Recently I watched a short animation* depicting what it is like living with fear. It is as though we have a little creature that sits on our shoulder which grows when we encounter what we fear, like being stuck in an elevator, speaking in public or seeing a spider. The twist in this animation is that sometimes fear protects us, like if we cross the road without fear we could be careless and get hit by a car.
Fear is not always bad or unhelpful. Normally what happens is that it grows when we are in danger and afterwards shrinks back down again. But how do you live with fear when it refuses to shrink; when it won’t stop dominating your feelings and thoughts? In my own experience it is as though the volume dial on fear was turned too loud and then got stuck there. Fear in my case is not keeping me safe; it darkens my life and strips away hope, joy and peace.
Unlike the animation I am not alone with my fear. Even though I’m currently walking through a season of uncertainty and vulnerability I shall not fear because Jesus Christ is with me (Psalm 23:4).
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.NKJV Psalm 23:4
I don’t always feel like he is with me, nor do I readily see his providence in my life but I do trust him. He often told his disciples not to fear because he was with them. Fear makes me want to either hide or fight, sulk or be irritable. Christ helps me live by what I know to be true and good, to turn up to work on time, to do my best at work, and to be kind – at work, and especially when I get home to my family. I find that it can be my family that bears the brunt of my fear so extra care is needed at home. It is hard to live with fear but not impossible. With Christ who strengthens me I am able to override my anxiety with love towards my family and my neighbour.
* Vancouver Film School – “Fears” by Nata Metlukh Published 2015