For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 NASB
I don’t know about everyone else, but I have read this verse many times and every time I tend to think, “oh that’s nice” and move on. In fact I tend to do that with a lot of the verses that discuss living a life free of fear. I have lived so much of my life controlled and manipulated by fear, that until recently, I’m not sure that I even registered what God is actually saying to us. What I am beginning to understand on a deeper level is that not only is a life of fear not what God has planned for any of us, but that He has commanded us to not be afraid and has equipped us to do so.
That’s not to say that living in this fallen and broken world will not bring us into situations that evoke a deep and intense fear. Terror exists, people perpetrate horrific crimes against innocent victims all the time. Our minds were created to elicit a fear response in these situations in order to preserve our lives. But this is not the fear that God is speaking of when He is speaking about fear. God is speaking of the daily anxieties and fears, the what ifs that can leave us debilitated and non-functional. God is saying to His children, that even in those moments that scare you, where you are unsure and afraid of what could happen, in those moments, fear not! It is those moments to which God is saying “I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power…”
God speaks directly to our spirits, to our minds, knowing that we hate the unknown, that we will worry and stress about every little thing that could bring harm or create fear. To this part of us, God is telling us to let go, to “cast all your anxieties (fears)” onto Him 1 Peter 5:7 and let Him carry the burden of fear. He is saying to us, “I got this.” God does not dismiss our fears, He specifically states that in this life we will face troubles. But he also states not to worry because He has overcome the world!! (John 16:33)
This gives us freedom to live. Freedom to let go of the fear that debilitates and binds us and to live the life we were created to live! We can live life fully and still feel fear. We become paralyzed when we let that feeling make our choices for us. Courage is being able to feel the fear and still do what you need to do. Live in the freedom of Christ’s promises today. Accept that you will feel fear but choose today to not let that feeling control you. Go and do what you were called to do, even if you feel afraid. The reward and benefit from not letting fear immobilize you, are beyond understanding, but they will always be better than living a life paralyzed by fear.