Faith Self-Management

Inversing Fear

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It happened again. I woke up in the middle of the night, my stomach in knots. My mind racing over a myriad of things going on in life. My inadequacies loom large as I force myself to not look at the clock. 

“Jesus, I cast this anxiety on you, again.”

My heart is pounding. Am I having a panic attack? Worse, is it my heart acting up? I thought faith in Jesus took all of this fear away.

What will people think of me if they knew who I really am?

That’s when my mind goes back to past wounds and regrets. The lies compound. 

What a fool I am. Who would love a fool like me?

Fear is a mechanism we need to stay alive. The issue is there are two kinds of fear and the one I woke up with is not from God.

Fear Man.  Fear God.

It all comes down to who you fear.

When I fear Men, I worry about what they will think of me. I am controlled by fear. Immobilized. Destruction comes with such fears. 

When I fear God, I come to see Him and myself with clarity and hope.

Fearing God is to see Him high and exalted. It is ascribing worth to Him, recognizing my life is created by Him and for Him. In fact, proper fear of God brings life. 

A conversation with a wise man shed light on the two fears. They are inversely proportional to each other.

When my fear of God is low, my fear of man is high. That leads to immaturity.

When my fear of God is high, my fear of man is low. That leads to maturity.

Growing up I didn’t have a high fear of God. God was small, distant, and impersonal. He was out to get me. Judge me. Condemn me. What looked like shyness around people was a greater fear of them than of God. 

What will people think of me?  Performance and image loomed large over my thinking. In fact, fear of man made my thinking very small. I was a puny man. I lacked courage. 

However, when my fear of God increased, my thinking shifted. It’s not that I didn’t respect others, I realized they are not my life; Jesus is. What Jesus thinks of me trumps what man thinks.

There are times I face a tough situation. My mind shifts away from God to worrying about what people will think of me. Will I come through?

Here’s what I’ve come to realize. In the moment of pressure to come through, it is not me, but Christ in me. He empowers me.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, we read Jesus’ words. He says

“Sufficient for you is the grace of me.”

Living for Christ is not carefree, but it is empowered as I face what I face.

Anxiety drops and a clear and sound mind settles over me.

So, how about you? Is your fear of God or of Man that looms large in your life?

Think of a teeter-totter. As Christ is exalted in your life, your fear of man diminishes.

Jesus, I exalt you. I live in holy fear of you, not of man.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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