For God has not given us a spirit of fear...

Graphic by Jennifer Shipman / Photo by Nick Grappone on Unsplash

I recently read an article called “New Rules for Announcing a Pregnancy“. Now, I am not pregnant and don’t plan to be again. The article caught my eye anyway. You’ve probably heard the rules: “Don’t tell anyone for three months,” “wait until after the risky first trimester” and the like. Why? Fear. Fear that if everybody knows, and something goes wrong, now everybody will have to know that too and you’ll have to face everything that goes with their knowledge. Sympathy, worries, questions.

This article struck a deep, deep chord in me. I had followed that advice: we told only close family and friends at first. Our pregnancy was, thank God above, as perfect as could be. But, at the root of our “silence” there was fear.

I still fear. I fear that one morning my daughter won’t wake up, or that she’ll fall down the stairs, or she’ll grab a knife, or be kidnapped or harmed. I’m aware of a distant fear for her future self.

I fear in my marriage: that we will drift apart, or I will fail my husband, or I am nagging too much, I am not a Godly wife.

I fear for my calling. That I will never be able to work from home, or that the blog will fail, or that my husband will always be miserable in his own work.

WHY? Why do I fear? Because I am human, and human nature is to take control of our own lives and be anxious about everything. Also because I am a woman. Women in general are natural nurturers and cling to anxiety.

But let me be blunt: fear and anxiety are sins. God gave us life. He gave us our children, our spouses, our jobs and our callings.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!  And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” (Luke 12:22-31)

So my daughter, my husband, my blog: they do not belong to me. God created everything and everything belongs to God. I am only the caretaker, the steward. As I protect and care for my gifts, then, I cannot be ruled by my spirit of fear, but by God’s spirit of power and a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7). I must choose not to be anxious, but in continual prayer and thanksgiving and study of God’s word be at peace.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6)

All love and life is risk. Loss is tragedy. Even so, I will choose to love and live. To love my family even at the risk of loss, and to press on in my calling even at the risk of failure. The spirit of power lets us live each day as if the next will bring loss; the spirit of a sound mind lets us live each day in peace and with no regrets.

So take the risk and live the abundant life God wants for you (John 10:10b). Fear not, for He is with you!

“‘Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.I
will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’”
~Isaiah 41:10