I have an irrational fear of frogs. I know they won’t hurt me but I’m still afraid of them. Sometimes we are afraid of things for no reason at all. It doesn’t matter what the truth is, we believe the lies that fear tells us. I also have a fear of big trampolines. I didn’t used to, but a few years ago my friends and I decided that we should have 7 people on it at once. Bad idea. Then we thought it would be a good idea for everyone to jump, except me, launching me into the air. Another bad idea. I landed in such a way that caused my right leg to bend in a way it’s not supposed to. It hurt so incredibly bad, just thinking about it makes me wince. I could barely walk for a week. Sometimes we are afraid of things because we have had a bad experience and we were hurt. Either way we are all afraid of things and it limits us. Fear draws a circle of safety in the sand that keeps us from taking risks. It keeps us from obeying God.
Christ calls us to love. He says in Luke, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’c; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love takes risks. There is no way to love without getting past your fears. There are so many reasons why love is something to fear: rejection, pain, past hurts, commitment and I could go on. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” God is calling us to love Him and in turn love others but when we are afraid, we cannot love at all. If we stop focusing on our fears, and just start loving, our fears will be driven out of our lives. What are you afraid of that keeps you wasting time wishing things were different? Stop feeding your fears. It causes us live our lives skirting the things that need to change. We are the only ones able to make choices to step into God’s calling and fear is keeping us from taking that step. Yes, Jesus can help lead us to the stream but it is up to us to drink.
We tend to find out our fear’s favorite food and feed it a steady diet so we don’t kill it. We carry our fear around like little pets and take care of them. We feed our fears by not facing them. The minute we realize that something is uncomfortable we run back to our safety zone. I’m not referring to our fear of spiders or heights here. Our safe place may be, staying at the same job for years when you have dreams of doing something else, not plugging into your church or going to church, staying isolated even when you want to have more meaningful relationships, not facing a conflict that needs resolving, or not taking risks even when you know God is calling you to a specific area. Fear keeps us from growing spiritually, and keeps us cozy in the routine of the familiar.
We also may become too comfortable with our sin that we are afraid to get away from it. We become stuck with an addiction, or a lifestyle, or a relationship that feels safe because it fills a momentary need, while it goes against our long term desires and dreams. We are disillusioned to believe our sin is safety. But it’s killing us. We are wasting precious time with things that hold us back, while we are afraid of the things that will set us free.
The other day I had a dream that I had a pet frog. I realized I forgot to feed it and I rushed to the kitchen to find some food. I put the frog down on the counter for a minute and as I was in a frenzy trying to feed it, the frog turned limp. Then it started to disintegrate before my eyes and completely vanished. Let’s stop feeding our fears. Let’s Stop feeding the frog.