Peace in Phobia…
Fear. When I think about the word or idea of fear, my thoughts don’t automatically go to the default ideas of what people are afraid of.
Phobias and their specific uniqueness abound. There’s aerophobia…the fear of flying. Then there’s arithmaphobia…the fear of math (pretty sure I had that one all through High School). There’s the more well known one’s like arachanaphobia (the fear of spiders). And then lesser known ones like chronomentrophobia. The fear of clocks. Which is…weird.
But when I think of fears—my mind goes to things that center more on our issues of personhood. Questions of, “what will people believe about me,” or “am I normal?” Questions that foster the fears of being accepted or not. Or maybe fears about what others would really think about me if they knew me. Of course, there’s other fears centered on other things. Things like the health of a family member or fears about what might happen tomorrow or fears about events and such. But honestly, I don’t think I’m unique in the idea that most of my admitted fears are personhood focused.
That being said, the Apostle Paul clearly sends a message about our fears. Philippians 4:6-7 states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Most of us can’t simply stop being anxious or fearful. But what we can do is to focus the energy we spend on being apprehensive somewhere else. Paul suggests taking our fears to God in the form of prayer and practicing being thankful. By regularly practicing these two behaviors, we can experience Christ’s peace, which will guard our emotions and our minds.
What’s Paul getting at? I think redirection. Many times when filled with fear—specifically fear of what others might think of us—I think we tend to turn to sources of validation. Many times, that’s found in things or people that promise peace or validation, but in the end, they’ll never replace the peace Jesus can give.
People who find themselves rooted in Christ discover that their fears are alleviated by the fact that the one we put our faith in was and is powerful enough to beat even death. If Jesus can conquer death, surely, He can conquer what causes us fear and bring much needed peace. May you experience the grace and peace of Jesus today as His beloved.