Picture this: life goes back to your playground days. You decide to try your hand at the monkey bars. The monkey bars aren’t exactly your first choice. You’d rather be running or playing hide-and-seek with your feet firmly planted on the ground, but today is different.
You climb up the ladder, reach, and with a slight jump, grab hold of the first bar as your legs swing beneath you. You take a deep breath, let go with one hand and swing for the next one. You almost make it but your fingers fall short as your hand falls. You start swaying back and forth, hanging on with one hand, when “OUFF!” The wind gets knocked out of you as you hit the dirt below. That’s the day you decided to never try or go near the monkey bars again. And that’s the day you began to give into fear.
We can all identify with the fear of falling off the monkey bars. Whether we’re scared to make new friends, afraid of what our friends might think if we say “no,” or scared to spend the night away from home, we know fear all too well. Fear can take many forms. It can consume our thoughts and actions and even shape who we become.
But we are sons and daughters of a God who is bigger than any fear. He is more infinite and mighty than we could possibly imagine. This summer we have used the theme Run Free to explore ways we can trust in the Lord.
Many of us are all too familiar with some very common fears. We want to encourage you in your walk out of fear towards Christ.
- Fear of what others think and disappointing people.
”What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:31
Our fear of others’ opinions can influence our decisions; from who we hang out with to what kind of person we become. If we continually work to please others in our hearts and minds, we can lose sight of God’s perspective. Our Father’s opinion of us is the only one that should hold weight in our hearts.
Isaiah 43:1 says, “But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, ‘do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!’” He has called us by name and will protect us.
- Fear of the future
Being fearful of the unknown is a common fear. Not knowing what the future holds can seem like walking blindfolded. We have a Lord who continually tells us to trust in him. Philippians 4:6 tells us “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” When we don’t know which way to turn and the future is full of uncertainty, we can pray to God and know that he hears us and is present. That’s what our theme, Run Free, has helped us realize—we can run towards God and away from our fears, knowing with confidence that we are going after a life of more abundance and freedom.
- Fear of Failure
At some point, we all fail. We may get a bad grade on a test, lose a soccer game, or not get that job. With each challenge, we can know that our failures are not what define us. Romans 8:37 tells us, “but in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” We do not have to worry about failing or not being good enough because our Father has already won the battle. When we pray to God, He takes our fears and gives us courage in exchange (2 Timothy 1:7).
Our fears can always be put to rest by our Father’s love. 1 John 4:18 tells us that “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” Our God’s love for us is perfect and can move us out of fear when we pray and trust in His plan for our lives. Let His love quiet your fear.
Is there a specific fear you can give to God today in exchange for courage?