“What I have learned from Covid ……. the superhuman power of FEAR.
I always viewed fear as a both positive and negative motivator. My eyes have been opened. If I wanted to destroy a person, their family, their livelihood, their future, their nation I would use fear.”
~ Linda Toupin.
I woke up this morning to this post by one of my favorite and most influential mentors. Openly, I was surprised that she had previously viewed fear as positive (and relieved to hear her heart has changed on this stance).
I have learned a lot about fear over my life and what I can confidently say is, fear keeps us from our best self. It cripples us. Paralyzes us. It stops our brains from working and puts us in reaction vs response mode. It causes health issues and, in some cases, can even kill us. As a Christian, I believe fear is the tool Satan uses to keep us from living and experiencing all the blessings God has planned for us.
We are told Satan can’t change God’s will for us, but we can. So, what’s the best way to get to us? Fear. (and fear that is usually based on lies)
- Don’t quit the job you hate because what if you never find another one?
- Don’t donate that much money to that cause because what if you are short on cash next month?
- Don’t say “yes” to trying that new business because what if you fail?
- Don’t speak up against the wrong you see because what if everyone turns on you?
- Don’t break up with him/her even though they treat you poorly because what if you never find anyone else?
I wonder how many of us (myself included) have missed out on huge blessings simply because we were afraid?
The word “fear” comes from a number of root words but the one I find most interesting is from the Old Norse word far which means, “harm, distress, deception.” DECEPTION.
Fear is used to deceive us. (From a biblical standpoint Satan is referred to as “the deceiver of the whole world” Rev 12:9) Fear stops us from thinking logically and rationally about a situation. And it has dire consequences.
Some might argue there is “healthy fear.” We are afraid to stick our hand into a fire, (keeps us from getting burned). We are afraid of heights, (keeps us from falling). We are afraid of creepy crawling things, (keeps us from getting bit or stung). I would venture to say that’s not the same fear we are talking about. Are those examples of fear or simply examples of common sense? I don’t want to get burned, fall, or stung, so my brain logically tells me …hey don’t do that.
That’s entirely different than my body being in a constant state of fear with unnecessary adrenaline running around throwing off my nervous system, switching my brain into my non-rational flight or flight mode, and disrupting my immune, endocrine, and nervous system (and that’s just to start).
No wonder why Satan uses fear to cripple us. It weakens us mentally, physically, emotionally and most importantly spiritually. The famous saying, “faith and fear can not exist together” now makes more sense. We can’t hear God when we are deaf with fear.
What’s worse, is most of us use fear daily to control those around us. I admit I currently use the fear of losing her cell phone to “control” my daughter. (Things like, “If you don’t do XYZ you are losing your phone for a week!” may or may not be heard in my home on a regular basis). Maybe a boss uses fear to control his/her employees. Or a teacher uses fear to get his/her students to pay attention. And certainly fear is used in intimate relationships at an alarming rate in our country (https://ncadv.org/statistics)
Today’s world surrounds us with fear. Fear that is being used to manipulate and control us. (long before Covid, the election, or 2020). The daily news, in my humble opinion, is the greatest source of fear-feeding. I recently posted that waking up and looking at the news is like waking up and asking, “What’s all the horrible stuff going on in the world today?”
Now, I’m not saying we should live in ignorance. I am saying we need to balance that fear with faith. Faith in humanity, in each other, in ourselves and in God. For every scary fear-filled news story there is one of hope, love and faith. (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/)
I wonder what would our lives be like if we didn’t live in fear? If we truly stepped into faith every day? Would we walk haphazardly down the street into oncoming traffic? Swim in the ocean when the red flags are up? Start collectively telling off our bosses? Probably not. Faith doesn’t mean we are stupid. In fact, it’s the opposite. We are told “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7). Some versions translate sound mine as “good judgement” or “self control.” All things I want.
God tells me he has plans for me …plans to plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future, (Jer 29:11 and the verse I claimed for my daughter during her cancer treatment). And guess what? That’s His promise to YOU too!
So we get to choose. Will we stand in the TRUTH of God’s promise to us or the FEAR of Satan’s lie to us?
I’ve lived through fear. Fear my ex-husband was going to kill me. It wasn’t “perceived fear” or “fake fear” it was real logical fear of a man who graphically described to my daughter how he planned to kill me. I slept with my windows locked, security system on and adrenaline running through my body 24/7. I also experienced “real fear” when the doctors told me my daughter probably was going to die and had one of the lowest cure rates in the childhood cancer world. And even recently another “real fear” I am not ready to go public with just yet. So yes, I get fear can be “real.”
But, here’s the thing. Fear is also a choice. Faith is a choice. And like resiliency, it’s a muscle we can exercise and build. It was much easier for me to move from fear to faith with my daughter’s cancer (like a 2-minute turn around!) because I was already building that muscle super strong during my divorce. Now, was it a one-time decision? I regretfully admit, no. There were more times than I can count where I was dealing with her cancer and my ex-husband endangering her life that my “lizard brain” took over, I went into full reaction mode, and would physically shake with fear. Now, looking back, I realize how much power I gave away in that reactive response. And how much of a foothold I gave the devil.
I’ve seen the power I have when I choose faith instead. The energy around me physically changes. My mind becomes clear. My heart peace filled. My feet grounded. I feel strong, capable and competent. That is the power of faith. That is the power of a God-filled spirit moving through me…or you.
As we move into what will probably one of the most difficult seasons our country has faced in many years (between Covid, the election, the reopening or non-opening of schools and a looming financial crash) we each have a choice on how we will wake up every morning and face our day. We will choose faith or fear? (Remembering that fear is usually based on lies, deception, and manipulation.)
It is up to each of us to choose wisely.