My worst physical fight of all time occurred in the fifth grade. Unfortunately, I fought an eighth grader who was big for his age. He punched me in the face and knocked me down. Then, he stomped me. It wasn’t pretty. To make matters worse, my friend and neighbor Poley (short for Napoleon) walked from school with me. When my mom opened the door, he immediately blurted out: “Waylon got into a fight today.”
I didn’t win that fight, but I am thankful for the fight.
The eighth grader was a bully. He bullied younger children. I learned that day that you must confront bullies, even when you can’t win. If you fail to confront, the bully will always overcome you.
Fear is a bully. It bullies itself into our lives and robs us of joy and peace. It robs us of our relationships. Fear intimidates and destroys.
Fear is a monster. it grows with every failure to confront our worry and anxiety. Fear must be confronted, and it must be conquered.
Fear is contagious. I remember going to Boy Scout camp. All the members of my troop took a life-saving course. We had to dive to the bottom of the lake and “rescue” a weight from the lake bottom. As the time for the defining test came, the lake grew deeper and the water grew darker. With wide eyes, we talked about it among ourselves. We talked ourselves out of completing the course. I was the last to quit, but it didn’t matter. I quit. We all quit. We pooled our fear, and the contagion spread throughout the troop.
No wonder the Bible–and especially Jesus–tells us repeatedly not to be afraid. Jesus came to bestow peace and call us away from fear. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
God commanded Joshua three times in a span of four verses to be strong and courageous. Courage is not something you have; it’s something you do.
Life is filled with fear. You have to confront the bully. If you do not handle your fear, you will never experience all that God has for you. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
What tactics do you use to confront your fear? Please leave a comment below.