There are things brewing right now that I did not think were going to be part of my God-sized dreams. Big things. Scary things.
I don’t know where the story that God is writing for you (or me) is leading, but I have a hypotheses about when the fearful tummy flutter will kick in.
Would you be fearful in the following scenarios?
When you open your online shop and wait months for the first sale that isn’t mom’s best friend?
When you make that call to the counselor to start a healing journey for yourself or your marriage, and everything seems to fall apart?
When you sign that conditional job offer and wait to see what unfolds?
When you first whisper aloud the tenuous thread of your dream-calling, and wait for your friend’s response to your heart?
When you write that blog post that you know is on your heart, and one person comments to tell you that you’ve got it all wrong?
When you head back to school to finish that degree, and the work is hard drudgery that doesn’t seem to light your passion as you had expected?
The Heart Issue Behind Fear
Fear will always creep into your heart when you take a new step in obedience and the results don’t happen as you had expected.
But fear perhaps isn’t the root issue. It’s a symptom. Fear is uncertainty. Uncertainty is doubt. And doubt is the heart’s cry for the Savior’s love. “If you really loved me, Jesus… if you really called me to this… why isn’t this turning out the way I had expected?”
The heart issue behind fear is a doubt of His love.
How to Fight the Fear
Dear heart, let me tell you (and me!!!!) the good news we need so desperately to hear.
Never mind, let’s just let His Word whisper it to us. It’s more powerful than any word of mine.
“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:13-18
Did you get that? Fear has to do with punishment: with doubting that we can be good enough to earn his favor. And, that’s true: we can’t earn it.
But when we answer the call of His love at the cross, admit we can’t do any of this on our own, and take on the righteousness of His Son in faith by grace, we are perfected in love. This is the gospel. We are made like Jesus and He abides in us through His spirit. We are held steadfast in His love no matter the outcome of our pursuit of dream-callings.
And the Lord will break us, bringing us to fear over and over and over again, so that we may once again soak in His love and promises.
How do you fight the fear? You rehearse the gospel:
“I was called to be His child. He has saved me. He has loved me enough to pour out the grace of His death and resurrection. Nothing can separate me from His love. He has called me to this dream and I will hold fast to His unending love and not the results that I had expected. I will not fear. I am right where He wants me: safe in the palm of His hand even in the midst of the storm.”