Fear awaits us at every corner of our existence, like an invisible enemy seeking to entrap us, one we cannot ignore or easily brush away. You might find yourself particularly afraid of change, serious illness or loss, with your feelings greatly heightened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Perhaps you fear unrest, derision, terrorism, and every other “ism” that excludes and divides and causes riots and fights. Or you might fear criticism, comparison, contempt or condemnation, which leave no room for compassion, kindness, or the blessings of common grace.

And as you age, you might be quite dismayed to find it can increase your fears incrementally, as you stay afraid of the dark, of pain and hurt, of other people, their opinions and unkind thoughts. Maybe you’re afraid of small, seemingly inconsequential things like spiders lurking darkly in the bath?

fear - You might fear criticism, comparison, contempt or condemnation quote (C) joylenton @joylenton.com

On looking in the mirror, your fears can become magnified as you note the appearance of wrinkles and lines, wondering where they came from and how do you get rid of them?! When your eyes stray to the rest of your body, your heart might sink in observing its growing number of faults and flaws, revealing evidence of the unforgiving ageing process.

These things can become the background refrain to our days, the mantras playing in our minds, the scary thoughts that terrify when we feel low. We’re barely registering that another way exists in which to liveone that is open to the sacred and hopeful—giving us beautiful new messages for our hurting souls, in which they can flourish and grow.

Because, my friend, you and I are not intended to live a life of fear, twisted every which way by anxiety or worry about ourselves, our loved ones and families. On the contrary, God has given us a spirit of courage, peace and a sound mind, not a spirit of fear whereby we feel helpless and lost.

fear - girl dressed as Wonder Woman - God has given us a spirit of courage, peace and a sound mind, not a spirit of fear whereby we feel helpless and lost quote (C) joylenton @joylenton.com

Fighting fear

fear hisses
you don’t have sufficient
energy or strength
to make it through today
despite God’s help and grace

fear laughs
when we toss with insomnia
in the midnight hour
tells us we’re unloved by God
and we will never be enough

fear suggests
our needs will not be met
we should quake
because this life is just too hard
too terrifying by far

Holy Spirit
breathes peace into our hearts
gives us hope
we are known, seen and loved
it is written in Christ’s blood

Holy Spirit
reminds us of God’s word
his promises
are true, he is always faithful
because he is forever able
© joylenton

fear - fighting fear poem excerpt (C) joylenton @joylenton.com

God recognises our propensity for fear and wants us to turn to Him so we can learn to become fearless, instead of being fearful and sad.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” — Isaiah 41:10 NIV

May I pray for you?

Gracious God,

Help us to be fear-less instead of fear-full, calm and centred inside, in the place where your peaceful Spirit abides. Enable us to release anxiety, worry and stress, and embrace a whole new way of thinking that will change our hearts. Show us how to stop these fearful feelings in their tracks with a word from Scripture and a prayer,  and become wise and mature.

Let us be rooted in faith, with our souls abiding by the cool, clear waters of grace, the rivers of righteousness that bless your sons and daughters. Equip us to stand strong as we dig deep and deeper still, making our foundation secure, because then our souls will be calmer and less disturbed, and more attuned to hope and wonder instead.

“Wonder changes our perspective on life. It opens us to surprise, anticipation, unpredictability, celebration and mystery, replacing the rigidity of fear and anxiety with flexibility and joy.” — Christine Sine, on Godspacelight blog