|JULY 31, 2015
When Fear Paralyzes Your Faith RENEE SWOPE
"‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.’" Isaiah 43:1b-2 (NIV)
I crawled into bed and slipped under a blanket of fear. My husband was out of town for work, and I was afraid to go to sleep. Fear had become a constant companion during his nights away.
I knew I needed to trust God, but I didn’t.
Instead, I went through the motions of what good Christians do: I prayed, read Scripture and taped Bible verses on sticky notes to my lamp and bedside. But then I also put a phone under my pillow and a neighborhood directory beside my bed.
The next night, I took it a step further by putting toys on the stairs — to trip possible burglars. I brought my children into my room to sleep there as well, and moved the dresser in front of our bedroom door.
Although I thought I was controlling my circumstances, fear had taken control of me. Frustrated that I still couldn’t sleep, I opened the Bible and read a familiar passage, found in today’s key verse:
"‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze’" (Isaiah 43:1b-2).
As I read each word slowly, God showed me something I’d never seen: My fears were like flames and my efforts to protect myself were like gasoline. Every attempt to ease my fears was like dousing fuel on the fire, and now it was consuming me.
Gently, the Holy Spirit reminded me that God had not given me a spirit of fear but a spirit "of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7b, NKJV).
Suddenly I knew the only way to overcome my fear and walk in faith was to walk through what I feared the most. I had to put away the props in which I’d placed my faith and go to bed trusting God, realizing that even if my fears came true, He would be with me.
I crawled out of bed and put everything away. The dresser went back in place. My kids went back to their rooms and I went to sleep without my phone under my pillow. And that night, I slept better than I had in weeks.
Fear loses its power when we actively trust God more than what we fear.
Let’s ask God to show us what we are afraid of. What is paralyzing our faith and keeping us from living confidently in His peace and freedom? And then let’s give God a chance to come though for us as we courageously walk through our fears, holding God’s hand and trusting His heart to lead, protect and preserve us each step of the way.
Dear God, help me walk through my fears by facing them instead of being paralyzed by them. I want to take Your hand and trust Your heart with all that is within me. Give me courage today to take the first step. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 34:4, "I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." (NIV)
RELATED RESOURCES: Could you use the encouragement of a friend to help overcome your fears? In her life-changing book, A Confident Heart, Renee Swope will walk you through a powerful process of identifying and overcoming your greatest fears and insecurities so you can live with confidence and courage!
For more encouragement and a giveaway, visit Renee’s blog.
REFLECT AND RESPOND: What fears paralyze your faith or hinder your everyday life?
Ask God to show you one step to take today to walk through a fear that keeps you from trusting Him completely.
© 2015 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org