Technically, tonight, I am still a junior. I have never taken a single college course or talked with a single person my senior year. This fact brings feelings of both excitement and fear. Initially, it was mostly fear to be honest. It kinda still is. But when you invite this feeling in and harbor it for a while, it can very well consume all that is pure and lovely in your innermost being.
Having suffered from severe anxiety in the past (more on that in a later post, pinky promise), I feel that my instincts towards sensing fear may be more heightened and sensitive than others. At first, I faced this fact with fear and trembling. By doing so, making matters much much worse than they actually were. I thought that God was punishing me with a curse of some kind, crippling me both emotionally and physically for being so fearful all the time. But now, I don’t see my sensitivity towards fear as a harsh reprimand of any kind. In fact, I see it as a gift. Even more so, a blessing.
Some people, for whatever reasons, go through absolutely horrific things in order to learn from their experiences and become better people. Actually, all people have to learn lessons from bad experiences. But with different people suffering from different temptations and tendencies, there are different trials that God allows into our lives. And these trials are not meant to deprive us of all hope and joy, but rather to build up our faith, allowing patience to have its perfect work (James 1:4).
With all of the pain and pressure my fearful tendencies have brought me over the course of my life, my faith has been made as resilient and radiant as a diamond. I find myself relating heavily to 1 Peter 1:6-7:
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
Whenever I feel fearful, I turn to the scriptures that pertain to this feeling. There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that tell us not to be afraid. These particular few, however, have provided me with far more comfort than I had ever dared hope to receive:
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” 1 John 4:18
“Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!” Isaiah 44:8
“He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.” Psalm 91:4-8
I can in no way try to deny the existence of my fears, that would be like trying to deny the existence of the devil himself, but I can and will refuse to be a slave to them. God may be allowing Satan to test my spirit, but the spirit that has and will always be there is a spirit of love given to me by my good, good Father. My battle with fearful feelings has easily become one of the greatest blessings of my life. For it not only has me constantly running into the arms of my loving Savior, but it also opens my eyes to the void in my heart that only Jesus can fill. It can easily be filled with other things that bring us pleasure, but only the Holy Spirit can sustain you in such a way that keeps on giving, and giving, and giving. And guess what? He expects absolutely nothing in return, only that our arms remain open to receive limitless amounts of faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).