Just a few mornings ago, I was listening to Jen Hatmaker's audio book Of Mess and Moxie as I walked the Atlantic beach. Hurricane Irma was still dancing in the distance, and I was trying to figure out lots of details: evacuation possibilities, canceling travel plans, where to get gas and water, whether or not to pick up my daughter from college. The usually peaceful walk was being marred by my ADD mind of distressful random concerns.
But in her "I've got your back friend" kind of way, Jen gently spoke into my earbuds, "We are not to be consumed by a spirit of fear."
And then, she said something that made me tear up a little bit, "Remember...fear is a liar."
She's right, you know. Fear tells us crazy, horrible things. Fear whispers into our deepest insecurities and shouts that we are never, ever going to make it through whatever trial is ahead. But God tells us something else.
Over and over again, we read, "Fear not" in the Bible. In fact, it's there more than 365 times - that's one for every single day of the year.
I don't know what your fear is today. Maybe you're like me, watching weather reports and fretting. Maybe you're worried about a health issue or unpaid bills. Maybe you're worried about your kids - even grown ones off at college.
It is common to us all. Everyone of us will face those days when the fear is oppressive and close, and it is hard to release the tension in our shoulders.
To you (and to me), I say, Take a deep breath. This is not the time to let your worries take control. As Jen says so well, don't stand on your toes letting yourself rise into the whirlwind of doubt and fear. Instead, "flatten your feet" into what you know and believe to be true.
So, in case your heart, like mine, can use a little refresher course on the anti-fear thing right now, here are some truths that I cling to when troubles threaten to undo me:
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and hep you; I will uphold you with my right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
"Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. (Psalm 46:2)
The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, "Do not fear; I will help you." (Isaiah 41:13)
Be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:8)
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, 1 John 4:18
Sending love to all of you this Sunday.