It all boils down to who we trust, right?
Sitting here on the beach in Tel Aviv, I watch as the sun climbs over the horizon and the tide comes in, inch by inch. I’m feeling the full effects of jet lag–having slept a whopping four hard-fought hours before I gave up and decided to take a walk outside. Before this trip, I had spent numerous nights with similar sleep issues, but jet lag wasn’t my excuse then.
I was shaken with so much fear that my evening thoughts were riddled with restlessness and nightmares. I feared for all the things that could go wrong on my journey to Israel: flight issues, car crashes, getting lost, things stolen, and us being in the wrong place at the wrong time for an attack on an Israeli city. What began as little thoughts here and there quickly escalated into anxiety and regret–I felt overwhelmed by the ‘what-ifs’ and regretted purchasing a non-refundable plane ticket. I was wrecked, in a bad way. With the help of others, and many, many prayers, I made my way to the airport to embark on my travels, but the lingering fears still remained up until this morning–two days into the trip.
As I launch Spotify, the song Oceans by Hillsong United is the first to come on my playlist (ironic?). This gets me thinking, we may sing along to ‘…take me deeper than my feet could ever wander…’ but let’s be honest here, those moments that come and stretch your faith are HARD. They knock you on your back (figuratively but sometimes literally) and they can be painful and extremely unforgiving. You don’t know when, if ever, it’ll be okay again. Those times make you hesitant to declare you are ready to be sent again, hesitant to step out into the unknown. You want to be ready, but your memories are so clear, so fresh from the last trial, that you waver.
That’s when he comes, the evil liar, the deceitful snake. His name is Fear. This is how he works.
Fear slithers in and starts whispering in your ear, telling you he’s your friend and that you can trust him. He tells you you’re ‘not ready’ and that heartache, pain, and regret will surely follow any bold proclamations. And unless you reject his advances, he begins to permeate your every thought. He even begins to tinge the everyday; tasks as simple as going to the grocery store can sound dangerous. What if you get into a freak car accident on the way there? What if there’s a suicidal maniac who happens to be there right when you are? Or worse, what if something like this happens to someone you deeply love? And before you know it, he starts sounding like the voice of ‘wisdom.’ You can start logically reasoning how it’s the ‘smart’ way to go about things. Being vulnerable with others now sounds like a risk you shouldn’t take–what if they hurt you with what they know about you? He tells you that closing yourself off to others is the safest option for self-protection. When making decisions, he tells you the smartest way is to ‘consider ALL your options,’ which leads you to painstakingly comb through each and every minuscule possibility (sometimes to the point of paralysis). Even though you’re physically and mentally spent from this exercise, his whispers tell you that you’ll look like a fool if you make the ‘wrong’ choice, so you push through, hurting yourself and your relationships with those affected by these decisions along the way.
And somewhere along the line, your confidence starts to crack. Others tell you so matter-of-factly to ‘not worry’ and ‘give it to God,’ but that requires Trust and Faith in God–two friends you kept saying no to in favor of the liar. That also requires you to admit you’ve been choosing to live this way. It takes a ton of humility to face your weakness and admit that not only were your justifications meaningless, but also that you fell victim to manipulation. And all of that makes your voice feel so small and insignificant; if the world knows you’re so evidently broken, How will anyone consider your advice now?
But that’s exactly what fear wants you to believe. He whispers more than ever in the moments you most want to break free from his hold. He clenches his fangs on you with greater ferocity than ever before. He’s practically yelling. You feel lonely, helpless, small, trapped… and most of all, fearful.
Nevertheless, the reality is that it’s not too late to say no to trusting him–not too late to recognize and admit that fear is no comforter, no safeguard, no masked hero. Fear is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He is not ‘part of who you are.’ He is not a constant. Fear is not your friend; in fact, his power is stripped when you take away your agreement with his whispers.
What fear doesn’t want you to know is that your voice IS powerful. Your bold declarations are more important than what you believe. Your mistakes are healthy and not as bad as you think. Your honesty is needed in this world. And you ARE capable of being free.
When you choose to say no to that inner dishonest whisper, you take away his voice. So say “No!” And then say it again … and again … and again … and again. Say it until his voice is silenced and the trampled fear slithers back, whimpering, to the dump from which he came.
I want to challenge you to live like the Royalty you are. The only fear we need as children of the One True King is Godly fear. When the Bible says in Psalms 139 that you are “…fearfully and wonderfully made…” it is not a juxtaposition, it is speaking of the brilliant, freeing life we have under the fear of God. There is freedom to be found in standing in awe of the Father’s love, sovereignty and constant goodness. When we put our trust in Him, His perfect love casts out all earthly fears and fills us with an incomparable peace. Out of this transformed living, we pursue our dreams and callings unbounded – just as He designed.
I don’t know about you, but I want to daily live in the truth that Jesus is both trustworthy and my Friend (and fear is neither). So today, I choose to put my trust in Him.
Prayer: Jesus, I need You. I need YOUR peace, the peace that transcends all understanding. Just as in Matt Redman’s lyrics in 'You Never Let Go' – “…even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Your perfect love is casting out fear… And I will fear no evil, for my God is with me. And if my God is with me, whom, then, shall I fear?”
My God is with me. Emmanuel is not a father who just “watches me” from on high, leaving me to fend for myself. He is with me. In me. Alongside me. Present. Always.
Lord, please give me Your wisdom and discernment. Protect me from the snares of the enemy–from the deception of fear. Thank you, King Jesus, for Your protection and perfect love already. I know I can always turn to you because You are always there and I for that, I call You friend.
Miriam grew up in New York and has always had a passion for written word. She works both as an analyst in the financial industry & as a personal consultant for startups. She loves to travel, explore nature, and also has a knack for hot sauce and popcorn (sometimes together)! Miriam and her handsome husband, Graham, currently live at an altitude of 5,280 ft on the outskirts of Denver.