Fear not

by Lydia Lee

The words “fear not” are in the Bible 365 times. If you do the math, that’s one “fear not” every day of the year. And if I’m going to be completely honest here, I definitely need to hear “fear not” a lot more than once a day.

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It is hard for me to imagine a life without fear. A life without worrying about news headlines, test scores, busy schedules, and my basketball free throws.

In this Year of No Fear, I’m trying to tackle my fears, to break past them and be free. But I can’t do that alone. I need someone who is bigger than even my biggest fears. 

And who better a person than God, who created the heavens and the earth, yet knows every hair on your head and everything about you! God says:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41:10

So really, to tackle our fears, all we need to do is trust in God. We have to trust that his plans are far greater than our petty fears. But sometimes trusting that God will lead us out of fear isn’t easy. Sometimes it seems impossible. And sometimes it is just a little leap of faith that can create a wonderful blessing.

It was the night before my first basketball game. I snuggled under my polka-dot comforter and told my mom my fears. “What if I do horrible? What if I score a point for the wrong team? What if I airball my free-throws?” My mom smiled and told me that I didn’t need to worry. That God literally has the whole world in his hands and that he cares for me enough to make me and bless me. 

Just four days of practice earlier, I had had my very first basketball practice. Before that, in late December, I decided, in the spirit of the Year of No Fear, that I was going to go out for the girl’s basketball team. The other girls have been playing for a couple years already, but I didn’t let that stop me!

I remember the thought that had urged me on to try this new sport. It was: How will I ever know that I will like it unless I try it? So I tried it. And I loved it. My small leap of faith turned into an amazing blessing. 

So maybe we can quit with our what-if’s and ask ourselves: How will I ever know until I try?

Life is scary sometimes, and that’s OK. God is bigger than whatever we are facing or going through.

I still need to be reminded every one of the 365 days of year that I need to fear not. I make mistakes. I get scared. I forget to look to God. 

But when I make mistakes and get scared and forget about God, He comes to me and He picks me up and looks into my eyes and He says, “Fear not.” 

10939291_388283184673802_1441360137_oLydia Lee is a thirteen-year old girl who lives in northwest Iowa. She has a heart for others, and has visited Haiti three times. She loves mission work, theater, singing, show choir, jazz band, basketball, and writing. She loves the Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” She invites you to visit her blog, lydiamlee.wordpress.com.

The two things you need to know when you’re afraid

01:01:15_AlizaLatta_So Do Not Fear Isaiah

I don’t think of myself as a particularly brave person. Snippets of all the days and hours and experiences I’ve missed out on because of fear flash through my mind like a slow, elusive dance.

Sometimes the fear is ferocious, clawing its hand down my spine with long fingernails and unforgiving reminders of my failures and inabilities. Other times it’s small and seemingly invisible, starting as a seedling before it sprouts into a weed. By the time it grows, it doesn’t feel like fear anymore. It feels normal.

Because when you live your life in fear, that’s just what it becomes: your life.  A life choked in and strangled out, and not having fear seems almost scarier than having it because at least fear is something we can hold tight between our fingers. At least we know what fear looks like.

I don’t want to live my life afraid. Afraid of the headlines and the diagnosis and the phone call or the email or the thousand thousand other terrifying things. The small and scary things too. Writing the book, singing the song, starting a new job, making a new friend.

But there are days when fear creeps in and it’s all I can think about. I think I can’t do this because I’m too small, too unworthy, too unintelligent. I think I can’t get through this because it’s too hard, too big, too impossible.

What trumps fear? Love. Who is love? Jesus.

So these are the two things you need to know when you’re afraid, and I’m memorizing them too, branding them on my hands and heart and wall:

There is no fear in love.

1 John 4:18 

…God is love.

1 John 4:8 

So this is what I’m clinging to today. And tomorrow. God is love, and there is no fear in love. No fear, fear not, do not be afraid…