I’m doing a lot of contemplating recently about fear. At our Celebrate Recovery program, I introduced myself for a long time as “a grateful believer who struggles with fear and codependency. I knew that fear of other’s negative feelings or responses were the root of my codependency. It took a LOT of hard work and pain to push through my fear and gain the ability to have a voice and a choice in my marriage because of my husband’s issues with control and anger. At the time, it really was the most difficult, scariest thing I had ever done. Naively, deep down, I believed I had “overcome” my fear, that I had “recovered” from my fear. Well, needless to say, I haven’t :), and even thought I don’t necessarily like it, or enjoy it, I know God grows me in spite of it, or really, because of it. Without the struggle, I don’t know that I would be able to grow.
Today I mostly considered the “faith vs. fear” argument. Is fear the opposite of faith? Do I lack faith if I experience fear?
People say yes, fear = no faith. I don’t think so. I know of nowhere in scripture that says faith casts out fear. It does say LOVE casts out fear (1 John 4:18). And since God IS love, GOD casts out fear! My faith simply allows me to BELIEVE that God can and will deliver or carry me through what I fear. Faith is not an absence of fear, but an application of what and who I believe I can hold on to (God) as I experience fear.
It’s kind of like this: If I am bleeding and I have a band-aid and I don’t apply that band-aid, my bleeding will continue. I possess the tools, but without application the tools do no good.
I know what I fear the most in life: anger and confrontation, whether directed at me or not. Somehow, I continued to fall into the pit that says one day God will deliver me from my fears. Can He? Yes. Will He? I don’t know. But I do know this; God grows me IN my struggles; He builds my character and perseverance IN the struggle, not in the lack of the struggle. My flesh rebels against this time and again. I WANT to be delivered. I grow weary of my fear sometimes.
Do I have faith? Yes. Do I experience fear? Yes. And I will not be shamed by those who would say I have no faith because I have fear. I will simply do the work to apply my faith TO my fear so God’s love can carry me through. Praise Him that He will do it.
What do you fear? Will you apply your faith today and allow God to cast out your fear with His love?