Fear is something as humans; we have to deal with once in a while. There are two responses to fear, confront or hideaway. Fear is a normal response, but how you respond to it not only says a lot about your character, it reflects what you believe.
The first time we see fear spring into action in the Bible was when Adam and Eve hid when God came callings as usual in the cool of the evening. Fear can arise from different kind of situations. Knowing that fear is a normal reaction and that you can control how you act in response, takes back the power we have handed over to our concerns.
The way we can confront fear head-on is to act in faith. Faith says despite what it looks like now, I am going to move and behave as if I am already in the bright future in the hope that things will indeed change and get better.
Fear due to Sin
So sometimes we are afraid because we have sinned and we are not sure about the consequences of our actions. We live in fear of others finding out that we have done wrong.
The best way to deal with this fear is to confess and repent. Running away makes it worse. Ask Jonah. He ran away from the task God gave him. He endangered the lives of others on the ship. Jonah ended up in the whale. It was only after all these ventures that he finally made his way to Nineveh.
Fear of the Unknown
A lot of the times we are afraid of the unknown because we are not sure what the future holds. Sometimes this fear can be so intense, that it stops you from giving your all. In fact, a lot of us get stuck where we are, not because we don’t have goals and ambitions but because we are afraid to take a step of faith and venture out into the unmarked road before us.
I have experienced this fear quite a few times in my life. Most recently, when I moved back to Lagos Nigeria after being away for 2 years. I was leaving behind my parents and the friends I had made at school and at church. I love Arizona, it was a place of healing for me. Now I was going back to the site of some of my struggles and failures.
However, I decided not to panic. Instead, I prepared my mind for going back home and decided to be positive about the move. After all, I had grown so much in the intervening years.
Before I left Arizona, I was the one encouraging my parents that I would be fine, even though I did not have all the answers.
Months later, I had family and friends tell me that they had noticed a change. I certainly wasn’t the same woman that left Alaba, Lagos in 2016. I was exhibiting peace and calmness even before I got my job.
I had come a long way in my journey. Years ago, I had made another decision based on fear. After my undergraduate studies in California, I had made a move to Nairobi, Kenya. My parents were living there at the time as missionaries. So I decided to go and live with them, back into my comfort zone I went. Looking back now, I wonder why I did not return home to Nigeria. The truth, I was afraid. It had been years since I had left Nigeria with my parents as a teenager on our second missionary journey to Zambia. In this particular moment, I failed to have the faith exhibited by Father Abraham, who left the known for the Unknown.
Fear In The Midst Of A Crisis
This fear is a normal reaction when you find yourself in an unsafe and unstable situation.
I have been in a few scary situations in my life. The most frightening was in 2007 during the post-election violence that erupted in Kenya. I will never forget for as long as I live how things quickly escalated. It was sad watching my dad relieve the Biafra day’s and remembering how he was almost killed back then. But I was even more worried about Kenyans who suffered greatly during this period.
All I could do was pray for peace to return. It helped me to see things in a much different light. It also increased my desire to want to make an impact in Africa someday.
Many of the crisis we will face will be beyond control. But you can control how you respond. Will you give in to fear or find a way to fight?
Some crisis appear all of a sudden without warning? Like being in a bus when the rains begin to fall. Only to get to a particular spot and find the road flooded and cars are stuck in the cascading muddy waters. This happened last year on my way to work. The old me would have panicked. This time I prayed first for peace in my heart, and for a miracle. After all, it was dark, and I had no idea where to go if I jumped down from the bus.
Almost two hours later, the waters receded, and we made it to Igando. I did not give in to my fear. Instead, I prayed and observed my surroundings.
As we come to a close of another week, I pray for you to receive the faith to make it through whatever situation you encounter.