Nothing to Fear

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MP3 Audio (7.75 MB)


Nothing to Fear

MP3 Audio (7.75 MB)

The deadline looms, edging ever closer. You should be home, not stuck in the office working late. The clock sweeps by minute after minute, but no ideas come to mind. You’re in trouble. Every tick of the second hand sounds like a bomb going off in your head. TICK… TICK… TICK… TICK…

You realize as you watch the time fly by that there is little chance that this project is going to be done on time. This is the second time this quarter; your boss is going to be livid. What if this is it—what if he fires you? You can feel the stress levels rising. It’s unbearable. Your heart races, your breathing is rapid, your palms begin to sweat.

What are you going to do?

Just a quick break. Just a brief mental refueling to get the creative juices flowing…

…three hours later and you look up to realize that you’ve spent the last three hours watching cat videos and scrolling your Facebook feed, and you’re no closer to getting the project done.

What just happened?

You just experienced the "Acute Stress Response."

Our bodies are designed with a system to protect us from threats, real or imagined. When we perceive a threat, our body enters into survival mode. It releases adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol, which act to heighten our senses and muscular response for the impending fight or flight. The heart rate and respiratory rate increases, and our liver releases glucose for quick energy.

While this is immensely helpful in situations of real immediate physical harm, this exact same physiological response comes into play whenever our body is exposed to a stressor of any variety. Whether it's work-related stress, the loss of a job, finals week, marital difficulties or the loss of a loved one—stress is stress, and our body ultimately undergoes the same basic response.

Fight or flight

When life gets difficult and stress levels rise this stress response kicks in and our response to that system results in one of two possibilities: We either tackle the problem head-on or avoid it entirely. Engage or withdraw.

When we withdraw, we might think we’re unwinding, relaxing, destressing, chilling—whatever term we want to use, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re temporarily withdrawing from the difficulties and rigors of life in order to manage our stress levels.

A certain degree of withdrawal is healthy, providing us with an opportunity to mentally refuel. But what happens when that periodic and healthy withdrawal becomes escapism, a complete avoidance of life’s difficulties and stresses, or worse yet—an individual turns to substances or addictive behaviors to numb the pain?

Many people today regularly withdraw from their lives, escaping to unhealthy levels of media, video gaming, and entertainment. They may turn to excessive social media use, partying, alcoholism, drug addiction or pornography in an effort to leave the real world and its stresses and pains behind. In extreme circumstances, they might turn to self-harm or even suicide in an effort to stop the pain entirely.

Is this what God intended for us?

Where do we turn?

God desires that we turn to Him in faith when life and its stresses become too much to bear. Our relationship with God the Father enables us to give Him any of the difficulties that we cannot handle and to rest assured that He will take care of them in His time and according to His will.

Because of that, we have nothing to fear or be anxious about! In Matthew 6:25-27, Jesus Christ tells those gathered for His sermon on the mount that God cares for us. Will worrying add a cubit to our stature—an hour to our life? It doesn’t make sense to worry or be anxious; instead, we must trust God and seek the Kingdom and His righteousness.

But what about those times of fear and uncertainty?

In Isaiah 41:10, the prophet Isaiah was inspired to write: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

We have to remember also that God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7, New International Version). We are admonished in numerous places to “be not afraid,” and to “be strong and of good courage.” There is nothing that we can face in this life that God cannot work out. He is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). It may not work out as we have planned, but it will ultimately work out for good (Romans 8:28).

With God on our side, we have nothing to fear.