Living With a Terrorist (Goodbye Fear)
terrorist: a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.*
With the recent terrorist attacks that happened in Paris, France and Bamako, Mali (West Africa) this past week, I have found my eyes glued to my Facebook newsfeed more than ever. Now, I’m not one to get consumed with “trending” events on Facebook (or anywhere else for that matter), but when it seems like more than 85% of my friends — who are of all different education levels, races, faiths and locations — are talking about the SAME thing: I listen.
I figure if something is important enough to deeply move almost all of the people I consistently do life with online, then it should most likely move me too.
So with that, I found myself listening to the thoughts of a lot of people this past week and soon afterwards realized that I, myself, was now living with a terrorist.
Yes, you heard me right.
After reading more blurbs than I could count on the terrorist group that initiated the attacks, reading articles on the "state of emergency Americans need to be in”, and seeing numerous brawls led by friends of mine who were defending their ideals... I suddenly realized that I was being ruthlessly attacked by a terrorist that is perhaps the most dangerous of them all: fear.
With the influx of the tremendous amount of hopeless opinions in my newsfeed and my focus being solely on those posts, I accidentally let a silent killer enter my life that doesn’t belong there.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are times when I get scared and approached by fear. In fact, it happens often. You know, like when you’re cliff diving because your friends think it would be a brilliant idea to take you to do so for your birthday. (Yes, it happened. I was shaking in my suit. literally.) There’s this external fear that approaches you when you’re about to jump off a cliff and you muffle the words out of your mouth - “pshhh… get outta here” - with your best New York accent and upturned, snarled nose.
But, then there’s times when fear comes at you, covers you like a burdenous-overweight blanket and barges IN to your life: it paralyzes you at the core of who you are and tries its best to steal all of your peace, hope and joy.
See the difference? - fear knocking outside vs. fear controlling inside. Two different stances.
Somehow, last week, I ended up wearing the ugliest fear blanket and letting fear IN to my life. It’s easy for me to want to feel shame when saying something like that, but I’m just thankful that I became aware of it.
How did I become aware?
Well, major props to the Spirit of God for enlightening me. It was simple. I felt led to simply take a look at my thoughts and how I was acting when I was going about my day on Saturday. My thoughts looked like — “I’m scared to go to Monterey tonight (a local city near me) because it’s on Isis’ hit list” or “What about my friends that live in Washington D.C.? I love them so much! I don’t want to see anything bad happen.”
How was I acting? Well, I found myself anxious, consumed with doubt, and operating out of what seemed like a cloud of darkness that wouldn’t lift off of me.
Clearly, fear is active. It’s real and a product of an enemy who wants to steal from us… kill us and destroy us. (John 10:10)
Fear has an agenda.
But, — and there is a “but” — just as much as fear exists and has the power to move us, so does faith. Faith has an agenda too and is a product of a holy God that longs to see us whole, complete and in peace.
Fear and faith cannot coexist in our lives. Their authors are quite contrary in nature and where one is, the other is not.
Today I want to encourage you. Our world is undeniably changing and fear is trying its best to cripple each and every one of us. Fear longs to strip us of our identity and all the power we’re made to walk in. If you deal or have dealt with fear, welcome to the club. There’s a lot of hope for you. If I can put fear in its place regularly, so can you.
So, I want to give you some advice: here are 3 actions I do that help me beat the terrorist in my life called "fear" every time:
(1) Pray —it ALWAYS leads to peace.
Philippians 4:6-7 — "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
(2) Listen to the Truth — Opinions are fine, but when they’re laced with fear we have to stop listening. Remember how I said that fear and faith can’t coexist in our lives? With that being true, perhaps the best way to kick fear out of one’s life is to do whatever it takes to gain more faith. Well, God says that faith comes by hearing His word. Him and His word are Truth.
Romans 10:17 — "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
(3) Get moving — It’s hard to plan an attack on someone who doesn’t stay in the same place. The same is true when it comes to fear. It’s hard for fear to constantly bring you down and attack you if you refuse to quit moving towards what God is calling you forward in. Now, fear may approach you while you’re moving forward and trusting God. But, it won't consume you unless you stop in your tracks and let it. Why? Well, operating out of the trust you have in God is a sign of faith. And like I said earlier, where faith is fear cannot be.
James 2:26 — "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
I'm here for you! Have an area in your life where you're struggling or need prayer? Please feel free to leave a comment below and I'll pray for you. I hope this blog helps you today. Let’s kick fear in the face and be exactly who we’re called to be.
No more fear.
And after all that I only have two words —
or like Ice Cube would say in the movie "Friday"…
* (thank you dictionary.com)