Understanding Fear

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 Creation of Fear

Fear makes us feel our humanity. Benjamin Disraeli

 

God created all things for good. He created the Heavens, and saw that it was good. He created the animals and saw that it was good; He created fear and saw that it was good. Satan on the other hand, is not a creator; he created nothing with his own power and might. Satan has always taken what was meant for good and breathed deception into it. He has done the same with love, with families, with religion, with health and he has done it with fear. Today, we are going to expose Satan’s twisted version of fear, and look into God’s original design and purpose for this fear and trembling.

Fear is our greatest guardian

 

Healthy fear keeps us from doing really stupid things like falling off cliffs, and jumping into zoo compounds full of hungry lions. Fear keeps us from dangerous situations, and keeps all our limbs intact. Without fear, we would all be very brave, but very dead.

I am a Canadian, I am well aware that those cute little stuffed bears we cuddle with at night, alive, could actually rip us apart in seconds. So when we as a family travel to the Rocky Mountains and see a bear, or an elk, a moose or worse, a mountain lion- we pause, resist the urge to pee our pants, and back away slowly. The tourists, on the other hand, are often blissfully fearless. This lack of fear, due to lack of experience and knowledge, leads many tourists to a deathly encounter as they try to get a closer look, or take a better picture. This leads me to this …

“My wife and I visited your national park last September. One morning we saw some elk near the road. We stopped a safe distance away. While I made my camera with a 500 mm telephoto lens ready to take a photo of this big elk, another car appeared. The driver left his car and walked toward the elk to take a close picture. The elk seemed to become angry with this and chased him back across the road, where he hid behind his car. That’s when I took this picture. It shows clearly that your recommendation to stay at least 3 bus lengths from an elk really makes sense!” Claus-Peter Ernst, Mainz, Germany – (Parks Canada Website)

Aren’t we thankful that most of us are born with the common sense to protect ourselves from danger? God has given us a rational brain that guides us, and protects us from potential threats like momma bears, and hormonal elks. That guide is our fear and panic response.

 

Panic keeps us alive.

 

We can look at this poor tourist, with the nice red rental car, and continue to make fun of him, or we can use this as a learning tool. What’s happening to him right now is possibly a life-threatening situation and we are going to continue to use this scenario to better understand fear. His body, mind and spirit, within a split second, have all collaborated and come up with the same ambition – ”we want to survive.” With this in mind, his body has flung into full on panic mode. In this mode of panic, many things are happening all at once; his heart is pounding, he has resorted to shallow breathing, his mind has begun racing and grasping for a plan, and he is possibly questioning his mortality.

All three parts of his being, body, mind and spirit, are working in tandem to protect and survive this potential elk attack. His heart is pounding for a purpose; it is trying to flush blood to all the organs to create a wall of protection. Breathing feels shallow, and not because of lack of oxygen, but because it is actually taking in too much air, trying to fuel the brain into finding a way out. Thoughts are flooding the brain (thanks to all the blood and oxygen that have just invaded) and the brain is trying to trouble shoot and act fast. In panic, our bodies and minds are preparing for impact. This is a good thing when trouble comes; it helps us to plan fast, to act fast, and to create the best chance of survival possible.

According to psychologist and author R. Reid Wilson, PhD, your body leads itself to panic in 4 steps… It receives a threat (the elk) It interprets the threat (those elk horns are HUGE!) It decides how to react to the threat (hide behind the rental) and tells the body how to respond to the threat (panic attack symptoms).

It is important for us to understand how and why our bodies respond to panic because understanding that when we have a panic attack, our body is just trying to protect us, eases the fear of the symptoms and sensations we experience. We will touch on this later, but when we are in a cycle of endless panic and anxiety, we begin to adopt a fear of fear. We become more afraid of having another panic attack than we fear the initial trigger of the panic. Understanding that fear was created by God for our protection, will allow us to accept fear as God’s design, versus resisting and running from it. It will also bring us closer to the original purpose of fear, which was worship.

Fear was created for worship.

Imagine being a firsthand witness to the creation of the earth, stars being told to shine, blue skies forming, waters filling all the crevices in the earth, and animals being molded by the commands of God. How would you react to this unfolding masterpiece? Reflect on Noah and his family as they marveled at the rain falling from the sky for the very first time. They must have trembled as the earth slowly disappeared underneath the waves, waves that carried them far from their home and life. They were first hand witnesses to the great manifested power of God.

Think of the Shepherds, told of Jesus’ birth by a procession of melodic angels filling the created sky. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven,

And on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2: 8-14

The Shepherds were frozen in fear, perhaps some of them ran, or hid behind stones and trees. I personally would have grabbed a sheep or two to shield myself. Can you imagine their reaction to this angelic visit? We could feel sorry for the sheepherders, being jolted and shaken, but let me ask you one question. What would it say about God if they had no intense emotional response to His glory? What if their response to this heavenly display was an unimpressed “meh” My prayer is that we never become benumbed to the presence of our God. It would say to me that He is lesser than or equal to us and that is not at all the God we serve.

These Shepherds reacted to their Abba Father’s glory the way they were created to respond, in total overwhelmed awe. They trembled, sobbed, their palms were sweaty, their heads spun, their minds raced trying to make sense of it all. Their body went weak and felt faint – sound familiar? They were TERRIFIED!

What does this reaction say about God? Is He cruel? A tormenter? That is what Satan would have you believe, but the bible says that God is Love, and Paul his beloved disciple prayed that we would – GRASP how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 God’s love is so exceedingly powerful, amazing and beyond our comprehension that our human brains cannot fathom it. So much that we need prayer just to be able to grasp it!

We have always equated fear as a negative emotion, so we have lived our lives avoiding fear at all cost. How taken aback would you be if I were to say that fear is one of the greatest and most positive emotion there is? The purpose of fear is way more fundamental and glorious than just to save a limb or two. I believe that God created in us a physiological response of fear to worship Him.

True worship is a response to His glory, which is ultimately a display of His radiant love.

We are so in awe of His splendor we tremble. We are so taken aback by His majesty we fall down. We are so breathless by his beauty we cannot speak. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! Psalm 33:8

So why is anxiety crippling us into destruction, if God has created fear as a response to his glory? We have misplaced worship, that’s why.

The fear you feel is not a curse or a faulty design – it is misplaced worship. Since the separation of humanity and God, the enemy of our soul overtook fear. It became blurred and distorted, just like all of the other pleasures God intended for good. Sex turned into lust, joy turned into sorrow, life turned to death and worship turned to torment. The intense emotional responses to the overwhelming love and power of God, has been replaced with an intense emotional response to the power and intimidation of Satan.

 

Here’s an equation to help you better understand:

Fear rooted in love = emotion of AWE

Fear rooted in lies = emotion of TORMENT

Satan’s entire purpose for deceiving Adam and Eve was to gain their worship; to have them trust in his lies, instead of God’s truth. If Satan can keep us trembling at his lies, we turn our attention away from God, and respond in awe to Satan’s power. God is love, and His promises have always been to prosper us, and give us a future and a hope. Satan, through his threats and terrorizations, promises to harm us, not to prosper us, promises to kill us and destroy us and not give us a future and a hope. We tremble in torment at his supposed power. We turn our worship toward the evil one. Yet, the word of God commands us to Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Deuteronomy 13:4 (NLT)

Fear, which was intended to allow our bodies and minds to feel fully alive, causing our spirits to leap within us and fall at His feet in awe, has turned into an emotion of torment. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. He that fears has not been made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 (NIV) Nevertheless, we are not victims, we are over-comers, and we can learn to silence the lies, push back the worldly fears, and turn our worship back to God.

My prayer with this book is that we succeed in taking back what Satan has stolen, to push back against the temptation to misplace our worship and to renew our mind. The rest of this series, day-by-day, will bring you closer to this revelation and give you the tools needed to overcome. There are some lies we need to break off, some wounds we need to heal, there is truth we need to hear. The work has just begun and I hope this understanding helps you to have a response of thankfulness to God for the emotion of fear, rather than hate it. Fear is not our enemy, Satan is. Let’s commit ourselves now to seeking God’s love by opening our mind up to the truth that He has come to set us free and that starts now.

 

APPLICATION: Reflect on how you would physically and emotionally respond to the presence of God?

Copyright © Sarah Ball and saraheball.com, 2008-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ball and saraheball.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

18 thoughts on “Understanding Fear”

  1. Melissa David says:

    Wonderful insight about the misplaced worship, Sarah. Looking forward to this series.

  2. Ness says:

    Wow! Incredible insight:))

  3. The Baby Mama says:

    Thank you for Day 1 – really looking forward to Day 2. I agree totally with what you are saying – again, Satan has taken something beautiful and destroyed it. Not sure why – but I felt I have to share Joel 2:25-32 with you.

    1. virtuouswomanx says:

      Thanks so much for your word. It was very timely and I’m choking on tears as I respond to your comment. Thanks!

  4. Leah says:

    “Misplaced worship”: That has never crossed my mind, but I can see it very clearly now. Thank you!

  5. Sonya says:

    Just finished journaling for Day One and then did a little dance of excitement, “I made it through day one!”

    This is going to be great.

    Expecting my life to be changed. Forever. For His Glory. Amen!

    1. virtuouswomanx says:

      You’re awesome! Dancing is great for the soul! lol

  6. Heather says:

    Excited finished day 1 , its ok to go on to day 2 ?

    1. virtuouswomanx says:

      You work at your own pace! I’m so glad you are working through this. Blessings!

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