Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash
How many times do we read “Fear Not!” in scripture?
Something like 360ish times - one for every day of the week as the saying goes.
I’m stipulating this because I haven’t actually counted every single time.
However, one Christmas some friends and I printed every single “Fear Not” scripture onto sheets of paper and cut them into Fortune-Cookie-sized slips.
We rolled them up, tied gold twine around them, and hung them on our Christmas tree at work.
Imagine my surprise when, during the Friday, March 13, 2020 edition of Celebrate Recovery’s weekly Facebook Live session, the founding pastor of CR talked about fear and said something like, “If you’re not afraid, what’s wrong with you?”
This isn’t a direct quote from John Baker, but it’s close.
His son and his wife probably need chiropractic adjustments because they turned their heads so quickly to look at him.
Then I remembered I Peter 5:7.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
So that means anxiety is a part of life.
And we who are believers have a place to put our anxiety!
Baker clarified the comment by saying, “But fear shouldn’t control us! - and so I ask you not to take this as a cue to panic or to rationalize continued panic.
In other words, he’s saying it’s perfectly normal to be afraid. We’re facing great unknowns to our health and wellbeing, our jobs, the economy, people we love, and for the universe.
Then Baker gave us what I think are some super helpful tips for what to do anytime we’re afraid.
What to do WHEN we are experiencing fear or anxiety
- Admit it.
- Decide to not let fear control us, even as we make necessary modifications to our lifestyle and behavior to keep us safe.
- Give your fears to God - and understand this is a process. It’s not a sign of a “weak faith” if you find yourself giving your fears to God over and over. Weekly, daily, hourly, and even moment-by-moment.
- Walk away from TV.
- Use the additional time on your hands to pray and to read God’s Word.
- Continue to serve - however you can. When we get outside ourselves and plug into the needs of others, our brains have a tough time clinging to fear. Because we’re finding gratitude through relationships.
For those of us in the Celebrate Recovery community - or other 12-step programs - Baker encourages us to stay in contact with our sponsors and our accountability teams.
This applies to all of us.
In my life, I’ve been a champion of keeping my emotional distance, even in close quarters.
Now’s the time for all of us - while we’re practicing safe distances physically - to grow closer emotionally.
It’s okay to say out loud to someone you care about, “I’m scared.”
My mom and I canceled a quick day trip to Central Arkansas that had been on the books for weeks.
We love and cherish the family members we planned to dine with.
An hour before we were to depart, we both talked through the anxiety we felt.
It took a while, but I figured out my biggest fear was having to stop at a convenience store for a restroom break along a busy interstate where people were traveling cross-country.
By the time we talked through her concerns and mine, we had decided not to go.
Please understand that fear did not control us.
We talked through anxiety.
And we made our decisions based on information and perspective.
So far, every single COVID-19 case in Arkansas has been brought in from out of state or contracted by someone who came in contact with an Arkansan traveling from out of state.
It made sense, then, for us to avoid public places where people from out of state are likely to be and have been.
Talking through our fears helps us make rational choices.
Tomorrow, we’ll offer some perspective on where to find accurate information, even when we don’t trust governmental or media institutions.
Please share this with your loved ones who may be struggling.
We’re sharing ways to navigate fear and change, and talking through how to find reasonable happiness in the midst of a pandemic.
Thanks so much for reading.
P.S. Hit reply to this email with questions or things you’re struggling with. I’ll be glad to hop on a 1:1 call or even create an article based on your idea - but only if you request it.