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Fear: An Unpleasant Sensation Caused by Nearness of Danger or Pain

If you asked my family or friends if I was prone to be fearful, I bet most of them would deny it. Even if I asked myself that question, I would have to assert that I am fearless, most of the time. On the outside I may appear confident, without a care in the world. Yet today I read a prayer about overcoming fear, and I crumbled inside, letting the tears of fear roll down my face. I conceded that I do struggle against fear. Fear shadows so much of my thinking. But just like a shadow, unless I am standing with the sun behind me, I don’t always perceive this shadow of fear constantly following me.

But today the sun was shining just behind my heart and I caught a glimpse of this unwanted companion just standing there waiting for me to acknowledge its presence. In reality this encounter was a gracious act of the Son, who loves to show us what we’re up against. He longs for us to realize how much he wants us to live in the freedom he has already fought for so valiantly. Jesus has already faced all the danger and pain that fear throws at us. So even in this moment of recognizing my tendency toward living in the shadow of fear, I am grateful for the one of whom I can say:

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 ESV)

I leave you with this prayer of confession from the book, Prayers for People Under Pressure by Jonathan Aitken:

I would like to rise above, Lord.
Above and beyond.
I would like to purify my glance
And borrow your eyes.
I have fears that grip so tightly.
Fears of failure. Fears of success.
Fears of not being loved, fears of being misunderstood.
I am imprisoned by my fears.
I would like to rise above, Lord.
Above and beyond.
I am worried about yesterday.
About my failure,
And whether I can be forgiven.
I am worried about tomorrow,
All the expectations and ideals.
I long to discover today.
I long to discover the place of joy
–the place of beauty
–the place of content
–the place that I know is here. So close.
And yet I love my prison and hate it.
I long for freedom.
My child, I hear your cry.
I have long been watching your closed shutters.
Why choose to be a prisoner of yourself?
You are free.
It is not I who locked the door,
It is not I who can open it
…for it is you, from the inside,
who persist in keeping it solidly barred.


Author Unknown

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