I have been thinking on the concept of fear quite a bit lately. I have never really viewed myself as a fearful person, but God gave me an interesting thought through a friend the other day. I was contemplating the question "what is your greatest fear?". I hadn't really thought about this before... and for a long time the answer to this question was death. I feared death more than I feared anything else. I feared being separated from the people that I loved through death. God brought that fear to life through a series of circumstance which I describe in my book (which is still a work in progress!) and through those circumstances, even though my worst fears came true, my dear Savior led me to victory over those fears.
So, I was contemplating what I now fear. I have already seen someone face death and so death no longer causes me to tremble. But I realized that the fear of doing the wrong thing is a fear that is very real to me. Obviously everyone should have a healthy fear of the Lord, but I definitely don't think that the Lord wants us to live in constant fear of "doing the wrong thing." Some people fear failing. Others fear what people will think. I don't fear these things... I simply fear walking down the "wrong path". Through the eyes of a friend and because of God's grace I realized that this thinking is in itself wrong! The Lord doesn't want me to be bogged down by this fear of making the wrong choices or doing the wrong things.
I wanted my life to turn out perfectly and for years I had this notion that in order for that to happen, I had to make all the "right" choices and walk down the exact path that God had chosen for me. So I was constantly living in that fear that maybe I had made the "wrong choice" in a certain situation or made a "bad decision" and that it would "ruin" my life. That life would never be the same because of my mistakes.
But isn't that what my dear Savior died for? So that I don't have to spend my entire life living in the fear that I must always do right? Obviously I shouldn't deliberately do the wrong thing. But I do believe that the Lord wants me to make the best decision that I can within the grey areas of my life without stressing so much about going down "this path" or "that one". My wonderful Lord is sovereign and I believe that he is in control of every aspect of my life.
I am slowly learning how to step outside of that "fear of doing the wrong thing" because I do believe that a fear like that can consume someones life if they don't turn things over to the Lord and instead stress about if it's "right or wrong". Please don't misunderstand me: I don't mean that we should be lazy and not care about if a choice is right or wrong. It is definitely up to us to make wise choices with the different things that the Lord gives us, but I do believe that after we have prayed and asked God for guidance we shouldn't live in that fear that keeps us immobilized.
A fear like the one I just mentioned can keep me from doing anything at all! Instead of doing something, I just do nothing because I am afraid of doing wrong! How sinful! The Lord doesn't want me to become a sitting vessel... he wants me to be active and do what I can with the time and gifts that he has given to me. I mustn't fear the unknown simply because it's unknown. I mustn't fear doing wrong simply because I don't want to get hurt. Stepping outside of this fear and living in confidence and victory is something that the Lord is making known to me... that this freedom is GOOD and that being confident and letting him handle all those little things in my life is something that I should have been doing a LONG time ago.
I can't change the past, so what's the use of contemplating if a choice was right or wrong? The Lord IS sovereign and I know that he is "working everything together for the good of those who love him." Whether my choices cause me pain or cause me happiness, God will use them in a way to bring about my eventual good and his eventual glory. I cannot live with that crippling fear that if I "do the wrong thing" I will be unhappy the rest of my life. A life of joy can be lived no matter WHAT road I am walking...as long as my identity is always placed in my Savior Jesus Christ. In HIM my joy is found...not in my personal choices or actions.
Praise God for the freedom and victory over fear that he gives to his children! A life with him is so full that it becomes overwhelming at times. The joy that wells up within me is greater than anything I have ever found or will ever find in this dark world. The light that He continues to shine can be found, if we choose to look for it... the key is in walking out of that crippling fear that paralyzes us from doing things. That fear of doing wrong IS wrong! Praise God that He is continually renewing my mind and banishing that fear so that I can live in victory through the cross.
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear..." - 1 John 4:18a
Lord cast out that fear. I praise you for your perfect love that has that ability to banish all my doubts so that my view is filled, not with my fear, but with your wonderful perfect glory.