This time of year I’m often amazed at how many people spend countless amounts of money on candy, costumes and decorations to try and scare people. I’m told this pagan holiday brings in more revenue than Christmas. Is anybody else troubled by this at all? I was talking with my daughter about fear one morning. She had a nightmare the night before and I’d gone to her room twice to help her get back to sleep. We talked about how the dream wasn’t real. It also brought to mind the times when she was very young and afraid of mascots. The fear came out of what was supposed to be a positive experience but it went completely off the rails.
While she was in kindergarten the local basketball team sent their mascot-Harry the Hawk to visit her school for a pep rally. The majority of the children enjoy this event but my daughter (who doesn’t like to be frightened—me either btw) did not have the same experience. She was terrified. I’m told that she had to be pulled out from under a table in the cafeteria by a teacher and taken out of the area completely. There were other children who had a similar experience but for my child this experience changed her.
Up until then we were (still are) big basketball fans. We have a family member who actually plays for the WNBA and so we always support her when she comes to town to play etc etc. After the Hawk incident we had some tickets to a game. I was concerned but I had hope that she would be ok since she was with us. We sat her in between us so the mascot couldn’t get to her if they wanted to. I’d talked to her about the game before we went. I prepped her as best as I could. I thought she was going to be ok. After we got to the game all she could focus on was the mascot. The Atlanta Dream has a mascot that looks like a light blue puff ball. Google it if you like. My daughter couldn’t watch the game at all and although there were many family members encouraging her to “get over it” she wasn’t convinced. By half time I realized it really was too much for her. She was literally shaking and starting to cry.
We went home. I couldn’t do that to her. I spent way too much money on the tickets and really wanted to see the game but I couldn’t enjoy anything while my youngest was living a nightmare. In her eyes she felt threatened. She felt powerless and had what she felt to be no control over her environment.
That’s what fear is like. It’s a feeling of powerlessness and lack of control over your surroundings. It’s like not having the confidence of the truth inside of you. As I study the word of God I see over and over again how people were afraid of things to come- afraid of their surroundings. I look at Esther and how she displayed incredible courage in facing the King. She was victorious. I look at Tamar (Genesis 38) and marvel at how she decided to get what really belonged to her when she was wronged. She almost suffered death for it-but she prospered. Look at Ruth and Naomi. Ruth loses her husband, doesn’t go back to her blood relatives and returns home with Naomi to a place she doesn’t know.
Over and over again we are instructed to have courage and not be afraid. Joshua 1:7 says it best, ”Be strong and very courageous”. Why would God instruct us to have this kind of courage? Because we are winners! He’s already won it all for us.
Faith calls us to believe without seeing. Hebrews reminds us that by faith the entire universe was formed at God’s command. (Hebrews 11:3). It goes on to say that even Abel brought a more acceptable gift to God than Cain did by faith. Peter walks on water because of faith. He faced his fears, kept his eyes on Jesus and proved to himself that miracles are possible.
So, what are you afraid of doing? It can be simple or complex but day by day I’m making every attempt to face my own fears. My fears like many others almost always expose my vulnerabilities. Doing things that we are uncomfortable with in a gradual format can only prove to help us get accustomed to the fact that fear will never go away. We can however go forward despite fear being there. So I can be afraid but I will still go forward. I tell myself positive messages to get my courage up. I equip myself with knowledge about whatever the fear is. When it comes to public speaking I tell myself that these are just people. There is not one person that is better or worse than another. My message to them may be just what God needed to tell them. So speak up! Go forward! See fear and be determined to go wisely anyway!
Just keeping it Cristaclear!