Finding Peace When Fear Wages War
I’ve heard it said that we can hold two different perspectives when it comes to fear. We can “Forget Everything And Run” or “Face Everything And Rise.” (Zig Ziglar) However, whichever perspective we live by will reveal who (or what) our lives are driven by. More often than not, I’ve found myself in the “forget everything and run” category–being controlled, dominated and held prisoner by fear.
When anxious thoughts consume my mind, I typically choose to entertain them for the sake of being “prepared for the worst”.
If conflict and hardship are a possibility, you can find me playing it safe.
When the pressures of life weigh heavy on my back, I find myself bowing to fear rather than rising in faith.
Maybe you’re like me and find yourself constantly shrinking back from hard things and letting fear run your life. Like an annoying song that gets stuck in your head, fear paralyzes us with it’s lullaby: “Shrink back…bow down; ’cause if you rise you might fall down.” Because if we deny fear and rise to whatever challenge lies ahead, we might get hurt, let people down or look bad. We might fail and lose what we risked. Even worse, we might be largely disappointed in what we were hoping so badly for.
I’m convinced– fear might be one of the enemy’s greatest weapons. Fear promises to “protect” us from hard things, but it actually prevents us from doing anything.
As someone who easily succumbs to fear more than any other emotion, I’ve seen that fear can either mobilize us or paralyze us. We can see fear as something to stare down and step on, or believe in and bow to. Believe it or not, fear can mobilize us to trust God and let Him use us to do the impossible. And even though I’m naturally drawn to the false sense of comfort that fear promises, I’m also challenged by the words of Jesus that say: “My righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” (Hebrews 10:38)
What does it look like to Face Everything And Rise instead of Forget Everything And Run?
Let’s be honest: we’re not going to be able to face down any opposition unless we’re daily face down at the feet of Christ. Dependence on His promises and His peace is our greatest defense. And time in His word helps us see the world (and it’s challenges) through the right lens.
Before He ascended to heaven, Jesus left His disciples and us with a priceless and often unutilized gift: His peace. In John 14:27 he says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Frankly, the world gives us frivolous and fleeting solutions for peace that often involve backing down from the thing that scares you. But Christ does not give us peace as the world gives. His peace doesn’t give us permission to bow to fear, but it crushes the voice of fear, squelches anxiety and frees us from the prisons our minds have been held captive by. Jesus gives us peace that frees us instead of freezes us. His peace gives us the power to rise and face down whatever threatens to take our peace away.
But we’re only able to rise with steady, fixed eyes.
If our eyes are on the waves and our surrounding circumstances, we will shrink back– overcome by our inadequacy. But when our eyes are fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), we remember that He is the one who has gone before us and stands up inside of us.
When fear and anxiety wage war in our minds, let us remember Christ gave us a powerful gift that cannot be taken away and conquers every threat– His peace.
Lord, wrap your hands around my anxious heart. Remind me of your faithfulness today–that nothing I face is out of your control. Though anxiety may wage war for control of my mind, I choose to remember you won the victory and you have given me peace that no one can take away. Help me to rise and cling to you Jesus. Amen.