How We Can Avoid Living in Fear and Stop Being Afraid

 

The following is an excerpt from my latest book, The Way Back from Loss:

“We fear being sued, finishing last, going broke; we fear the mole on the back, the new kid on the block, the sound of the clock as it ticks us closer to the grave. We sophisticate investment plans, create elaborate security systems, and legislate stronger military, yet we depend on mood-altering drugs more than any generation is history. Moreover, ‘ordinary children today are more fearful than psychiatric patients were in the 1950s.’”[i] —Max Lucado

 

Today’s Verse: “When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they screamed out with fright. But instantly He spoke to them, saying, ‘Take courage! I Am! Stop being afraid!’” (Matthew 14:26–27 AMP)

 

When our lives are shattered by loss, fear can dominate our thinking. It can take residence in our heads and send trust on a long vacation. Fear can tighten our need to control and clamp down on us until we’re immobilized. Fear is the enemy.

Even Jesus’ closest companions experienced fear. In Matthew 14, Jesus’ disciples headed out on a boat trip (Matthew 14:22). While He went up the mountain to pray, His disciples (remember, a few of them were fishermen by trade and at home out on the water) hit a snag. Their boat was out of control with the gale-like winds. Jesus decided to join them. He walked out on the water to meet their listing craft. They became even more fearful when they saw Jesus (as if the waves and wind weren’t enough), thinking he was a ghost. Today’s verse is His reply to them.

Look at what it says:

Instantly. When we’re fearful, Jesus doesn’t waste time. We can trust that He’s always with us and when we call to Him, He’s there, instantly.

Take courage. He didn’t let the disciples wallow in fear. He told them to trust and know that by His strength, they would be safe. It’s an attitude change that moves us from fear to trust. Jesus encourages them to stop thinking about all that could happen and focus on Him instead of the storm.

I AM. There’s only one God. There’s only one Savior. Nothing else will give us the lasting help we need during loss. Not drugs, not psychobabble, not a TV program, not guilt, not condemnation. Nothing but I AM will do it. It’s all-inclusive—I AM is everything.

Stop being afraid. He commanded them to stop being fearful and to relax into His care, His plan, and His control. They saw Him do miracle after miracle. They could look back and remember His power and goodness, and then stop being fearful and trust the One who delivered so many times before.

Focus on Him and what He’s done in your life. Focus on the I AM—the all-sufficient Jesus who loves you and has promised to take care of you.

INSIGHT: The best way to make it through this transition is to choose to stop being afraid and trust. Choose to stop allowing your imagination to create worry or panic and let Jesus calm your storm. Be bold.

PRAYER: Ask God to deliver you from your fears. Ask for His comfort when the Enemy tries to get you to think about tomorrow when today is right in front of you. Ask God to reveal verses in His Word that you can use to overcome your fear and sense of being out of control in the storm.

LIFE CHOICES:

  • Study Exodus 3:7, Psalm 9:9, and Matthew 14:22–27. What do these verses have in common? What do they show us about God’s care for us when we’re hurting and afraid?
  • Understand that the absence of faith and trust brings fear. When we have little faith, we are open to a slew of negative feelings and unnecessary condemnation. Dependence on God and His promises brings a peaceful attitude and a calming of the storm.
  • Discover what 1 John 4:18 tells us: “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!” (AMP). God’s love is perfect. It turns away fear.

 

[i] Max Lucado, Imagine Your Life Without Fear, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 2009), 11.

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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