Season: 2 Episode: 016
Summary: We’re living in a time where the world is not at peace. What’s going on right now has literally turned us upside down in a matter of days. In today’s episode, Shanda talks about healthy versus unhealthy fear, and the difference between the two. She also discusses how to find peace in the midst of uncertainty and why without God we’ll never find it.
“The only kind of fear God gives us permission to have is the fear of the Lord.”
“The fear of the Lord keeps me from living in fear.”
“You have to hold captive your thoughts so they don’t hold you captive.”
William D Eisenhower, in an excerpt from his article Fearing God, said this:
“Unfortunately, many of us presume that the world is the ultimate threat and that God’s function is to offset it. How different this is from the biblical position that God is far scarier than the world …. When we assume that the world is the ultimate threat, we give it unwarranted power, for in truth, the world’s threats are temporary. When we expect God to balance the stress of the world, we reduce him to the world’s equal …. As I walk with the Lord, I discover that God poses an ominous threat to my ego, but not to me. He rescues me from my delusions, so he may reveal the truth that sets me free. God casts me down, only to lift me up again. He sits in judgment of my sin, but forgives me nevertheless. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but love from the Lord is its completion.”
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Rita Rogers: @ritarogersco or ritarogersco.com.
Rita’s blog: The Coronavirus: To Panic or Not to Panic
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Hello my friend, and welcome back to episode 16, How to find peace in times of uncertainty.
I am interrupting your regular scheduled programming on relationships this week because I’ve dedicated season 2 to relationships. But I’ve seen and heard how so many people are anxious and fearful right now and I want to give you encouragement and help you remember a few things during this time.
Let me start by telling you I used to be a very fearful and anxious person, so no matter what we face in life, there are times we face uncertainty, and circumstances cause us to fear. I totally get that.
I’m not going to make this episode specific to the coronavirus, but let’s face it … everyone in this world is facing the same script you and I have been hearing the last little while. So many people are probably feeling the same way and for that reason alone, we should express compassion, kindness and love toward our fellow man.
Today, I want to talk first about irrational fear, rational fear and then we’ll get to the peace only God can offer when the whole world is trying to figure things out. I’ll end by giving you some verses to meditate on, write down and hold onto as we move forward.
So, what is irrational fear? We have to remember that more times than not, fear is irrational. Irrational fear is when we fear something that has no direct link to us. For example, we may fear the fact that someone we love may die of cancer but they haven’t been diagnosed. There’s no direct link to that fear because no one is sick, and there aren’t any signs of it. But because you know people get cancer more easily today, it cripples you with fear.
That’s how fear can become irrational.
I used to watch Dateline and go to bed and worry that someone was going to break into my house. We didn’t live in a bad neighborhood, I had good neighbors. I just got fearful because something got stuck in my head after watching Dateline. Guess what I stopped doing? Watching Dateline!
The healthyplace.com has a great example of the kind of conversation that takes places with irrational fear:
They say irrational fear says … You have to do this or else something bad will happen. What exactly will happen? No one really knows. Irrational fear brings chaos because there’s no explanation.
A lot of times irrational fears aren’t necessarily something we’ve experienced. I am afraid to fly in airplanes because lets face it … I don’t understand how thousands of pounds of metal can stay in the air. And on the flip side of that, I’ve never bothered to find out. When you look at facts, how many planes fly each day? Hundreds, thousands? And how many plane crashes have we heard of this year? A few? But the hyperbole behind each crash feeds my irrational fear when the statistics should actual extinguish my fear.
It’s usually not the facts that cause irrational fear anyway, it’s the hyperbole. The constant exposure to what strikes ear in the first place. For example, watching the news, Googling medical issues, anything that has to do with exposing your mind to a narrative that causes the irrational fear.
So, what’s the remedy for irrational fears? First, let me say that there are so many verses on fear, anxiety, and the mind in God’s word.
So many!! And I’m going to share some of those with you. But before I do, here’s what I do when irrational fear tries to take hold of me.
- Change the narrative. We grasp at anything to comfort us when we fear. We feel out of control and helpless. But start with the source … your mind. What are you feeding it?
I don’t watch the news anymore. I cannot stand to hear the negativity. Most of the time, I read the news. I can’t be completely out of the loop with what’s going on in our country and the world, but reading it helps me feel more in control of what goes into my head.
Here are the headlines on my phone as of the recoding of this show:
America has to prepare for a new normal as we see no end to the coronavirus.
Largest school district in America closing beginning Monday
Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus
I am not going to read that trash. I want the facts. Do you think it should be a shock that the largest school district in America is closing Monday when all of Ohio has closed school?
Hyperbole. It may be true, but the facts are exaggerated.
So, change the narrative. Go back to what God says. Remember that He knew this was coming and He knows when it ends. God knows the number of your days (Psalm 139). He knows the plans for your life (Jer 29:11). His arm is outstretched and He works on your behalf with His mighty hand (Psalm 136:12).
Get God’s good word into your head. Turn off the news for a while and make sure you know what’s going on by reading the facts of the situation.
2) My good friend Rita has a great blog post out and I’m going to link it in the show notes. She’s an ICU nurse and on the frontlines so she has a lot of great insight into the situation right now. You can also find her on Instagram @ritarogersco or at ritarogersco.com. Rita says to control what you can.
Our fears make us feel out of control. Take precautions. Be wise. Use good judgement. Unplug for a while. Eat healthy and wash your hands. There are some things we can control and some things we can’t. And when we can’t control some things that’s when we MUST trust in God.
And remember that trusting in the Lord can only happen when you’re uncertain of the outcome. Otherwise, why would we need to trust if we felt confident in ourselves, our government or anything else besides God?
So control what you can control. If it makes you feel better to stay away from crowds and social gatherings, do that. But live your life and trust in the Lord.
3) Line up every thought with the word of God. There are so many lies the enemy wants you to believe and God’s truth is what we need to hold onto.
2 Cor 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Remember that God’s knowledge and thoughts are higher than ours. He doesn’t think like we do and He doesn’t bring His thinking down to our level.
But God doesn’t control your thoughts. You have to do that. You have to hold captive your thoughts so they don’t hold you captive. That is tough when your brain is used to meditating on things that worry you. But worry causes harm on every level … mentally, spiritually and physically. God wouldn’t have told you to take your thoughts captive if it were impossible.
That is going to require you be in the word of God. I don’t want to fool you and tell you if you think on cotton candy and unicorns you’ll strengthen your mind. It’s only by the word of God you can do that. The Bible is God’s thoughts and when you read it you get those high thoughts into your mind. David, in the book of Psalms, said he meditated on God’s word and it was His delight.
I’m telling you now, those who cling to it will increase their confidence.
The next thing we’re going to talk about is rational fear.
Rational fear is good judgment and something God gave us to be able to recognize when we are truly in danger.
The dictionary says it’s a reaction to a real threat where we have to protect ourselves. I would say a better term for it is healthy fear because the words rational and fear can contradict itself if you want to get technical.
Healthy fear causes us to be cautious. It’s what makes us aware of our surroundings, helps us take proper precautions and keep us from getting hurt or putting ourselves in dangerous situations.
Proverbs 22:3 says, “The prudent see danger and take cover, but the foolish keep going and pay the penalty.”
To be prudent means acting with or showing care and thought for the future. Prudence is wise judgment and controlled actions.
Healthy fear causes us to act instead of react.
As I said before, the Bible tells us often not to fear. The only time it tells us to fear anything is when it says to fear the Lord.
Deut 6:24 says, “So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.”
The fear of the Lord is a healthy fear. It has to do with our submission to, and respect of God and His word. Fearing God keeps us from caving in to any other kind of fear.
William D Eisenhower, in an excerpt from his article Fearing God, said this:
Unfortunately, many of us presume that the world is the ultimate threat and that God’s function is to offset it. How different this is from the biblical position that God is far scarier than the world …. When we assume that the world is the ultimate threat, we give it unwarranted power, for in truth, the world’s threats are temporary. When we expect God to balance the stress of the world, we reduce him to the world’s equal …. As I walk with the Lord, I discover that God poses an ominous threat to my ego, but not to me. God rescues me from my delusions, so he may reveal the truth that sets me free. He casts me down, only to lift me up again. God sits in judgment of my sin, but forgives me nevertheless. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but love from the Lord is its completion.”
Isn’t that great?
Fearing God does not mean I am afraid of Him. Not at all. I’m not even afraid of hell, this world or what man can do to me. My fear of the Lord recognizes Him as the ultimate authority in life itself, and that means everything is subject to Him.
The fear of the Lord keeps me from fearing anything else.
Finally, how can we have the peace of God in times of uncertainty?
There’s a verse many people like to quote when they’re not at peace and it’s Phil 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
That verse is easy to quote but in the midst of trying times, it can be very difficult to feel at peace.
First, what is peace? Peace is a noun. That means it’s not anything you can do, but what you can have. One of God’s names is Yahweh Shalom, which means God of peace. He is the true source of peace in the midst of uncertainty.
The simple definition of peace, if you ask Webster, means tranquility or calm. The biblical definition is much more than that. It rests on the Hebrew root word for completeness or wholeness.
Isaiah foretold of peace coming to the nations of the earth when he prophesied in chapter 9, verse 6 that Jesus was coming and “He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The world can’t and won’t truly know peace without God. He is our source of peace. Peace is more than just remaining calm in uncertain situations. Like the scripture says, it’s a peace that doesn’t make sense. The kind of peace that keeps you from freaking out when bad news comes at you from every news channel and outlet.
If you need the peace of God, ask Him. And more than that, look to His word and know who He is. If you don’t fear Him, you won’t find peace. If you fear anything else, those things will control you and your quality of life.
Psalm 29:11 says, “The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.”
If you need strength and peace, cling to God.
And one of the verses I have memorized and cling to when I need the peace of God is Isa 26:3-4, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you and who trusts in you. Trust in God the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.”
That everlasting Rock is the Rock of Ages … Jesus Christ.
What are the next steps?
No matter what we go through, we all need to live in peace and not fear. Our minds are what spins us out of control and for that reason alone, we need to transform our minds by being in and meditation on God’s word. I can’t say that enough and I’ll say it until my last breath. If you only knew me just ten years ago … I’m not the same Shanda because God’s word has anchored me and given me strength and peace.
So, the first step is to make sure you are in the Word of God. If you are not, you will be tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine and news update. James said it … I repeated it but added the part about the news.
It will do the same for you.
Second, I have a resource for you. I wrote a devotional for Proverbs 31 ministries … spoiler alert .. they turned it down. But I love it! It’s only a one day devotional but very deep, encouraging and written around one of my favorites Psalms … Psalm 91. I will leave the link in the show notes, but all of my devotional are FREE and you can find them at shandafulbright.com/links. The great news is I just had my team make all of my devotionals available on my resource page and I do not charge for them. So check out the others while you’re there.
Third, educate yourself. Know the different between fact and hyperbole. Watch out for words that bait you into reading and/or watching. Most articles with facts won’t have a headline that looks like a magazine in the checkout aisle of the grocery store. It will provide facts and won’t be full of hyperbole.
And finally, many people need encouragement right now. Send a text saying you’re praying (and don’t forget to pray). Offer a kind word at the store, school pick up or drop off. Smile at people and speak God’s good news. Hope spreads hope. Be that for someone.
If you have any questions about this or anything else, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re worried, fearful or would like me to pray for you people contact me ALL. THE. TIME for prayer and I put them on my list and also have a group of ladies pray too.
Don’t be afraid to reach out. That’s what I’m here for. And, next week I will continue season 2 with our relationship episodes, and for as long as there is internet, social media and all that good stuff… I plan on being here for you.
Until next week, stay safe, be at peace, and remember from who your help comes from … It comes from the Lord.
I’ll catch you on the next one, my friend!