Fear is a funny thing. It can stop someone short, or it can be embraced and worked through. Everyone handles and approaches fears differently.
I handle fear differently depending on the situation. What am I afraid of? I am afraid of being alone. I do not like being alone for long periods of time. I especially don’t like being home alone at night. I am afraid of not being able to breathe. I am afraid of the direction the world is going. These are just a few of the biggest fears I have.
How do I handle these fears? First, I try not to be alone. I spend as much of my free time as I can with others. I see lots of people though work and school, but I invite people over to my apartment to study, or I go out to study in a place where there are people. But if that is impossible, or I need time alone away from the busy world. Instead of dwelling on the fact that I am alone, I spend time with the Lord. I do this either by reading the Scriptures or just praying and talking to him.
My fear of being home alone at night, there is not much I can do about that. But I have a roommate and I know that she will come home. Or if she is out of town, I have friends over to spend the night. If thats not possible, I make sure I’ve locked my house up tight. Then I stay in my room. Many times I’ll turn on a tv show or movie as filler sound. but often I just lay there in my bed, scared by noises that happen outside. In those times I pray. I sleep. Or I call my brother to check out my apartment and make sure no one is outside.
My fear of not being able to breathe is irrational, but I try to reason with myself and I thank the Lord that I can breathe and I thank him for every breath I take.
I fear the world. It is full of depraved and sinful people. I often times get trapped in my bubble and community and I don’t realize what’s happening in the world. But then something happens to grab my attention. Something like the Manchester bombing, like the attacks in Barcelona, like the rallies in Virginia. Or even something like men preying on single mothers who are desperate for cash. Things like this bring fear into my heart. What I want to do when this happens is to hide away from the world and never encounter hateful people. But that is not what the Lord calls me to do. He tells us to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors (Matthew 5:43-44). The Scriptures remind us in Romans (3:23) that ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. That’s not just the evil and hateful people in the world, but me too. Later in Romans (5:8) that God loves us and showed His love to us because while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Christ died for you and He died for me.
Now that I have this information, what do I choose to do with it? I don’t let my fears stop me. Stop me from what? Stop me from sharing the love of God with people. Matthew 5:16 commends believers to let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. I am commanded to go and make disciples. So I will do that be being constant and loving others. Even when I am afraid. Even when I am not comfortable.
I may not be able to directly do anything to help victims of horrible attacks and riots, but I can pray. I can pray for the terrorists, I can pray for the victims, I can pray for the white supremacists, I can pray for my president and my nation, and for other nations. I can pray.
Praying gives me power and its one way I can show my love and overcomes my fears.