"But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob; he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
- Isaiah 43:1-3 -
Fear comes in many forms and it affects most of us on some level in our day to day lives. For many of us, fear rears it's ugly head as anxiety or worry and we know it by it's symptoms: procrastination, avoidance, trouble sleeping, racings thoughts, overwhelming fatigue and a quickening heart rate. Are any of these familiar? They are to me. Many of my fears are grounded in childhood and growing-up experiences where worst case scenarios did come to life, and just as many more are caused by my imagination taking over where Jesus should be. All of those 'what ifs'. You probably have a few of those of your own.
What I have learned about fear is that it is the number one cause of failure. True failure, not just a 'fail' here and there. Fear keeps us from stepping out in confidence, or from taking a first step at all. Fear keeps us at home, where it's safe, and limits our ability to influence the world around us. Fear separates us from taking risks and of any lesson I have learned, taking risks is essential in reaping the rewards of success in whatever area of pursuit. Risk tells us to add a little more weight, or to raise that bar just a little bit higher (or maybe to take it up higher than we ever thought we could go). Risk says, "Go!" where fear says, "No!" Risk is not always certain, in fact, most of the time it isn't certain at all; it's a leap of faith.
Are you struggling with fear? Are your fears based on past experiences or are they future fears, worrying about what might happen? Following God can feel very risky, after all, for most of us, we have not had a sit down with the Most High outlining the details of our earthly journey. We don't know what it coming around the next bend in the road. Will it be a scenic view or a precarious mountain side path? Will the weather be calm or stormy? Will we be hurt or arrive at our final destination unscathed? What we do have are promises from God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and he is faithful to his promises. Nothing can separate the children of God from their Father.