in faith, and just trust my God. I believe I was acting out of reverent obedience. I believe I was being called to something bigger and better than earning a paycheck. I believe God was teaching me how to trust Him fully; how to truly live a live being “not afraid”.
Did it happen overnight? Absolutely not. But it did happen, and I could see, physically see, I was not in control. My God, knew what was best for me. He knew what I didn’t know; what was ahead. He was teaching me what it meant to “Be not afraid”. The answer is TRUST!
God is Not a God of Fear
You see, my God is a God of love, patience, joy, peace, grace and forgiveness. He is NOT a God of fear. He says:
Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
He knew what I did not know: That if I would only trust Him, He knew what was going to happen next. He had the “rest of the story”. He knew that if I would just take that 1st step in faith and trust Him, He could show me what it meant to “Be not afraid”. God taught me in this step of faith, that He was in control, and I didn’t have to know everything, or be everything to everyone. He taught me that I didn’t have to fear for what would happen the next day. I was being taught:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL YOUR WAYS submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
So, What Does it Mean to “Fear not” or “Be not afraid”?
It means put your whole trust in God. It means God has the perfect plan, and we should listen to that small voice inside that is leading and guiding us. It means God has the full story and knows way more than you or I. He cannot move you toward “Step 2” if you won’t step out in faith on “Step 1”. It means we will never receive all God has for us, if we cannot learn to trust Him. It means we truly do not have to be afraid. God knows what is best for us, even if we don’t like the steps in the middle of His long-term plans.
I didn’t like the middle of my “training”, that is for sure. I wanted a different outcome for my husband. I wanted him by my side. But God had other plans, and it would be years later before I would see that even with my husband in Heaven, I could enjoy life and continue living again. It was years later before I understood, that while I may not have liked the outcome in 2015, it was for my husband’s best interest. He no longer had to suffer. He was completely healed. And God could still give me my hearts desires, if I would only trust Him and obey. Read on for more about how to overcome fear and fully live.
Why is it so hard for us to live up to the command of “Be not afraid”?
This is really an easy one: We want to be in control. We think we can control the outcome of anything we put our mind to. My husband had a terminal illness. There was no medical answer to what he suffered from. But if I worked hard enough, we could beat this. If I found the right medical doctor, the right treatment, the right therapist… he can be healed. Does it mean we should just give up hope? Absolutely not! Instead, it means we should not fear. We can do all we are capable of; there is nothing wrong with this direction.
But do not fear death if you are a Christian. You are not dying, but just changing addresses. You WILL see your loved ones again, and they will see you. Trust God’s timing and His plans for your life. Do not be afraid. Read on for more about how to overcome fear and fully live.
How do we learn to trust God and “Be not afraid”?
The “How” is probably the hardest part to comprehend, because God made us in His image, and with the ability to think for ourselves. He gave us the ability to enjoy freewill. So, while God commands us to ‘Be not afraid”, He also made us to live, thrive, and rule over all the creatures on the earth, so therefore we think we are completely in control. We can do anything, right? We teach that to our children, right?
However, when we face something like the death of a loved one, or a serious illness ourselves, or losing a job we absolutely love; when the outcome is different than we “requested”, we learn we are not in control. We have limited control, under our God, our creator. Putting our trust fully in God alone, shows us God’s unconditional love, and that He alone knows what is best for us, in the big picture. When we take that step of faith, then God is able to show us the next step.
Living My Best Life
So, what has happened to me since I left my career behind and began focusing on God and my family? I have assisted my church in beginning a new local missions’ effort. I have partnered with the counseling center to begin a support group for people who care for their loved ones. I have traveled on six mission trips and now have the privilege of leading other trips. I have more amazing brothers and sisters in Christ than I can count. I have spent countless hours of quality time with my grandkids. And God has even blessed me with a new best friend; a second chance at love with a wonderful husband.
Has life been perfect? Of course not; far from it. I still have trials in my life and things not going the way I would want them to go. But by trusting God and living the command of “Be not afraid”, I am living my best life; the life God has for me. He is still teaching me and growing me. And I continue to learn what it looks like to be fully walking in His presence. But I know, there is nothing I need to fear, no matter where He leads me.