Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? I am. And I’m afraid of water, well more specifically of drowning. And I’m afraid of heights and of failure and of displeasing others and of…well the list could go on and on and on. And I’m guessing you could make a similar list, a list of all the things that cause your heart to flutter, your brow to sweat, your knees to shake, and your teeth to chatter. Fear. It’s real, not always rational, but in the eye of the beholder, perceived fear is real.
My “Big Bad Wolf” moment, or the one that stands out, is as follows: Derrick and I love to travel, and although I hate getting in the water, I LOVE going to the beach. I love reading from a lounge chair while looking at the beautiful scenery and I even love walking along the shore while the waves lap upon my feet. But actually getting in the water, well that’s a different story. But because the fear is real to me and irrational to my husband, on this particular vacation in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Derrick convinced me that partaking of the water sports activities at the resort would be fun . So in order to please my man, I joined him on one of those Banana boat rides, you know the one where you straddle this big, plastic banana while being pulled by a motor boat across the ocean. This was Derrick’s idea of fun, but I hated it. Yes, I knew that many had done it before me and lived and yes I had a life vest on yes, I’d even heard the supposedly comforting words of Derrick, “Don’t worry, I got you. Trust me.” Rationally I understood all of this, but because the fear was real to me, I was still afraid. We took off, zipping over the vast body of aqua blue water, bouncing across the waves and although I was holding on for dear life, it wasn’t so bad. We came to a stop and I prayed, “Thank You God!” but before getting off, the driver of the boat, said something to us in Spanish. We don’t understand him, but Derrick is pumped, so he shouted, “Yeah, let’s go! WooHoo!” Well the driver needed no further encouragement, because he took off going 20 miles per hour faster than we had previously gone. And he then made a sharp turn and overturned the banana. Despite efforts to hold on, I was tossed into the ocean and I was convinced I was going to die. The life vest which was to save me was choking me, water begun to fill my lungs, I couldn’t see Derrick and I WAS AFRAID. But then I heard a voice speak to me and no it wasn’t the voice of God, it was that of Derrick, shouting through sputters of laughter, “Dee, just stand up.” See we had been tossed off the banana directly onto shore but because my back was to the shore and because my fear had kicked into high gear, all I could see, think, and feel was that I was drowning. My irrational response to my real fear.
But as God’s been working with me, He’s led me to ask the question, “How can fear and faith co-exist?” How can I love God with all my heart, desire Him above everything and everyone, trust Him as if my very life depends upon it, surrendering my all to Him while being afraid? The truth of the matter is I can’t and you can’t. Faith and fear cannot co-exist. So what do we do about the “Big Bad Wolves” in our lives?
Along this journey towards living a surrendered life, I’ve come to understand that in order to completely surrender all to Him, I first have to let go of the reigns (read I Surrender All Blog Post) and secondly, I have to let go of my fears. Easier said than done, right? Well, yeah, it’s nearly impossible if I’m relying on self but the Bible tells us over 100 times to not be afraid, to have no fear. And with every command to fear not, God provides a way for us to overcome our fears, oh and by the way, not one of His suggestions includes overcoming fear by our own strength, just an FYI as you continue (as I continue) working on giving up that control.
So how do we overcome our fears? Let’s go to the source:
- Understand That God is With Us and Will Never Leave Us: Psalm 23:4, Deuteronomy 31:6, I Chronicles 28:20
- We Have to Trust Him: Psalm 56:3-4, I John 4:18, Matthew 6:25, John 14:1, 2 Thessalonians 3:3 Psalm 139:23-24
- God Has Equipped Us With Everything We Need: 2 Timothy 1:7, Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 41:13, I Corinthians 16:13, Philippians 4:6-8
This week, let's begin our journey to victory over fear and worry by:
- Meditating on scripture over and over (Psalm 1:2). Every time a worry pops in your mind, repeat scripture, speaking truth and God’s promises into your life (2 Peter 1:4). Allow your faith to overcome your fear. Feel free to choose a text above or any other that is meaningful to you.
- Turning your worries into prayer. “Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” God tells us to cast our cares upon Him because He cares about us (Psalm 55:22 and I Peter 5:7). Give Him your concerns, your fears, and your worries and let God do what He does best! Every single time you begin to worry about something, pray. For example, instead of me worrying about my daughter’s protection while driving, I pray "God please keep my child safe from harm as she's driving. Give her wisdom, help her be alert and make Godly choices. Send Your angels to keep watch over her and ease my worried heart.”
- Checking your imagination. Remember, the “Big Bad Wolf” is a fairytale. Yes there are some things that we should fear and some situations are fearful, but the majority of our fears are grounded in unrealistic beliefs. Sometimes we let our imaginations go wild. Let's try to live in the here and now because tomorrow is not promised and today has enough worries of its own (Isaiah 35:3-4 and Matthew 6:34).
Worry magnifies the problem but prayer magnifies God (Joanna Weaver) so let’s get to praying!
Memory Verse for the Week: Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why worry about the rest? (Luke 12:25, 26)
- What are the “Big Bad Wolves” in your life?
- How do the above texts speak to you? Which one(s) is most applicable in helping you overcome your fears?
- Practice turning a worry into a prayer. Write it down and cast all your cares upon Him!
- Join me in a “Fear Buster” challenge: Within the next six months, let’s take tangible steps to overcoming a fear. I’ve consulted with God and I declare that my faith in Him is bigger than my fear of drowning. I’m going to step out on faith and learn to swim! Let’s support one another, pray for one another and be accountable to each other! I serve a big God, what about you?
Be blessed and encouraged!