Throughout the day, in various situations, little eyes turn to me with the question: “Should I Be Scared?”. Sometimes it’s with words, sometimes they’re just gauging my reaction so that they can see where to put their personal barometer. The kids that think that they’re braver than I am will put the Scared Meter further than they think mine is. The kids that tend to be more timid will pull their barometer waaaaaay back thinking “If Mom is scared, then I’m REALLY scared!”.
This past summer when my kids were swimming, my 8 year old son came up to me after watching the other kids for a few minutes. He said “I just got over watching Jaws and then I watched Soul Surfer.” His words said one thing, but his eyes said another. He was trying to work it out in his mind about whether he was going to be fearful or not. His eyes were silently asking the question “Should I Be Scared?”.
I chose to give him my full attention and not brush him off or disregard him. I didn’t even state the obvious: our pool doesn’t have any potential for there to be Great White Sharks. I looked him square in the eye and told him “You serve a God who calms the storms and raises people from the dead. THAT God lives inside of you. You don’t have to be afraid.”.
His eyes lit up, he squared his shoulders, and he hollered to the kids “I’m coming!”. Within 2 minutes he was jumping in the pool and having fun with everyone else.
It’s not just our kids who are working through this. We as adults experience this too. When we go to the doctor, when we open the mail and have bills that we don’t know how we’ll pay, when we hit a bump in a relationship, when politics are tumultuous… any time that we’re not sure of the outcome, we’re making a choice: Should I Be Scared?
Wherever you ask that question will determine your answer.
If my swimming children had chosen to answer my son’s question, they might have teased him and drummed up the fear of sharks. If my son had researched sharks on the internet, he might have had a list of why sharks are so big and worthy of fear. He didn’t seek out commiseration of his fears. He didn’t choose to make an identity of his fear. He came to the wise and loving source who had his best interest at heart and looked for truth.
As we walk through life we have a choice. We can let fear steal all of our fun, or we can find Truth that will make us brave.
I’m constantly turning my eyes to God and asking “This seems scary. Should I Be Scared?”. Without fail, every time I ask, peace rushes in, and I receive a truth about why I should not be afraid. “Do Not Fear” is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible. You’d think that I’d have this conquered by now. The thing is, it’s a completely supernatural perspective to rise above the things that we see with our natural eyes. Clicking into a place of inner peace with Jesus, a place that transcends all of our natural understanding, is a muscle that requires strengthening. We have full access to Him, but we have to choose to let Him in to the places that we normally keep separate and try to handle on our own. To see Jesus in His fullest expression we choose Him again and again and again.
I keep little bits of Truth and Wisdom hung up around my house so that it’s in front of me all the time. It helps keep my head space clear from any anxieties that try to swirl. Here are some of my favorites:
“Tell those who worry, the anxious and fearful,
“Take strength; have courage! There’s nothing to fear.
Look, here—your God! Right here is your God!
The balance is shifting; God will right all wrongs.
None other than God will give you success.
He is coming to make you safe.” – Isaiah 35:4
“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy… And He will become a sanctuary” -Isaiah 8:12-14
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful.” -Hebrews 10:23
“The word went out across the prairies and deserts,
across the hills, over the oceans wide, from nation to nation:
“The Eternal has done remarkable things for them.”
We shook our heads. All of us were stunned—the Eternal has done remarkable things for us.
We were beyond happy, beyond joyful.” -Psalm 126:2,3
These are some that have jumped out at me, comforted me, and strengthened me at various times; things that remind me that God is with me and that He is good. If these are bits of truth that meet you where your heart is today, write them down, look at them daily. Be encouraged by hope and truth. If you need to find other ones, read the Bible until you have an encounter. Ask Him to speak to you, to fill you with Hope, Truth, and Love. You can do an internet search for the word Bible plus any topic or phrase you’re looking for. There are various translations of the Bible to read from. Find one that you can understand and that makes you feel closer to God. Religious language does not solve anything, but grasping a real truth can change everything.
Go out today knowing that as you turn your eyes upward and ask “Should I Be Scared?”, the Wise and Loving Source who has your best interest at heart is ready to fill you with Truth: you have nothing to fear.