What Does Fear Look Like?

This morning’s devotion talks about how being brave looks different for each of us because we are all different from one another. I think our fears are different too. There are people who get their energy from being around other people while others would run away at the thought. Some people would love the chance to hold and pet a snake while others would say, ‘No way, not gonna do that,’ to the opportunity of doing the same. Others would see some kind of insect in their home and kill it while others would try to get it to go back outside into its natural environment. The point is that all our fears are unique because we are all unique people made in God’s image.

While our being brave and our fears are unique to each of us, God gives us the same message in dealing with each. From Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua says this several times in this chapter as he is speaking to the people after Moses’ death before they were to cross into the land God was going to give them. I think he might have been remembering the time they failed at being strong and courageous forty years earlier and how that had caused all the years of wandering in the desert. So, he knew he had to say and cement that phrase to the people so they would better remember what God wanted them to do–to not let fear win.

“Be strong and courageous.” There are times when I feel like I do a great job of being brave and being strong and courageous, and there are times when I am just…not. Fear overwhelms me, and I decide that thing I wanted to try was just not worth it. I know Satan has won then, but I know God has forgiven me too because He always gives us the strength to get back up again.

I’m coming back to this after a few busy days without writing. I should have known no writing would get done, but I was…hopeful. Not only did our older son move home from college for the summer, our younger son had a full slate of work, baseball, and celebrating his senior status. I’ve been aware that my homeschool teacher status was coming to an end all semester, but time has been moving faster than I thought it would. Last night’s senior banquet cemented that rapidly approaching ending. I’m glad I know children whose lives I can still be a part of as my own children begin their adult lives.

But even with that, things will be different. I look at my sons now and think of where I was at their ages. I had my own hopes and dreams some of which have been fulfilled and some of which have not. I look back at my past and think of where I’ve failed. As my sons move into the adult world, will I only be seen as a mother or wife? Can I be seen as a woman who has her own hopes and dreams without being relegated to traditional female roles? I don’t know how to answer any of these questions, and it scares me. What will happen when my sons no longer need me? Does God have things He wants me to do for Him?

Compounding all of this are unresolved questions and pain from my past. I don’t want to face these fears. I don’t want to face thinking I’m no longer relevant because I don’t have children at home. I don’t want to face thinking that my hopes and dreams don’t matter because I’m too old. I don’t want to be forced into a role I don’t want.

But, at the same time, I want to be wanted–for relationships, for serving, for living. I want to know I would be missed if I was no longer here–not for what I do, but for who I am. I want to serve God with the gifts and talents He has given me and not be told I can’t. And all of this, the things I don’t want to happen and the things I would like to have happen is what fear looks like for me. Praying we can all remember Joshua 1:9 as we deal with our unique fears.

Praying God’s blessings on you all today!

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