The last few months have been relatively free of struggles with fear, for which I’m very thankful. I was thinking about why this might be and noted a few key things I’ve learned about fear.
1. For me, fear has two roots: idolatry and lack of trust in God. When I put too much weight in the gifts He’s given me here, I hold them too tightly and anything that would make me lose them makes me very afraid. Likewise, when I forget who God is, specifically His desire to do me good, His power to protect me, and His sovereignty over all events.
2. Trust means that you know God has you in a certain place at that certain time, so anything that happens is not without His allowance.
3. Keeping your mind filled with good will keep it from being filled with fear. This is demonstrated in Philippians 4:6 (Do not be anxious about anything but in everything through prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God… will guard your hearts and minds) and Isaiah 26:3 (You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You). Some of this is very specifically meditating on God and His word, but some of it is also just not being idle – which is the big reason I think I’ve struggled less with fear since S was born – I have much less time to think about things that might happen! And just thinking about what MIGHT happen doesn’t bring the grace of God that He will give us if those things actually DO happen – those things are not among the “true” things that we are supposed to think on (Philippians 4:8).
4. Summarizing it all: BEHOLD YOUR GOD. This is why Isaiah 40 is such a big help to me when I’m afraid – it clearly shows so many of His attributes in a way that comforts immensely because it shows His involvement in the details of our lives.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that these things don’t only fight fear, but also most of the struggles we may have in life: they’ve helped with S’s reflux and being overwhelmed by long lists of things that have due dates (like taxes and preparation for our move).