“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
John 14:27 (NRSV)
In my Bible reading today, I ran across the phrase “do not be afraid” in five different passages, across Old and New Testaments. It seemed to me an odd theme, as I do not follow a set reading schedule or plan nor do I have a daily devotional I cling to (why? Because I’m a rebel, that’s why).
So, I got to doing some research on how often the phrases “do not be afraid” and “do not fear” appear in the Protestant Bible. A Google search gave me an exact count: 103 times in the NASB version. Of course, the same message can be worded various ways… but the phrase “do not be afraid” occurs precisely 46 times.
That was enough for me to reflect upon the question: what am I still afraid of?
Yes, I had to ask myself this question, because I do not feel afraid. I do not have issues with anxiety (Thank God for that, because I totally did as a teen…), I do not toss and turn at night… and yet, here I’m being reminded, repeatedly to not be afraid! What’s up with that, God?
Admittedly, I am still afraid of things. While fear no longer rules me, and I do not feed it when it raises it’s ugly head, I’d be a liar if I told you I am entirely without fear.
Why bother unearthing buried fears? I don’t know the why… there is something in me that is indeed fearless and desires to shoot its fiery arrows into the shadowy creatures still in residence within. A buried fear may not be dangerous now, but it could put me in danger in the future if some external event touches upon it during a time of weakness.
Anyway, I made a mental list of all the things that poured into my awareness upon asking myself that question. I fully intend to bop all of my remaining fears over their proverbial heads as I have time and opportunity this week.
This all might seem silly to y’all, but I’m realizing how much easier it is to reflect upon fears when we are not acutely aware of them. It’s far less effort to overcome a fear cowering and removed from present experience than it is to vanquish a fear well fed and currently in control of our emotional state!
So, what are you afraid of? Nope, scratch that last question, this one is more to the point: what do you need to no longer fear?