Don't Let Fear Make All Your Choices
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. II TIMOTHY 1:7 NLT
We often tell kids if they fall down, “It’s okay. You’re okay. It’s going to be okay.” We say this to help them calm down and focus on the present. When a kid takes a tumble, it’s natural for their minds to wander to the next terrible thing. This exaggerates their emotions and their body’s cortisol response. Reminding them that “it’s okay” brings them back to the present moment and calms them.
As adults, it doesn’t require an actual fall to get us thinking about the next terrible thing. We are aware of things that can go wrong. Yet if we don’t tackle these thoughts through calming self-talk such as, “It’s okay. I’m okay. It’s going to be okay,” we will miss out on a lot of living. Fear of the future prevents many from enjoying the pleasures of the present.
Recently on a cruise, I got to witness two entire groups of whales in a feeding frenzy. They would literally rise up out of the water together—around a dozen of them, enormous in size—and then dive back down at the same time. It was a dance. I felt like I was in a nature documentary. We were blessed to see them.
Later when I went back onto the cruise ship, a friend we had met told us she didn’t get to go whale watching. She sounded disappointed. When asked why, she explained that one of her family members had seen a TikTok video of a whale getting too close to a boat. Obviously, the video hadn’t painted a pretty picture.
While that video was real, it wasn’t the norm. Most whale watching expeditions happen without issue. Yet the impression that short video had lodged into the mind of her family member had aroused so much fear that the entire group missed out on sharing a memorable moment together. Fear limits your options. Choosing faith frees you to live a full life.
Fear of what might happen prevents so many people from embracing their now. Avoiding or ignoring fear isn’t the solution. That only stuffs it for another day. Rather, when fears pop up, shift your focus to the moment you are in right now. If you’re okay right now, then remind yourself of that. Allow an awareness of your “it’s okay emotion” to regulate your body’s response to perceived fear. In this way, you’ll choose what to do rather than your fears choosing for you.
Jesus, show me how to make choices based on trust in You rather than on my fears. Amen.