When I was a little girl, my dad would go on walks with my sister and me. There was this big dog we befriended on our walks; his name was Jasper. I remember always looking forward to seeing Jasper because he would bring us rocks, play fetch, and was just so sweet and cute! But then, Jasper’s family moved, and obviously took him with them. It was a bit sad to me, however, we continued in our walks.
A few years later, we were still taking our walks, and I was around 7. There was this one time we went for a walk with some of my nieces as well. But, as we were all walking, two large dogs escaped their yard and started chasing us. I will tell you right now that they did not want cuddles, either. As we were running, all I remember thinking was, “What if a dog catches one of us or we trip?” We ended up getting away, but it was so terrifying for me that that was the start of my fear of large dogs. Out the window did my memories of Jasper go. I did not trust any big dog that we did not already own. All large dogs were scary, vicious, and could attack. Whenever I would see a big dog, I would hide behind my parents, or deliberately walk a little out of the way to avoid them.
Growing up, I started realizing more and more what fear is, though. Fear is just a big “what if?” It is not knowing what will happen next and may lead us into thinking the worst-case scenario. “What if this dog is mean?”, “What if I do not get the job?”, “What if he does not like me back?”, “What if I fall?” So, let me ask you. What is it that you are afraid of? I want you to think about why you are afraid of it.
Because even if the next big dog is “scary” and mean, it does not mean they all are. Even if you do not get the job you applied for, you could the next one. Even if s/he does not like you back, there is someone else who does. Even if you fall, you can get back up. The idea is to get our minds off the worst-case scenarios. Turn our “what if’s” into “even if’s”.
The Bible speaks a lot about fear, and His Word always says, “Do not fear.” What is the reason given in the Bible to not fear? I find it is because the One who has all control is with us. To this day, I still get a little anxious around large dogs, however, I do not need to avoid them anymore, and some I can even pet! Oh, and guess what? I even own the largest dog I’ve owned yet!
Yes, there are many other fears I have. Things such as spiders, heights, fire, even being judged by others. There are times I still get that anxious, unsure, fearful feeling in certain situations. But I choose to let my faith be bigger than my fear. Because “even if” my “what if” happens, I can trust my God. Because of Him, I can act even if I am a bit afraid. Because when it comes down to it, God is in control. He is with me. He is strengthening me.
Do you trust Him? Next time you feel fear, think of God, His love, His power, His promise, and you won’t feel so afraid. You will be able to act amid your fear and little by little that fear just may shrink more and more.
So do not be afraid, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right handIsaiah 41:10