Dear Younger Me,
Today we’re getting serious – I want to talk to you about fear.
Before you switch off, I’m not going to tell you not to worry. You’ve heard that often enough, and I know that if you could stop worrying, you would. It’s not as simple as people make it sound, and while I’ve made some progress over the years, it’s still an ongoing battle.
I know you’ve felt condemned because of your fear. God says again and again, “Don’t be afraid,” and yet you’ve spent most of your life feeling scared, unable to stop it, and often battling it alone.
The first thing I want to say today is: there are reasons for your fear and anxiety. It’s not silly, and it’s not a sign of weakness. I can’t go into it all just now because it would be too much for you to take, but think about where the fear started. You’ve been taught not to trust your feelings, and I agree that you shouldn’t let yourself be ruled by them, but it’s not healthy to ignore them either. The fear you feel indicates that something is wrong, and it’s something that should be investigated, not dismissed. God will show you how and when.
Secondly, God cares about your fear. I think you know that on some level. He has always been the one you could talk to when it seemed there was no-one else to listen. When he tells you not to be afraid, it is not with judgement and disapproval, but with love. It is perfect love that casts out all fear, not trying to pull yourself together, and it will be a gradual journey of learning to know him more, and realising that you don’t need to be afraid because he loves you and he is with you.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NLT)
I don’t know if you’ll ever be entirely free from fear – I certainly haven’t got there yet – but the final lesson I want to share with you today is: don’t let your fear hold you back.
Courage is not a lack of fear – it is choosing to act despite the fear. There are times when you’re going to need this courage, but God is more than able to provide it.
You’ll see that some of the greatest decisions you make are those you make feeling scared and anxious, but determined to move forward anyway, and as you step out and see God’s faithfulness your courage will grow a little bigger and the fear will begin to recede.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT)
This post is part of “Dear Younger Me…” – a series for Write 31 Days in October 2019. Each day I am basing my writing on the one-word prompt provided. Today the prompt is “scared.” You can find an introduction to the series and an index of all the posts here, and you can find out more about the challenge and check out other people’s series here.