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About 30 years ago, on a blustery, snow-filled winter’s night, I crossed the Mighty Mac for the first time. Mom was driving; white-knuckling it actually because of the poor visibility and wind gusts.
My five year old inquisitor brother starts grilling with questions, “Whoa, Mom, how deep is that water down there? How far up are we? Is the water cold? Would we…”
My Mom never answered his questions or found the answers for him, as she usually did…due to her intense fear at that moment.
This past Labor Day, half of our family walked the Mighty Mac during the annual Labor Day bridge walk, including the now 35 year old inquisitor. While we were enjoying Mackinac City, Mom finds a paper with Mackinac Bridge fun facts. She smiled and said, “Jeff, I have the answers to your questions. The water under the bridge is 95 feet deep and the bridge is 199 feet above the water.”
We were all laughed, heartily!
But there’s a lesson here too. Sometimes people cannot answer your personal questions. Usually it’s because they don’t know or don’t want to appear foolish or that the truth might embarrass them.
But sometimes it’s because they are flat out terrified. Fear prevents people from being honest with themselves and with you. Fear is the enemy of intimacy and vulnerability. Fear corners people and causes them to behave oh so squirrelly…or mean…or rude.
My mom always tried to help us get answers to our questions, but her fear caused her to be short with my brother & tell him to just shut up.
I’m not sure what point I’m trying to make…other than I love my family and I loathe fear…but this has just been rolling around in my head and I needed to get it out.
PS Random funny..me, my mom and my niece all prefer walking the Mighty Mac to driving over it. We feel safer. Weird but true.
“So the wicked hate the Light and try to hide from it, for their lives are fully exposed in the light.” John 3:20 TPT
In my experience the most horrible humans I’ve encountered are filled to the brim with shame and fear. Fear, not hate, is the true opposite of love. (I John 4) Just because someone isn’t shaking with nervousness, wringing their hands, or anxiously pacing doesn’t mean they’re not afraid.
The violent ones, the cruel ones, the bitter ones, and even the selfish ones are all so full of fear that they do everything in their power to control and dominate. They fear the light of exposure of their shame and their broken places. They fear being hurt. They fear being found inadequate or are terrified of failure. The selfish ones often fear lack and poverty.
Many people think by controlling everything and everyone they are safe. But really they’re just spreading fear.
Trusting God and receiving His love is the only true way to conquer fear. And depending upon the amount of fear the process may be longer than you want it to be. It was for me!
And the first step in that process is allowing the Light to expose what’s really going on inside your hear and mind.
Something to ponder while you wander…Shame and fear bring out the absolute worst in people. Hurting people hurt people. So being a light will sometimes draw wrath from people, love them anyway. That’s what Jesus did.
PS Loving people doesn’t not mean that you need to endure abuse. No one has the right to verbally, physically, or emotionally beat you up! NO ONE! If a “friend,” boss, spouse, parent, sibling, child or anyone else is harming you please seek help immediately. No matter what you’ve said or done, no one deserves abuse! NO ONE!
Throughout the Bible God continually repeats, “Do not fear.” Why? Fear blocks believing & prevents receiving. It rejects hope & despises love. Fear inspires procrastination & nurtures doubt.
“There’s no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life–fear of death–fear of judgment–is one not fully formed in love.” I John 4:18 MSG
The Parable of the Talents is found in Matthew 25:14-30. You’ve probably heard it or read it. Mostly it’s about stewardship of money and other things that are in your hands. But today when I was listening to Out of Hiding by Steffany Gretzinger I had a different perspective on it.
This “unprofitable” servant looked around and could plainly see the gifts and abilities in others. But either could not see them in himself, or felt he was inferior to those already using talents similar to his.
Maybe he had a brilliant business idea, but had seen others around him fail. So he hid the talent.
Maybe he was an artist and wanted to invest in a creative venture, but feared failure. So he hid the talent rather than lose it.
Maybe he was a writer and wanted to use it to publish his book, but feared failure. So he hid the talent.
Maybe he had failed before and didn’t want to fail again. So he hid the talent.
Maybe no one believed in him before the master did. So he didn’t believe in himself, and buried the talent deep.
Maybe people told him he was stupid and his ideas were stupid. So he didn’t even try, he buried his talent.
Here’s the Parable of the Talents in the Message translation:
“It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.
“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
“‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. (MSG)
Don’t be like the unprofitable servant and bury your gifts, talents, and abilities. Take a risk. Try. Believe in yourself. Come out of hiding!
God’s love penetrates so deeply & fills you so completely that there’s no room for fear! If you’re not feeling strong & courageous you need to meditate on how deeply you are loved.
“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” I John 4:18 NLT
Since it is Musical Monday…here’s a great reminder from Nichole Nordeman: His love makes me brave!
“I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
Don’t let fear lie to you! You have the same peace as Jesus. It is the same peace that allowed Jesus to sleep in the storm that panicked everyone else.
When fear rises,remind yourself that you have nothing to fear! Stand on God’s word. Just because you are feeling afraid doesn’t mean you have to stay that way!
Worry. Stress. Anxiety. All 3 are a type of fear. The Word tells us do not worry, do not fear, and to be anxious for nothing. God desires you to have a life filled with joy! Not fear. So instead of freaking out, remember He loves you and “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess 5:16-18
I loathe fear. So when my friend Danielle posted about God not being afraid of the dark, I asked her permission to share it with you. It’s encouraging and challenging at the same time. With that I give you what Dani wrote:
I got a text earlier today from a friend asking for prayer. Anxiety had attacked her in the middle of the night. I have to tell you I get riled when people I love are struggling with or have been taken down by fear. That stupid punk has taken so much from people I love. It prevents fantastic and talented people from doing amazing things. It stops people from living a full life. I’ve had it with fear! I would punch it in it’s face if it weren’t just air!
My friends, fear is nothing but a punk! That’s right fear (AKA anxiety, dread, panic, confusion, concern, worry, etc) is all talk. It has nothing to back up the lies it has been whispering in your ear.
Fear uses intimidation (like a school yard bully) to steal your peace, joy, sleep, rest, and your time. How much wasted time and rest have you given to worry? Where did it get you? It got you nowhere. All worry did was steal from you and make you less effective. Are you hearing me? FEAR IS NOTHING BUT A PUNK! FEAR IS JUST AIR! That’s it!
But Jill…what if this and what if that? Um…what if you laughed in fear’s face and called it a punk? What if you reminded fear who your God is? How big your God is? Bullies always back down in the presence of fathers, right? Right! Well, introduce your fears, worries, concerns and anxieties to Daddy God.
I want you to laugh. Seriously. I’m not kidding. Laugh. Or giggle if you prefer. Then I want you to repeat after me OUTLOUD:
Fear is a punk. It is nothing but air. It has no power over me, except the power that I give to it. The spirit of fear is NOT of God or from God. God tells me to be anxious for nothing and not to worry about a thing, because the peace of God guards my heart and mind through Christ. God’s perfect love casts out all fear. I am safe in Daddy’s love. I am the accepted and beloved. I am the head and not the tail. Above only and not beneath. God never leaves me or forsakes me. He is so close to me that He knows the number of hairs on my head. I am not confused because God has given me a sound mind. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am a child of the Most High God. I have a good future in front of me. I am achieving the purpose for which I was sent to this Earth. I am victorious. Therefore, I laugh at fear because it is a punk. Whenever I lay down to go to sleep, I will sleep in peace and my sleep will be sweet. Thank You for making me dwell in safety, Father. Thank You for dealing with the enemy for me, that I have rest, peace and joy.
This was the first of 4 messages from Life Christian Church’s series called “Feardom”
Or if you’re needing a song:
NKJV Scriptures from which the above is drawn:
“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8
“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” I John 4:18
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7
“And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.” Deuteronomy 28:13
“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.” Proverbs 3:24
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” II Corinthians 4:8-10
“Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” I Corinthians 13:5
Love is not easily provoked into anger.
This one’s a toughie for those with a short fuse or a temper. It’s especially tough when dealing with someone close to you who knows exactly how to push the right buttons to fire you right up. Interestingly enough anger here actually is a compound word in the Greek. One word is alongside. The other is to stir. Picture someone purposely coming alongside of you and poking you with a sharp stick until you can’t take it anymore and blow up, that’s what the word means in the original Greek.
Anger is a secondary emotion. This means that it always starts as another feeling before it grows into anger. Diffusing anger requires dealing with the source emotion. When you do that, the anger dissipates. What are the sources of anger?
Anger can also come from unforgiveness, but usually one of the above three are the culprit.
When you feel anger beginning to build, take a deep breath. Then ask yourself: Am I hurt? Am I afraid? Am I frustrated? Then deal work on dealing with the root of the anger. Don’t allow yourself to be provoked into a verbal explosion or a physical fight. If possible remove yourself from the situation or the person poking and prodding you, even if it’s just for a few minutes to calm down.
This is the Jill translation of this verse: Love bites one’s tongue and controls one’s temper. Love does not explode into a verbal explosion of harsh words and obscenities. Love doesn’t punch someone’s lights out because it is hurt, afraid or frustrated.
Jill will continue to work on this. 🙂 Happy Wednesday!
Bonus Scripture: “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.” Proverbs 22:24-25