I’m afraid. Always. Even if there’s nothing to fear, I’ll find my way to it! My shaky self-confidence is the well-spring of much of my anxiety–making me particularly susceptible to stings of criticism and rejection. (Ironically, divine intervention led me to my career as a college instructor. I can’t bring myself to read “ratemyprofessor.com!”) Mostly, I fear various forms of truth—especially facing and confronting negative truths about myself.
But, here’s my greatest accomplishment I’ve learned to do it afraid. I’d rather “drown” than stay stuck in my boatload of fears! I love the Apostle Peter. I love his impetuousness and his zeal. He was also the only disciple courageous enough to get out of the boat and walk on water toward Jesus Christ. Ok, so Peter sank…his courage was still admirable. At least Christ caught him before Peter completely went under—that’s comforting, right? Speaker, Joyce Meyer reminds us that Jesus Christ is not found in our boatload of fears. Rather, He’s out on the water and beckons us to step out and walk toward Him. Most likely, we’ll feel increased anxiety as we “water-walk,” and like Peter, we’ll probably sink a few times along the way. On the other hand, as with Peter, Christ will not let us drown.
Peter’s fear of persecution also resonates with me. As an Apostle in Christ’s inner circle, he was an obvious target. And even though Peter fell short a few times, he eventually transcended his fear of persecution. Following Christ’s crucifixion, he spent the rest of his life bravely preaching to the Jews. After a particularly vicious public beating, the scriptures tell us how Peter left the village “rejoicing that [he] was counted worthy to suffer shame for [Christ’s] name” (Acts. 5:41). Finally, years later, he was crucified (some sources say he hung upside down on a cross). All of this, from a guy who had previously denied (three times) even knowing Jesus Christ.
“Fear not,” is an oft repeated phrase throughout the scriptures. Perhaps the Lord is not talking so much about a feeling, but rather a conscious decision. Joyce Meyer makes a valid point when she says, “You can feel the emotion of fear and still ‘fear not.’ The scriptures don’t say ‘shake not, tremble not, sweat not’….they say ‘fear not.” You can do a lot of things while you’re shaking” (joycemeyer.org).
I would imagine that as we examine our individual lives, we’ll find fear to be the consistent, recurring theme which undermines our relationships with ourselves, with others, and with Jesus Christ. Moreover, fear steals our joy.
Don’t let fear keep us from our destiny,
P.S. If you still can’t get out of the boat, row ashore and try wading into the water—feet first!