You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”
What are you afraid of? Some of the most common fears are the fear of heights, closed in places, certain animals and death. However, the most common phobia, and the one that tops the list each year, is the fear of speaking in public. Year after year, in surveys, the fear of public speaking ranks higher than the fear of death!
What do you do when you’re afraid? Most of us try to avoid any circumstance where we come into contact with our fears, but what do you do when you are faced with something unexpectedly that scares you? Do you freeze up? Maybe your first response is to run. For some people, an unexpected scare puts them into fight mode.
When we are faced with something that rattles us, our brain usually takes a second to evaluate the danger. Many times we are able to function rationally, see that the fear does not put us in imminent danger and walk away. However, what if the thing that we face is much bigger and stronger than we are?
A lady in Salina, Kansas had an experience last week that most of us would prefer not to have in our lifetime. She was with her family, enjoying the circus that was in town that day. She needed to use the bathroom, so she left her seat and went down the hall. As she was walking toward the bathroom, a lady and her daughter passed her and informed her that a tiger had gotten loose.
She didn’t think much about it until she opened the door to the restroom, which automatically closed behind her. When she looked up, she found herself face to face with a huge tiger. She said, "It was the closest I have ever been to a tiger not in a cage. You don't expect to go in a bathroom door, have it shut behind you and see a tiger walking toward you."
She said that her experience as a social worker helped her keep calm. She stated, "I'm always on alert, and it was easy to walk out; that's how I am trained. Looking back, it was a scary ordeal. At the time, I was thinking I just needed to get out."
What would you have done? Would there be anything in your past experience that would have helped you stay calm and alive in that circumstance? The woman slowly backed away, calmly opened the door and walked out. Could you have done the same?
The Bible has a lot to say about fear. Sometimes, we fear the unknown. Other times we fear the situations right in front of us. Whatever the things are that cause you to fear, God knows and sees everything. If we put our trust in Him, knowing that He loves us more than anything in the world, then we can face those things that shake us out of our comfortable existence.
Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 1:7, that fear is not of God. It is something that the enemy has used since the beginning to bind us and keep us from experiencing the fullness of life, that God intended for us to have. Think about how many times the scripture reminds us not to be afraid. God knew, as the Bible was being written, that this would be one of the toughest things for us to overcome, so He made sure that we would have many promises in His Word to help us resist fear.
Most of us will never walk into a bathroom and find a tiger. However, there are many things that we face each day that make us fall short of the blessings God has for us, because of fear. The woman used her experience to escape the encounter with the tiger. We can use our foundation in God’s Word to ward off the enemy and “fear not!”
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)