Are We Addicted to Fear?
Are we addicted to fear?
I have a serious fear of spiders and snakes. I’ve been known to wake the whole house up to have a spider killed, and the last time I encountered a snake, I did not hesitate to call Gardendale Police Department and beg them to come take care of it (. . . and this was after I called half of my contacts to come help!).
Recently, I passed a truck with a bumper sticker on the back with the words, “fear is not an option”. I read it once, twice . . . before long, I had read it six times. It evoked me to think about the words with intense concentration. If fear is not an option, then what choice do we have?
Fear is not an option, meaning we can choose not to fear. Are we addicted to fear? Or do we look fear in the face and say not today? Are we allowing fear to control our emotions? Or instead, allowing the peace of God to rule over our minds and hearts?
When you get an unexpected phone call in the middle of the night, what emotion(s) do you feel?
When your vehicle breaks down on the side of the road, and there’s no one in sight, what emotion(s) do you feel?
When things don’t go your way in situations, what emotion(s) do you feel?
You have the choice to say, I am not addicted to fear, I do have a choice to allow God to control my mind.
I’m not saying fear is pleasant! It can also foster a belief that someone or something is dangerous, which likely can cause heartache, pain, or even create a threat. If fear festers, it stimulates unwanted emotions to situations and possible outcomes. Fear is believed to be the first emotion we feel when situations don’t go according to our plans, demanding an answer to my original question, are we addicted to fear? Why is fear seemingly the first emotion we go to? With the Lord on our side, we can handle anything. The Lord says in His word,
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” —Jeremiah 29:11–13 (NIV)
Uneasy, unknown, unrestful situations should not overwhelm us; we have a choice. The choice is to ask God to lead and guide us through the situations. If we can rest, delight, and believe that the Lord has plans for our lives, we should not fear the unknown.
I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So 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. —Isaiah 41:9–10 (NIV)
Looking further into what scripture has to say about fear, I wonder if Abram had fear in Genesis 12:1–3 when the Lord directed him and made this covenant with him, “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’”
Do you think Abram was afraid to leave the only country, people, and home he knew? Personally, like many of us have experienced, I believe he could have had fears of the unknown. Maybe he even questioned the Lord before obeying or could have even said “no” once or twice before he was moved to faithful obedience. Whether any of those struggles existed for him in the process, we know that fear is not of the Lord! Abram gave the Lord control of his mind, body, and soul. Abram stepped out in faith as if fear was not an option.
The Lord never told Abram (or us) that we would not have troubles or difficult situations. No one is invincible. However in John 16:33, he says to, “Take heart, I have overcome the world,” in the midst of being confronted with fears of the unknown or unpleasantness. We are charged at Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries to serve people in a Godly manner; uplifting them in believing in His divine power. We wouldn’t be able to do those things if we were addicted to fear.
In 1 John 4:18, we read,
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
In Psalm 34:4, David says,
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.”
Finally, continuing in Genesis 12:4–9 we see the end of this part of Abram’s story and how he responded to the Lord, “So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. . . The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he went on towards the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.”
Regardless of any fear he could have felt, Abram set out and continued on the journey the Lord called him to. We all need to be ready to go when and where the Lord sends us. If we stop and listen to all the lies that fear whispers to us, we will begin to believe them. But nothing is too big for God. Ask Him to lead and guide you. Pray and ask for God’s perfect peace. Don’t be addicted to fear, and always remember that “fear is not an option” . . . God is in control!
Humbly submitted by Valencia Rhodes Pritchett
Gardendale Family Care, Case Manager