Fear in the New Year

Fear…it is one of those interesting emotions.  Fear can be good.  It can keep us from danger.  It can also be debilitating.  Fear can stop us from doing anything and keep us trapped.  All too often, our fears simply keep us frozen…unable to move forward into the future.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Day.  That is a day known for new and fresh starts.  It is a day known for resolutions, and getting started with a “clean slate” and on the “right foot.”  Often, the start is great.  We might actually begin doing something that we have wanted to do for a long time.  Or, we may find that we stop doing something that is causing us harm.  Somehow in all of that, fear creeps in.  Actually, fear was always there, but we find ourselves ‘brave’ for a moment and start heading in the right direction.  That direction, though, is not our norm.  It is not what we are use to…not what we have grown accustomed.  So, eventually, we find ourselves back into the old habits and routines – where it is comfortable…even if it is bad.  Fear wins again.

This doesn’t just happen in our exercise, dieting, or healthy new starts.  It doesn’t just happen with our jobs or our relationships with others.  This happens even in our relationship with God.  We have this desire to follow.  We really want to do what we are called to do.  With all our heart, we want to be more like Christ.  And…then…it happens.  We start following and the path is unknown…unfamiliar…untraveled.  We are scared.  We begin letting our fears take over.  My fears begin something like this…”What if this happens…what if that doesn’t work…what if God hasn’t really called you…what if you heard it all wrong…what if you make a big mess of things…what if…what if…what”  And, I back down.  I want out.  I begin thinking that there has to be a better way…something else I could do for God…something that is…well…more comfortable.

Then, I read the Bible, and the calling of the disciples.  Jesus says things like take up your cross, leave everything behind, sell all you have, forsake all others…come follow me.  Jesus didn’t say that following would be easy or comfortable.  He actually said the opposite.  BUT WHAT ABOUT MY FEARS?  What do I do about the fears that keep me up at night, that cause me to feel sick to my stomach, that cause me to be irritable and snappy, that cause me to…quit?  Jesus has something to say about that too…I am the way, the truth and the life…I leave you peace that goes beyond your understanding…Fear not, I have overcome the world…and most importantly, I LOVE YOU.  It quickly brings to mind what has become my slogan for life…”God’s Got This”

If I am serving Christ, he will take care of me.  He will show me the way.  He will be my light.  He will guide my feet.  He will provide for my needs.  He will never leave me.

That doesn’t mean I won’t fear.  It doesn’t mean all of that anxiety goes away.  It does mean, though, that as I walk with him, I learn to trust him.  As I learn to trust him, I learn that he really does have this taken care of.  As I learn that he has it taken care of, I learn that I have nothing to fear.  I can have peace…even when things are very scary.

As I walk into this New Year, I pray that fear does not debilitate us…it does not stop us…it does not overtake us.  I pray that God shows us what it means to walk…one step at a time…with him.  I pray that God begins to show us that when we walk with him, those fears…subside.  I pray that as 2016 comes, God’s children will begin to follow like never before…into the unknown.  And, I pray that it begins with me.

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