Fear

Often, I sit down to write about a topic then stop.

I don’t stop because I don’t have the words to say. I don’t stop because I tell myself no one will read what I type. I don’t stop because no one will care. I also don’t stop because whatever I’m about to share isn’t in line with scripture.

I stop because I try to muffle God.

I muffle God when the Holy Spirit convicts me I am seeing something wrong but say nothing.

I muffle God when I allow my fear to overshadow what I KNOW is right.

I muffle God when I see an injustice or outright lie being shared, especially online. Maybe I start to type a response. Maybe I know exactly what I should say to the person. But the maybe doesn’t matter when I just hit the backspace to erase the words God placed on my heart.

Why do I get scared? Because I focus more on who I am rather than WHO I AM IN HIM.

I never went to seminary.

I can’t quote pages of scripture.

I don’t always respond with Grace.

I don’t have an answer, argument or even witty comeback to people who question Christ.

I’m just…well…me.

Who am I to speak against what someone else, especially another Christian, has said or done?

Afterall, even nonbelievers can recite Matthew 7:1. Sometimes they even use the King James translation! “Judge not lest ye be judged.” That’s serious scripture quoting right there. How much more backlash will I get from a believer?

Whether I want to point out to a fellow Christian something simple like, “Hey, that’s not what that verse means” or a bit more embarrassing such as “Hey, the big, fancy, official sounding article you just shared is from a satire website and was written to purposely get you fired up,” I stop. I stop because who I am is just another faceless somebody on the internet. I tell myself I am without credibility. I am without an extended formal education. I don’t always say things the right way and I’m scared.

I’m scared to speak out because I avoid confrontation like the plague. I’m scared to be mocked. I’m scared to be vulnerable. I’m scared to be willing to say “I have a thought on this…”

Very little of my fear has to do with experiences in my adult life. Certainly, there have been times I have been called to defend my faith. But nothing led to a vile attack memorable enough to cause me to cower now.  Instead, the hesitation stems from years of abuse.

Those who have come through abuse can claim victory in that we made it out alive but none of us make it out the same. Abuse affects a person’s self-esteem, their identity and their ability to be realistic (or unrealistic) about situations they have no control over. I can jump to a worst-case scenario in a millisecond and, even though the likelihood of it coming to pass is nil, it can be enough to make me close my laptop and move on to something safer.

It’s who I am.

However, when “who I am” gets merged with “in Him”, the dynamics shift. If I write something in agreement to God’s word, my pedigree doesn’t matter. God’s word is God’s word regardless of who shares it. If His words upset someone, the attack isn’t against me.  

“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Luke 10:16

It can be hard to remember that who we are doesn’t matter. Who we are in Christ does.

In Christ, I don’t have to fear.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:13 For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

In Christ, I can be strong with courage.

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

Philippians 1:12-14 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

In Christ, I’m not alone.

Hebrews 13:5-6 For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

In Christ, no one else stands a chance.

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

1 Chronicles 28:20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.

Who I am in Christ, doesn’t mean I have a free ticket to act as judge and jury but it does mean that I don’t have to hold my tongue against the things I know are wrong. More so, as a disciple, called to teach others, James 3:1 says I’ll be held to a stricter standard. If I choose to let something go without explanation or clarification, I’ll have to answer for it. I’m realizing that, when it comes to sharing something I’m convicted over, I better start being more concerned about how I’m going to answer to Jesus rather than how I’m going to respond to people who may disagree with me.

Who I am is fearful but IN HIM I don’t have to be afraid.  

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