“I’m no longer a slave to fear.
I am a child of God.”
© 2014 Jonathan Hesler, Joel Case, Brian Johnson. Bethel Music.
I do not like spiders. At all. Spiders have the capacity to arrest my attention simply by entering the room. They are captivating, for all the wrong reasons. When I see a spider, I cannot relax until the thing is caught and either escorted politely outside or slaughtered mercilessly. Preferably the latter.
Spiders are not the only things in this world that can rule us through the inducement of fear. Fear is all around us in many forms, present on social media, on TV, in our friends and in our minds. From FOMO (fear of missing out) to phobias, from everyday anxieties to fear of death, fear is constantly inspiring worry in us, inviting us into a state of disquiet.
Fear also whispers in our ears about the things we cannot do. It often reminds me of my shortcomings. When I am sitting down to do my creative work, fear walks into the room and sits down beside me. “Don’t bother,” it malevolently counsels. “You won’t get it right. Even if you do, people will only think less of you. You’re better off doing something much safer.”
If I try to ignore fear and I persist with the work anyway, fear ups the anti. “What are you doing?! This is going to end in disaster. You’ll never live this down!” The icy words freeze my brain and grip my stomach, twisting it into knots. Fear knows it has me now. It delivers the crushing blow. “You have nothing to offer. Other people can do this far better than you. Your work is meaningless.” Terror settles over my chest like a concrete slab, taking my breath away, filling me with paralysing horror at my own inadequacy.
At this dismal stage, the temptation is overwhelming to give up. To abandon the work. To play it safe, rather than try something new. To withdraw from the adventure, open a second-hand bookshop and live a quiet, unobtrusive life. If it weren’t for God’s supreme grace, I might well give up then and there.
Thankfully, there is God’s supreme grace. At times of crippling fear, the Holy Spirit steps in and slowly, methodically, begins to counter fear’s arguments.
“Steph, you are mine.”
“I have chosen you.”
“I love you so dearly, so fiercely, I will not let anything get in the way. Not even fear.”
“Arise, woman of God. Stand firm on my grace.”
The Holy Spirit knows me well. He knows what I need to hear. He comforts me and dusts me off and stands me on my feet again. He reminds me of my identity in Christ: that I am a child of God. This identity trumps the threat and intimidation that comes from fear, because Christ has overcome fear. Knowing who I am in God – knowing the enormity and intimacy of His perfect love – stands me in complete security.
This freedom, this room to breathe, comes from knowing Jesus. It frees me to take creative risks. It unchains my writing hands, unlocks my musician’s fingers, lubricates my singer’s vocal chords. It is life and air and joy to me. Necessary both for creativity and for living, Christ’s love equips me – for killing spiders and overcoming fear.
“So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:7 (NIV)
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 (NIV)
What thing has fear stopped you from doing? Where do you need freedom today?