“For God did not give us a spirit of fear (timidity), but of power and of love and of self-control.” ~2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
I (Leah) was raised by a beautifully sensitive and loving mom. When I hear this verse I always think of her because this is her life verse. You see, my beautiful mom has been through a lot in her lifetime (abuse and suicide just to name a couple). There are so many things, people, experiences in her past that are continually trying to reach through time and space to control everything she does with a spirit of fear. Every day takes an incredible amount of courage to face the fears that hound her–simple conversations with strangers, leaving the house, stating her opinion or view point, and the list goes on.
I definitely understand that timid place. I loathe stirring the pot; rocking the boat; making someone uncomfortable to be around me, my husband, or our three boys. But the truth is that most of the time this spirit of fear or timidity completely exhausts me. I have spent my precious time and energy running around doing the things, saying the things, being the person I think everyone else want me to do, say, or be. And if for some reason I cannot appease “the many” I usually beat myself up over it until I vow to “do better next time.”
God has a name for this sort of behavior–the fear of man. Proverbs 29:25 AMP says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever leans on, trusts in, and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high.” I wish I could tell you I have conquered this constant and consistent temptation. While I now understand more fully how to be okay with disagreement in order to bring about truth, I also shirk away from any argument if given the opportunity. While I understand I cannot possibly say yes to everything I am asked to do, I still say yes to too many good things and sacrifice the best. I say yes many times because I’ve done them before, it seems like a good fit, or maybe there is no one else who has stepped up to do that particular good thing. I have learned that every no that I do manage to eek out does mean a yes to my husband, to our three home schooled boys, to quiet and rest, and to my overall health. And yet the yeses always seem to creep back in somehow.
There are surely many different types of fear. I think the hardest fear for me to root out of my life is not the overwhelming fear within a scary situation–it is the subtle beat of my heart to want to please others, to want others to like me, to want to be enough, to want to be loved. This is surely my daily struggle. Praise the Lord He has shown me my struggle. He has helped me know the name of the particular sin–the fear of man. And He will help me overcome this day by day, moment by moment, for He has not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love, and self-control!
Thank you Lord that you don’t leave us the same and when we fail your mercies are new every morning!