Time-Released Fear

When it came to matters of the heart, each of the women in my family passed along godly wisdom even when we didn’t realize that’s what they were doing. In my mother, I saw faithful strength mixed with a hilarious sense of humor. In both grandmothers, I witnessed sweet acts of love deliciously blended into their homemade delicacies. 

Yet, when it came to their physical hearts each of them had issues. Heart attacks and congestive heart failure ultimately got the best of them. There were warning signs. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a predisposition to diabetes are common on both sides of my family. Each of these develop slowly and steadily with few or no symptoms. Unless, a person has their blood checked, they may never know they have a problem until it overwhelms them. I guess you could say these maladies come in capsule form; they are time-released. 

Because of the fall in the Garden of Eden mankind has swallowed a fear pill that’s been toxic for many God-fearing, Jesus-believing, Spirit-filled Christians. God knew it. That’s why He spent over 300 times telling even His most faithful kids, “Do not FEAR!” 

We know we’ve swallowed some time-released fear when, over time, we become guilty, insecure, criticized, abused, or a hundred other things. If ignored, fear can grow to gargantuan proportions and manifest itself in all sorts of ways. We fear we aren’t good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough – but we’d never say it. We fear losing our jobs, our children, or our mates – but we keep that quiet. We believe all the lies and doubt the truth – yet we act as if we’ve got it all together. If we don’t keep a check on our fear level, it can get the best of us physically, mentally, and spiritually.

After killing an Egyptian who was mistreating a Hebrew, Moses buried the body in the sand. Realizing he’d been found out, he became fearful of Pharaoh and ran away to Midian. Moses then spent 40 years shepherding sheep – plenty of time for his fear to grow into insecurity. When God called Moses from a burning bush to be the one to free the Israelites, he fearfully uttered the question we’ve all asked at one time or another, “Who am I that I should … ?”

Fear manifested as guilt can cause us to run away. Fear displayed as shame, anxiety, or depression can also cause us to lace up our running shoes. But, just know this, God knew Moses’ fear, and He still went after Him. Moses was worth the chase, and so are you! 

The apostle Paul was threatened, mocked, stoned, left for dead, hungry, cold, shipwrecked, and snakebitten. He had every right to be fearful! Unless you look at Scriptures closely, you might focus on his courage and miss his fear. But, missing his fear would turn him into someone he never claimed to be.  

Paul had grown up with a heart that beat passionately for God. Yet, his strict religious world pushed him toward perfection. The Law of Moses and the 600+ rules added by the rabbis created a rigid code that no man could keep perfectly. Even after Paul came to believe in Jesus and accepted His grace, that capsule of fear he’d swallowed early in life continued to slowly release strong doubts about his effectiveness. 

In Corinth, the Jews argued and contradicted Paul so intensely that he became exasperated and shook the dust off his feet as a sign that he was moving on to the Gentiles. Yet, even after converting many Corinthian Gentiles, he still had doubts in the still of the night, just like we tend to do. “And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you and no one will attack you to harm you for I have many in this city who are my people.’” (Acts 18:9-10 ESV)

God knew how Paul felt, so He showed up during the night to relieve his fears. Perhaps, Paul had been staring at the ceiling and saying to himself, “What if I’d said it differently or not said THAT at all? Maybe I shouldn’t have talked so long. Maybe I should have talked longer? Was I right to shake the dust off my feet and move on to others who would listen?” 

Our sweet and understanding God knew that Paul needed other Christians around him to encourage him and support him. Don’t we all need some like-minded people to love us through our fears?

It delights me to know that Paul could humbly admit his fear. In a letter to the Corinthians, he told them how insecure he had been. “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaimingto you the testimonyof God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in FEAR and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of menbut in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NLT, emphasis mine)

When it comes to issues in our physical hearts, there are doctors to help, life changes that can be made, and medicines to take. When it comes to matters of our spiritual hearts, we have the Great Physician who is willing and able to calm our fears. Our best life change happens when we surrender those fears to the Holy Spirit. God graciously blesses us with good friends who become good medicine for our fearful hearts.

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

0FFD8643-97EC-4594-88BF-76ADBA79C786

The Greater Miracle

By Donna Jackson | June 11, 2024 |

I am taking a page out of Network TV’s playbook this summer. Since I will be working on a special writing project for the next few months, I’ll be rerunning a few of my past blog posts here on Perfection Road. I hope you won’t wander away. I’m excited about this new project and anxious…

Wearing the Dust of Surrender

By Donna Jackson | May 14, 2024

Many of us have difficulty believing how much God loves us because of unhappy circumstances and thoughtless people who made us feel unlovable. Feeling unloved shoots holes into our complete surrender, causing our souls to become weary and restless. That’s when we painstakingly fashion idols of unbelief by taking our eyes off God’s love and…

Change Your Water to Wine

By Donna Jackson | May 7, 2024

A friend recently asked me which of my blogs is my favorite. Without hesitation, I named two of them. The one you are about to read is one of them.  I enjoyed looking at Jesus’ first miracle from an unexpected angle. Perhaps you, too, can identify with being filled with the traditions of men only…

What’s Going On, God?

By Donna Jackson | April 30, 2024

If only Peter and his six buddies could have fired up the speakers in his fishing boat and played a Gaither song, perhaps their bewilderment after Jesus’s death and resurrection would have been eased. Instead, Peter did what many of us do when our understanding becomes cloudy; He returned to what was familiar. He and…

Does Your Passion for Jesus Show?

By Donna Jackson | April 23, 2024

Does your passion for Jesus show? Our prayer team gathered in a small room Sunday to pray for those leading the worship service and those in attendance. We prayed for the Holy Spirit to penetrate hearts and change lives. I’ve come to love listening to each of those passionate prayers. Heartfelt prayers spoken with such…

Where Do We Start?

By Donna Jackson | April 16, 2024

Mark Keathley’s “Dance of Grace” painting hangs in our living room. It depicts a circle of six children playfully dancing with Jesus. I can almost hear the uptempo music and the children’s laughter whenever I pause long enough to soak in that moment. Jesus’ smile says it all. He seems to be having a most…

Please Don’t Stop!

By Donna Jackson | April 2, 2024

If you had been Adam or Eve, how would you have felt seeing the flaming sword and mighty cherubim blocking your way back to the Garden of Eden?  Knowing they had listened to Satan and wrongly chosen to do things their own way removed Adam, Eve, and all of us from the joy of living…

The Grief Bear

By Donna Jackson | March 26, 2024

If you stop in at a ranger’s station in any national park, you will hear warnings about bears. You will be reminded that bears are massive hunters and keen trackers with razor-sharp claws. Their color and size depend on what part of the country you choose to hike through. Unless they are foraging for food…

Holy in an Unholy World

By Donna Jackson | March 19, 2024

Getting a fresh taste of God’s word fills and thrills my soul. Every year, I enjoy reading from a different translation as I travel from beginning to end. This year, I chose the Day-by-Day Chronological Bible. It highlights how God has written the most fascinating story that includes us all. Each daily reading begins with…

Holiness 101 in the Checkout Line

By Donna Jackson | March 12, 2024

We spent this past weekend in Auburn. Since the rain had moved out and our place was within walking distance of Walmart, I laced up my tennis shoes to get what we needed. With our topic of holiness simmering unconsciously on the back burner of my brain, God decided to create a teachable moment for…