Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh shares how reliance on God is our best tool in combating fear.
I would like to examine the topic of fear. We all have fears and face anxiety. Let’s face it, every day we awake to many challenges facing us and oftentimes it’s accompanied by genuine fear. I know this is something that’s real for so many of us.
I recently had surgery due to a complication discovered in a test ordered by my doctor. Quite honestly, this caused me some anxiety and also fear. Some of the questions I was wrestling with included:
- What if the outcome proves to be serious?
- If it is serious, how will I continue to give the care to my husband who is disabled?
- My doctor advised me it wasn’t likely life threatening, but could it be?
Sometimes, without wanting to, we begin to imagine the worst possible scenario.
Let me stop right here! I know the importance of prayer, and I truly believe this is my best mechanism to cope with all my fears. I know, intellectually and spiritually, that God is always with us by our side.
Do not fear: I am with you;
do not be anxious: I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Even realizing this to be true, If I’m being honest, my mind was still telling me to be concerned. In my case, I was afraid of the outcome for all the reasons I mentioned.
Fear is an emotion. It’s effects can be daunting. But fear can only be overcome with truth. Finding out the basis of our fear is a start. Knowing the truth about God and the world we are all part of, I know is the best option to face our fears.
One example of fear can happen when we are in a crowd of people and we don’t know what lurks in this group. Our first thought is to imagine something quite scary. Or we are reluctant to go to a doctor’s appointment because we don’t know what the result will be, so we begin to imagine the doctor will tell us something alarming and we make the decision not to go. Or we are hesitant about asking for a promotion because we are afraid of being told no, we are not the right fit.
We learn from medical experts that feeling anxious and fearful is pretty standard for each of us. Certainly, it's not unusual to be afraid of being bitten by an animal or getting a tax bill. Fear of getting hurt and fear of abandonment or rejection and not being wanted or respected, fear of heights or falling, fear of speaking in public -- again, these are all common fears. Often, they can be terrifying.
It is when we have no control and have to rely on our inner strength that we are faced with the most difficult fears imaginable. This includes fear of dying or even fear of a long painful death. I think when we go to the source of these fears, we will learn it is the fear of the unknown.
So how do we cope when we get consumed with these fears? Only one way makes sense. God is our only source of combatting fears.
God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.
I believe God knew we would be faced with these fears and anxieties. This is why Jesus taught us to pray! The act of prayer links every human being with God. The core of the human soul overcomes all our fears and anxieties by engaging in the act of prayer.
I urge each of us to remember, (and this includes myself): God knew we will be facing fears, but God is our source to alleviate all our fears.
Copyright 2021 Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh
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About the Author
Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh (Cathy) completed her education in Special Education and English and now works as an Agent in the Insurance Industry. A mother and Grandmother, Cathy grew up in a large Catholic family and has spent the last 30 years as a caregiver for her husband, Jack. She is a cancer survivor, which inspired her to begin writing.