I was reading my Twitter list today and I saw something that inspired this blog entry. Max Lucado wrote on his Twitter: "Fear may fill our world, but it doesn't have to fill our hearts." As I read that it I sat there and it got me thinking? Is fear really healthy or is it a bad thing? What kinds of fear become a hindrance and what kinds of fear are good?
We all have times where we are afraid. Our bodies are created to help us during times of fear. It's called our sympathetic nervous system and it is what controls fight or flight. And being afraid of some things is healthy. For example: Being afraid when walking in dark places that are uncertain or look sketchy - it heightens your senses and makes you more aware of what is going on - this can mean the difference between being someone a predator picks to attack or being a person they realize they shouldn't mess with and keep going. Being afraid of food poisoning - is a healthy fear to have - after all if any of you know someone who has gotten food poisoning - you know it is something you don't want to experience - EVER!!! And yet, fear can sometimes be debilitating.
Fear becomes bad when you allow it to paralyze you to the point where you lash out at others instead of facing your fears. It becomes bad, when it means you don't leave your home and live life. While not everyone feels the need to move to different places it doesn't mean you can't visit new places and try new things. When you allow fear to paralyze you to the point that it drives who you are, then fear becomes a bad thing.
As a teen our youth pastor, Tom McNanny (sorry if I misspelled it) gave a sermon about moving out of your comfort zone and how it is important for us to move out of our comfort zones in order for us to grow spiritually. That doesn't mean you have to move away from your family, but it could be something as simple as finding a new church, because the Lord lays it on your heart that it is time to move in a new direction. It can be something as simple as going out and meeting new people and making new friends and letting God use you as a means to plant seeds for Him to harvest later. These all seem like small things, but they can make some people incredibly uncomfortable. I have a friend who has been hurt repeatedly and it has come to the point where she refuses to move out of her comfort zone and is slowly becoming paralyzed by fear and anxiety. This is not God's plan for her - I know this and on some level I know she does too, and yet it has come to the point where it became necessary to part ways.
I don't always like change, I have certain things a certain way and I like to keep them as they are. But moving and leaving everything behind means you have to sometimes let go of those things you love to keep and jump into the life God is daring you to lead. I am not a youth pastor - I have a heart for teen girls - I know how tough it is to be a teenager and a girl. But there is a need and I feel the Lord calling me to take in some of the teens under my wing and hopefully with time and God's strength, we will slowly see our youth group being to grow. All I can do is let God use me as He sees fit and hopefully that will see more teens come.
Fear becomes bad, when we don't grow and when we refuse to let God call us out of our comfort zone and keep him in a box. Can we still grow spiritually? Of course, we can, but how much will it hinder us if we don't allow him to shake up our lives and embrace some changes - no matter how scary? And how far will it limit what He has planned for us, if we balk at what He is calling us to?
Thank you for spiritual leaders who are willing to put themselves out there. Thank you that even when we fight it, you still encourage us to move outside of our comfort zones. Help us Lord, to die to self and to embrace the challenges you give to us and send our way. Help us to remember that You are the one in control and not ourselves. In these things we pray, Amen.
Have a good weekend.
Love in Christ,