Monday, September 14, 2015

I am Afraid



Fear is an interesting emotion. God gave us fear to protect us. It’s not a bad thing. Fear creates the “Fight or Flight” reaction in our bodies. The rush of adrenaline causes us to flee danger, or fight it off. Fear gives us the strength to outrun an attacker. It gives us people the strength to lift a car off of an accident victim. Fear protects us and keeps us safe by encouraging us to lock our doors, install security lighting and alarm systems.

Satan found a way to manipulate something God created for our good into something that cripples us rather than helps us. Fear of the unknown fills us with fear and anxiety about something we can do nothing about. “What if” causes many people more anxiety than actual worst case scenarios. Satan took the fear that God gave us to help us survive when attacked and manipulated it to make us afraid of things that may or may not happen. In the worst situations, the fear of the unknown keeps people in situations that are not good for them.

I see this in abused women. They stay with their abuser because they know what to expect with him…or her. In a recent conversation with an abused woman, I was asked, “but what if I leave and I end up worse than I am now?” She would rather stay where she is and KNOW what the danger is (her husband) than to leave him and face the unknown.

I see it in people who have grown up in abuse or extreme poverty. Sometimes, the unknown is more frightening than their current troubles. Given the opportunity to have a safe and comfortable place to live, plenty of food, and no threat of abuse, they choose to stay in their current conditions. One woman told me “But this is all I know.”

I also see this same thing in new Christians. I remember being afraid that God (or the church) was going to ask too much of me. I was afraid that God was going to take away everything that gave me pleasure or enjoyment. I was afraid that I would not be “me” any longer if I totally surrendered to Christ, so I held tightly to things I was unwilling to give up and rebelled against things I felt were too demanding. Even though Christ promises life and live abundantly, I clung to that which I knew…even things that stole my peace, kept me up at night, and caused me guilt because I KNEW what to expect from these things. I did not know what to expect from God. I see this play out over and over again in new Christians. When given the opportunity, I am eager to explain that I absolutely lost the “me” I was before Christ. My ONLY regret is that I did not completely surrender to Christ sooner.

There are other circumstances where this plays out. These are just the situations I have witnessed in the past few days. In all these situations, my heart broke for women who do not see the value God places on their lives. In each situation, my heart broke for a woman who cannot see what God can do in her life. This is only one of the many ways that Satan uses something good against us.

God’s word says

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10