For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]. (2 Timothy 1:7,AMP)
The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? (Psalm 27:1, NLT)
Fear, dread, trepidation, and apprehension all denote agitation and anxiety that’s caused by the presence or imminence of danger. That danger could be real or just an anticipation of something unpleasant. There are, of course, many types of fear, and not all fear is bad. Some fear can keep you out of a lot trouble, but it can also cloud your judgment and blind your perspective. The type of fear that keeps us out of trouble is our fear of something obviously dangerous. For instance, we should have a healthy fear of jumping into a wild animal’s cage or of playing Superman by leaping off a tall building without preparation to defy gravity.
I want to concentrate on the fear that causes undue anxiety due to the expectation of something unpleasant. That kind of fear is a dangerous enemy.
When I began my teaching career, the first grade I taught was kindergarten. I enjoyed it, but I knew that it wasn’t for me. I wanted to work with children who were a bit more self-sufficient. I eventually worked my way up through other grades and finally landed at grade six.. When we moved from California to Iowa because of Adrian’s new position in the company, I had to make a shift. I did some substitute teaching in various grades, and it was fine; but I didn’t necessarily want to teach full time any longer.
A friend of mine from church, who was an adult basic education teacher, and also helped prepare clients (students) to take their GED, told me she was changing positions and asked if I’d be interested in taking her place. She worked at a residential treatment center for substance abuse. This facility also housed a mental health institute. I told her that I was interested, but inwardly, I was uneasy. The day she invited me to come and observe, I could feel my fear wanting to take over. I almost changed my mind about going, but I soldiered on. Part of me had to deal with the surprising prejudice I realized I had about working with that population of people. I had never been around folks who did drugs and such, so I didn’t know what to expect. I stood aloof (my heart beating fast) as I observed her interaction with the clients. She was occupied with one student, so another one approached me and asked if I was a teacher. I reservedly said yes, so he asked for some help with his math. Reluctantly, I sat down with him and, suddenly, all the fear just washed away, and that prejudice just took a dive off a cliff somewhere. Afterwards, I readily accepted the invitation to take my friend’s place. This turned out to be one of several of my most rewarding teaching roles. In fact, I became the teacher with the highest percentage of people successfully achieving their GED. I almost allowed fear to rob me of some of the greatest joys I experienced in teaching.
I used to be terrified of computers. I believed I was going to be that person who could irreparably damage one. I was assigned to teach a specialized adult class that concentrated on getting displaced workers back on their feet by learning new skills. One of those skills was basic computer. Yikes! How was I going to do that? Of course, fear stepped in and almost caused me to not take the position. I thank God for an understanding and helpful husband. As I would look ahead and see what I was supposed to teach on a particular day, I would share that with Adrian; and he would teach me the concept so I could teach my students. My confidence was now growing; and after a few weeks, I discovered that I actually had a genuine proclivity for computer science. I began experimenting with different things and was able to give my students even some advanced knowledge.
Fear can stop us in our tracks if we allow it run our lives. God wants us to walk in victory even when circumstances seem daunting. Faith is the opposite of fear, and faith is where we as Christians should be walking, daily. Some scary situations may give a start, but we want to learn to grab hold of ourselves quickly, and allow Holy Spirit to get us back on track.
There are so many things God wants us to accomplish in our walk down here on earth; but if we walk around with timidly and being afraid of our own shadow, we will miss out on all the blessings that come with obedience. Sometimes, obedience takes courage and boldness – in other words, fearlessness. God wants our thoughts well balanced with self-control so that when He tells us what He wants us to achieve here in history, we will feel empowered by Him to do it.
We can’t forget what Philippians 4:13 tells us: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It’s not our strength, but Christ’s. What got me through the “scaries” in my life was allowing God to be my partner. We will always need His strength to help us to obey Him and allow Him to take us where He wants us to go. (Pam)