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How not to let fear cripple you

Originally published Saturday, 08 March 2014.

The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. Proverbs 19:23 (NIV)

I developed a phobia once. I’m sure it has some long name. I never looked it up. 

I had an unnatural fear of escalators

You know those giant metal teeth that link up like a zip to try and suck clothes and people, and especially children, into their tubing and wires. Yes, I was scared of those.

At 21, I should have been past the stage where a long flight of stairs appeared more inviting then an easy ride on revolving metal steps.

While I was struggling with this fear, I learnt that phobias are coping mechanisms the mind creates when a person is afraid of many unpredictable things. 

In order to cope with irregular anxieties the mind decides that instead of feeling terror all the time it will create one thing it can focus all its fear on. This will normally be something that is predictable, that the brain understands and can cope with. 

My brain, for some reason, chose to fear escalators. 

Around that time I found the writings of a wise sage. This man wrote that the fear of the Lord leads to life and that there one rests content, untouched by trouble. 

It made sense to me what this man said in Proverbs 19:23. 

It made sense that the only way to not be afraid – to be content and untouched by trouble – was to fear God. 

I wanted my fear of God to be greater than my fear of anything else. (tweet this)

When I talk about fearing God I’m not referring to the type of fear that sees me shivering in a corner begging God to hold back his wrath. 

I’m talking about the kind of fear for God that can worship God for who he is: a creator, magnificent, a saviour, a star-thrower. The kind of fear that is less terror and more awe. 

I still sometimes hesitate before I step on to an escalator but I no longer feel controlled by that fear. 

I know that my God is bigger than anything I fear. (tweet this)

I also know that it’s a little too simplistic to just say fear God and all your phobias will go away and your life will be untouched by trouble. 

I think maybe what happened when my fear of God became my focus is that the things I used to fear became smaller in my heart. 

When my fears became smaller I found more space for God. (tweet this)

With more space for God I find that I rest contentedly, not because I am untouched by troubles but because I trust God to carry me through them. 

Ponder: Do you believe that God is bigger than your fears?

Prayer: God, increase my awe of you till my fears seem insignificant in light of you. Amen. (tweet this)

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