Who does this? Who opens up their lives, recounting past hurts and insecurities for all the world to see? Someone who knows there’s HOPE on the other side of all of it, who knows what a God-healed heart looks like, and wants the same others. My friend, Carey Scott shares a story from her latest book, Untangled, and tells how fear tried to take her out, specifically in her high school years.
What is it about high school?
Comparisons, fear of not measuring up…it’s so crazy during that season. Being on the other side it’s easy to see that it’s such a little microcosm of your whole life, yet those four years feel like YOUR WHOLE LIFE. Unfortunately, those fears planted during those early years have a way of taking root and just…staying.
In high school I was an excellent athlete, and secretly wanted to be number one on the tennis team. I had the physical talent but lacked the belief that I had what it took to achieve that lofty aspiration. And no amount of encouragement from my parents or my coach could convince me otherwise. I tried out for cheerleading and never made it. But my friends did. I’d sit in the bleachers burning with jealousy, wondering what was wrong with my herkie jump. Or maybe my classmates didn’t like me enough to vote me onto the squad.
When my college entrance exam score came back low, I never shared my disappointment. Instead I laughed it off, saying I preferred a party school over one that was academically tough. But if I had been honest, I would’ve admitted to being afraid of putting in the time and effort necessary to make a good grade. What if I did and still scored low? It would have proved I really wasn’t smart enough, and I tried to avoid any situation that might confirm my fears. As my friends packed their bags for the bigger, more prestigious schools, I smiled and waved on the outside while hemorrhaging feelings of inferiority on the inside.
Untangled, p. 22-23
Fear shouts so loudly. And so early in our lives.
When did stories of fear begin in you?
Fear twists around and stirs up all sorts of stories, some filled with horrible outcomes. Others are just subtle enough to predict certain embarrassment and failure in front of others. Every fear-filled-story wraps us up in a poisonous lie and basically extends an invitation to the enemy to falsely predict our future. All of it, through the years, keeping us from the life of freedom that God absolutely has for us.
We are in our Untangled Summer Series, and last time we looked at the three ways fear messes with us: fear for ourselves, those we love, and the unknown. We looked at several verses in God’s Word about fear, but today we’re going to zero in on just one, because I think it contains of the biggest weapon, the antidote, against the poison of fear.
So because God’s Word has been my true north and healed my tangled heart so many times, I want to
beg encourage you to sit with these words and let them wash over you as we take a look at the words of Paul to Timothy, his “true son in the faith”, speaking directly to this idea of fear:
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7
Just a little background here, because sometimes it helps…
This letter to Timothy was considered to be Paul’s very last. Paul knows he’s close to death, so he shares a strong and final charge to Timothy to not be afraid, but to do whatever it takes to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If anyone understood the meaning of hardship, it was Paul. However, Paul knew His God, and had seen and experienced too much to let fear win the day. He wanted Timothy to do the same.
I believe there are four incredible truths we can soak up here from Paul’s writings, as we stand against fear in our own lives:
#1. FEAR is not of God.
Fear of man, fear of what may come, fear of failure, no matter when it began in you…none of that is from God. NONE OF IT.
#2. God has instead given us POWER.
The word POWER here is the same one used by Paul in Ephesians 1:19-20, where it says this:
“I pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”
Exact same word, used in both places, revealing a Truth that surely breathes life into our fear-weary hearts:
The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the very power that is available for us to counter our fear.
We are not asked to stand against our fears by ourselves. The “incredible greatness of God’s power” is within us, fully available to defeat our fears. Seriously. Sit in that for just a second or two…His resurrection power at work, inside of you.
#3. He has instead given us His LOVE.
He hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, He has given us His love. His amazing, unfailing love. His love is not determined by my past or present circumstances. Not by how well I perform or how much I do for Him. He just loves me. And because of that all-encompassing love, I am able to stand against fear, because His perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:16-18).
#4. Instead of fear, He has given us a SOUND MIND.
We have SO MANY THOUGHTS every single day. So many opportunities to become fear-filled. Our thoughts need His security, His prioritizing…His transformation. Romans 12:2 says “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Girls, we have full access to His strength of mind, but we must continually ask Him to transform our thinking from the inside out.
God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.
Here’s my challenge to you:
- Write down your fears. Be honest and make a list. Then next to each one, write down God’s Truth to counters that fear. For instance, I would write “I’m afraid that I’ll never be enough for my family”, then next to it, write “God’s power is at work in me, and He is my strength to be exactly what my family needs”.
- Memorize 2 Timothy 1:7. Or find your own verse on fear here. Then speak it, over and over again, so it becomes louder than your fears…we will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony…
Sisters, let’s stand against the lie of fear. No matter where fear began in your life, God is bigger than it all and wants to be your source for strength and healing. Will you pray with me?
God, I praise you that You are with me, right now. All this fear I have inside has gripped me for so long, and I want it to be gone. Lord, you know what causes my fear, You know the root of it all. I give that fear to You and I ask you to remove it from my life. Because I trust you, I open my heart up to Your love and your healing. My fear is not of You. Instead, You have given me power, the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead. You’ve given me Your unfailing love. And you’ve given me a sound mind. Transform my mind from the inside out. Thank You that Your perfect love casts out all fear. Help me to stand strong in the Truth of Your Word today. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Today we’re over at our Untangled Women Facebook Page, our virtual coffee shop where we’ll be talking more about all this. Join us here. There is something so powerful in sharing your story and hearing from others, knowing that you are not alone.