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Trading Fear for Rest

Oh, my soul

You are not alone

There's a place where fear has to face the God you know

One more day, He will make a way

Let Him show you how, you can lay this down

'Cause you're not alone

I’m tired. There’s just no way around that. I told my husband a couple of weeks ago that it didn’t matter how much I slept, I was still exhausted; not just physically but also mentally and emotionally. The past few months have been hard, between the hardest (and last) semester of graduate school, a full-time internship, my family, a new baby, church commitments, etc. I haven’t rested — really rested — in about two years. So, with graduation looming, I was excited to be finished with school, but I was more excited to have the chance to really rest; the unplug, unwind, unproductive, check out of life kind of rest. Life had other plans though, and that rest didn’t, and isn’t, going to happen for a while — and realizing that scared me. 

Then I heard Casting Crowns on the radio singing “Oh My Soul.” I’d heard it before, even bought it and put it on my iPod, but this time I think I really listened to it. What I realized is that I’m not just tired, but I’ve carried a lot of fear around for a long time. I feared failure in school, I fear failing as a wife, mother, step-mother, sister, daughter, employee, and most importantly as a Christian.

God does not place fear in our lives — that’s the enemy. God desires that we live an abundant life, which I can only believe means without fear (John 10:10). There are over 365 references telling us to, “do not be afraid” or “fear not” in the Bible — at least one reference for every day of the year!

God specifically tells us not to fear; we are commanded not to fear. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (emphasis mine).” Isaiah 43:1 says, “But now this is what the LORD says — he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you: I have summoned you by name; you are mine (emphasis mine).” There are so many more, but you get the point.

We don’t have to walk in this world, or in our fear, alone. We’re human, and fear is part of the package, but we can rest in the knowledge that even when we are at our most fearful, and when we feel the most alone, God is not ever going to lead us or leave us anywhere that He is not also going to be.

I love the verse Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” It’s not easy sometimes; we tend to hold on to fear too tightly as if we’re afraid to let it go, but when we can learn to let go, we will find that while life may still be hard, we will be more at peace and with more contentment as we rest in God and His sovereignty.

I haven’t figured all this out perfectly yet. I’m still tired, but I’m seeing that when I can make the decision to let go of fear and give it over to the King of Kings, I don’t feel as tired. I feel more rested, I feel more peace, and ultimately, I’m finding more joy in all those areas that held so much fear before.

 

This post was written by Jana Bazzell, Foster Care Social Worker from our Birmingham office.

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