By Sandi Brown
Fear. What comes to mind when you hear that word? Think about the things that cause your body to tremble in fear and your heart to race—the things that paralyze you from moving forward. What are the things that you avoid at all costs? Maybe it is heights or dogs or spiders.
Having things that we are apprehensive about is normal for every human being. But what happens when those fears become more than just a simple thing that you try to avoid? What if those fears begin to control your life? What happens when you start to do things you would never normally do simply because of fear? Or what if you don’t do the things you should do because of fear?
Taking this a step further, what’s the outcome when fear controls our lives and prevents us from doing the things that God wants us to do? How does God feel when fear blocks our relationship with him?
I am well acquainted with fear. Truthfully there aren’t many things that I’m scared of, but the things that do scare me really affect me! I remember as a child screaming at the top of my lungs when a fire truck would sound its siren during the Fourth of July parade. I remember cowering in fear during a ride at Disney World. Most of those fears have subsided as I matured; however, a few have stuck around and continue to haunt me.
Let me be honest with you. I’m deathly afraid of bumblebees, wasps, hornets, basically any flying insect that can sting. I’m so afraid that I will run away from them, feverishly swatting at my head as if I could somehow scare the small bug away. I can be walking into a store and if a wasp comes close, I will suddenly duck or run the opposite direction.
Have you ever had a wasp accidentally find its way into your car? You’re driving along peacefully, jamming to your music, and suddenly you hear that buzzing noise. You look up, and there it is, caught in your vehicle. A normal person would probably keep driving and let the wasp fly around. But that’s just not me. No, I like to make things more interesting. When this has happened to me, I can’t concentrate enough to bring myself to do anything rational. I normally start swatting at my head as I scream and swerve, desperately trying to keep my car on the road. First chance I get, I pull over and jump out of the vehicle, opening all the windows to free the horrible wasp. People driving by me must think I’m nuts!
One day while I was home alone, three wasps decided to invade my house. I know they must have devised this clever plan to wait until my family was gone and infiltrate our house when the crazy lady was home alone. They somehow snuck in and then tormented me for the next few hours by flying around my house, dive-bombing my head the whole time.
So as a strong and powerful woman of God who has nothing to fear—I boldly hid in the laundry room while I tried to devise a plan. As I peeked out of the door to keep an eye on the location of the wasps, I realized that my husband had a can of outdoor wasp spray right there in the laundry room with me. Its label said it would shoot 20 feet.
Alas, a plan came to me!
I put on my husband’s winter coat and boots and bundled myself in, hood and all. I then searched through his pockets and put on his winter gloves, checking to make sure that minimal skin was showing.
Did I mention that it was August and 90 degrees outside?
Then I boldly took the can of spray in my hand and cracked open the laundry room door, while my heart thumped loudly in my chest. As I started to sweat profusely, I snuck out into the dining room and tried to locate one of the suspects. THERE! It was flying by the living room window. Staying in the dining room, I aimed the can at the other end of the living room and sprayed. True to the label, it did spray 20 feet. After a few long moments, the wasp fell to the ground. SUCCESS! Now where were the others hiding?
After a little more hiding and creeping through my house, I had all three of them. I carefully checked for more suspects, and when the coast was clear, I took off the winter coat and boots. Whew. I had triumphed over the wasps.
As I settled down and my heartbeat returned to normal, I glanced around the room and noticed that the 20-foot spray had basically covered our entire living room, dining room, and kitchen. Yes, I had succeeded and killed all three wasps, but in the process I had sprayed our couch, television, kitchen table, computer desk, several windows, random walls, and the piano.
I laughed to myself as I looked at what I had done. What would my family think if they saw the house now? How could I let my fear of wasps practically destroy my house?
Fear is a powerful weapon of the enemy. It can drag us down and hold us captive, keeping us from the very things that God intended for us to do. God wants us to walk in boldness and in the plans he has for us. But fear tells us that we can’t and we aren’t equipped and we won’t succeed. Fear stops us in our tracks, preventing us from moving forward.
And just like I look crazy every time I run away screaming from the wasps that are around me, fear looks the same way. Fear makes us do crazy things. Walking in fear shows that we trust in the fear more than we trust in our God.
Furthermore, when we walk in fear, we end up with a disaster on our hands (kind of like the disaster of wasp spray I had through my house). We react quickly, without thinking about our God and the trust we can have in him. And when we embrace fear, it naturally makes a mess of everything that God had planned for us.
As Christians we have no reason to fear because we have God on our side. As Psalm 23:4 says, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
Our God is our protector and we can depend on him for everything. The bottom line is, if he calls us to do something, he will provide the courage to walk through it. And even if our fear is related to some silly thing (like wasps), our God can give us the strength to face our fear head-on and walk in the boldness and strength of our God. So whatever your fears are, remember that you have God on your side.
Sandi Brown is a minister’s wife and freelance writer from Tomah, Wisconsin.