Today we are going to take a short break from the Summer Survival Series and talk about overcoming our fears, as discussed in my Proverbs 31 devotion today. If you are not signed up for the summer series yet, subscribe to my blog and get involved! Each week will offer great posts about managing the stress of summer and a fun weekly summer giveaway.
The Summer Survival Series Week 3 topic is Managing Summer Work Stress, with a focus on putting aside the guilty feelings of going on vacation, how to handle covering for co-workers without getting overwhelmed, and learning to relax while juggling work and summer obligations. You can also visit the Stressed Less Living Facebook page for a breakdown of what each week will offer.
In today’s P31 devotion, I highlighted Psalm 46 and the importance of pausing when we feel afraid, and breathing in God’s comfort in the face of our every day fears, from small nagging anxieties to overwhelming, paralyzing fear. In any case, we all have to choose how we deal with these fears, and whether or not we let them control our lives.
When considering this concept of being afraid, I began to jot down a list of all the things that I am afraid of the most. A lot of fears came to mind, but after narrowing my list down to the top three, I noticed something I had never considered before – I had no control over any of these fears.
My top three fears, in no particular order, were:
I have always had an overwhelming, weak-in-the-knees fear of spiders. In my minds eye, even the tiniest spider is, in essence, a tarantula. I am confident that every spider within 1o feet of me is going to violently lunge in my direction at any moment. But the reality is that fearing them is not going to make them become extinct. Most spiders will not hurt me, and the likelihood of getting fatally bitten is extremely low.
2. My children’s safety:
For almost twenty years, I have worried about the safety of my kids, as all moms do. But when they were smaller, I was so fearful that something would happen to them, I would actually have mental visions of them being hurt or harmed, which only fueled my fears more. All the what-if’s and worry made me contemplate holding them hostage in our home just to keep them safe. But I eventually learned to accept that God loves my children more than I do. Only He holds their futures in His hands, and He has plans to prosper them, and give them a future and a hope. I have learned over the years to worry less, and pray more; trusting that God is surrounding them with a hedge of protection everywhere they go, especially since I can’t keep them home and safe in my arms forever.
Except for flying on an airplane, if you put put me in a situation where I can see how far away the ground is, I feel nauseous. Think roller coasters, high balconies, para sailing, glass elevators, rope bridges. In fact, while visiting the St. Louis, MO arch several years ago, I practically crawled on my stomach when I got to the top because I was sure the wind was going to blow the entire structure to the ground. Sad, but true. But plunging to my death from any structure is highly unlikely. Whether I’m on the ground, or twenty stories up, I can only trust that God will protect me and that He knows the numbers of days I have here on earth.
As I considered my lack of power to control the things I feel afraid of, and all the other things on my list that sometimes cause me anxiety, I realized that I was at a turning point in my faith. I needed to acknowledge that only God has the power to make things happen, prevent things from happening, and control the present and the future. I knew I needed to begin trusting Him more with not only these three small fears, but all the other important fears that I had written on my list, involving parenting, marriage, finances, relationships and health.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” In the face of any fear, God promises to go before us, and knowing that allows us to be strong in the face of our fears.
Although our fears may be warranted through our human perceptions, living in a perpetual state of fear is a stumbling block in our faith and prevents us from trusting God completely. It’s also a waste of time and effort, resulting in stress and frustration, since only God has the power to control all things, big , little, and eight legged.
Today I am giving away two items to two randomly selected winners. A signed copy of Stressed-Less Living, since fear is something that can escalate our stress. And a Journal set, since recording our thoughts and prayers often helps us feel God’s comfort and peace.
To enter to win, leave a comment stating what your biggest fear is, and commit to turning this fear over to God from this day forward.
Winners announced on Friday, July 19th!