As a person dealing with mental health issues, I often find teachings of the bible as a “you should do this and you should do that” or else you’re not a Christian. When I am faced with should and should nots, I feel a pressure to conform or else. Often times I find that preachers and teachers use a fear approach to get those to convert to God’s ways. In my struggle with depression and anxiety the people that have used fear are all about control. I am not saying that those who use fear don’t have the right motives behind what they are doing, but what I think is important to know is when you are dealing with people who suffer with constant fear already, adding more fear only alienates you more from being able to help them.
The Bible has 365 references that say, “do not fear”. One for each day of the year. Yet, the Bible also says to, “fear the Lord”. At first, I found this to be contradictor to each other. What is it that God is really trying to say? If you want my honesty, here it is…fearing God with every decision I make and every turn that I take has often led me to become a pile of shaking, nausea, don’t want to leave the house, and don’t want any responsibility in making any decisions kind of mess. Because the truth is, I do fear the Lord. I fear if I don’t act a certain way, I will lose my witness. If I don’t behave a certain way, God will take me out of this world and define me as useless. I fear if I teach and misquote anything, then I am wrong and God will be angry and will punish me with some life altering event to teach me a lesson. I fear if I can’t use my talents, God will take them away from me. I fear if I am not a good enough mother, wife, daughter, Christian, (virtuous women) I will suffer great lose and heartache and go to hell. These are things I have heard in sermons all my life and hear in everyday conversations about people who have suffering on a daily basis. It is all their fault because they have not feared and listened. They should have done this or should have done that. Another great truth is I cannot live this way and leave my house, let alone my bedroom. The constant fear and pressure to conform and act a particular way is not a reality I can or want to live in. So, how do I move forward?
First, I gain new ground, new perspective. When I read and study my Bible fear is not a tactic, I believe, God wants us to use to control others or ourselves. To control how we think, how fast we move toward a decision, how we should operate our daily lives. This I am most certain of, because if this was how God wanted my life to be controlled then it would come with great joy and happiness, because I know that when I am in God’s will, then I am experiencing true joy in my life. If I am not experiencing that joy and happiness then what I am doing and how I am processing is not in God’s will. So, what is the opposite of fear? LOVE! That is right, love is the opposite of fear. Not faith, not performance, not a should and should not list, but love.
1 John 4:8 “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
I encourage you to go read the whole chapter of 1 John 4, and see how important love is to God. I believe that it is the most important thing to God. But these two verses stuck out to me. You see if God is love, and perfect love casteth out fear, then we can know that God does not desire us to live in fear of Him, but in awe of His love! God does not want us to fear what this life holds for use, because His love is stronger than anything else we may experience or go through. Ya’ll love is the key!
God create you! He loves you as you are. There are not stipulations to His love. It is free and all we have to do is accept it and believe it. Think about the love you have for someone. I think of the love I have for my children. There is not a battle I would not walk through, a sickness I would not take from them, time I would not give up to spend with them, sacrifices I would not make to let them know how much I love them. Now multiply that by 100. This is what God’s love would do for you. It will sacrifice his only son to be crucified for your wrong doings, it will never leave you nor forsake you no matter what, he will never hide from you, he will never forget you. Just like Elisha he will send out an army to rescue you from your darkest night. There is no distance He will not come to help you. God’s love is a love we cannot comprehend and will never find in this world.
I have seen the quote on pictures and key chains and such that say “faith over fear”, or “let your faith be bigger than your fear” and to be honest this makes my blood boil a little. Because it insinuates that if we only have enough faith then we would not be experiencing fear. It gives blame, where blame is not needed. All the amount of faith required for us to have is a mustard seed. The truth is we will experience fear in our life the same as we will experience anger, sadness, and happiness. It is part of our world that we live in and this world is not a fear free environment. What we can have hope in is that love is bigger than any fear we have. God’s love for us, his sacrifice of his only son, puts love at the top of the leader board in success. Love does not give us a do and do not list, or a should and should not list or else. Love does not say if only you do this or that then you deserve to be loved. Love is a free gift. A free gift we get from God and a free gift we give to others. So today go out and love that person who is struggling with mental health issues. Love yourself for the struggle you are facing. Let God’s love carry you through your moments of fear. Let your Love and God’s love for you be bigger than your fear! Love takes time and patience. The result, unlike fear, is a long-lasting result that produces joy. Most importantly hope!
I Will Rescue You
by Lauren Daigle