Picturing Fear–or not!

I recently read that the number one disease that kills women is heart disease.  Stress is one factor.

Stress is a murderer.

Yet knowing that, how do I avoid what seems to be ingrained in my very nature: fear?

Fear not just of one thing or two things, but fear of all kinds of things.  It’s as though the walls of my mind are filled with masterpieces of phobias!!!

Paintings of big fears.  Paintings of little fears.  Paintings of known fears.  Paintings of unknown fears.  Paintings of fears of what could happen.  Paintings of fears of what has already happened.  Paintings of fear of fear.  Even paintings of fear of not being afraid.

What a gallery!

How can I possibly revamp this museum of terror in my head?  How can I even take down the picture of one fear when the very reason it’s hanging in my head is because I’m afraid of it?!?

Only in the artistic hall of trusting God is it possible to navigate the perils of a fearful heart.  If you picture perils as a wilderness scene with quicksand, carnivorous plants, leeches, bogs, cliffs, and vultures, trusting God is  like painting a new scene of gentle pools, good pasture, picnic blankets, exquisite flowers, oak trees, stunning birds, and speckled meadows over top (i.e., see Psalm 23).

In this spectrum, there are all sorts of brilliant colors to paint over fear and change how you think and feel.

But if artist’s masterpieces aren’t identical, you can guarantee the ways we fight fear through Jesus Christ won’t be, either.  Nonetheless, here are a few of my ideas–colors in the Light of God’s grace–to get your palette started:

  • Choose creativity.  Read a Scripture verse and reflect as you paint, write, cook, carve, sew–whatever gift God has given you.
  • Choose energy.   Take a walk, go for a jog, hop on an exercise bike, or take an aerobics class.  You can even vacuum the house!  Spend your time in prayer.  I find when I’m stressed that sometimes doing something as I pray can really help me focus.
  • Choose friendship.  Call up a wise friend, share a cup of coffee together, or meet at the park.  Your friend can pray for you, too.
  • Choose giving.  Sponsor a child, send a card, visit a lonely friend in the nursing home, bake cookies for your family, or serve a meal at the local homeless shelter.

Most of us will have to fight fear all of our lives.  But with the grace of God, the landscape of our lives can change.  Every time Satan paints a new fear into our lives, we can learn to paint over that fear with the goodness of God.  It’s not easy; it’s often not quick; but it is promised that, as a Christ-follower, we will be over-comers.

. . in all these things we are completely victorious through God who showed his love for us. (from Romans 8:37, NCV, read Romans 8 for the full picture!)

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