What are you most afraid of? 

Earlier this year Chapman University released its Annual Survey of American Fear which reveals the greatest fears of average Americans.  Below is a list of the top ten fears for which the highest percentage of Americans reported being “afraid” or “very afraid”:

 

Corrupt Government Officials                                          74.5%

American Healthcare Act/Trumpcare                              55.3%

Pollution Of Oceans, Rivers, Lakes                                   53.1%

Pollution Of Drinking Water                                              50.4%

Not Having Enough Money For The Future                    50.2%

High Medical Bills                                                              48.4%

The U.S. Will Be Involved In Another World War             48.4%

Global Warming And Climate Change                             48.0%

North Korea Using Weapons                                            47.5%

Air Pollution                                                                        44.9%

 

I’m personally surprised a few other common fears didn’t make the list; death, failure, flying, social anxieties, spiders, and of course snakes!  Regardless of whether you agree with Chapman University’s survey, take a few minutes today and make your own list.  What are the top things that make you afraid or very afraid?

Our natural impulse is to run from the things that strike fear in us, put them out of our mind, ignore them, or maybe convince ourselves they won’t happen. 

But is our natural reaction the right reaction?

About once a month I have lunch with a group of pastors and other leaders at a Longhorn Restaurant in Greensboro.  On the restroom wall is a framed poster of John Wayne dressed in cowboy garb and sitting on a horse.  The poster caption reads, “Courage Is Being Scared To Death And Saddling Up Anyway.”   Most people aren’t inspired by public restrooms, but John Wayne has a good reminder for me every time I visit this one!

jw_courage.jpg

One of the best books I’ve read on the issue of tackling fear is Levi Lusko’s Through The Eyes Of A Lion.  The book chronicles the faith and courage he and his wife had to muster when their five-year-old daughter, Lenya, died of an asthma attack just before Christmas on December 20, 2014.  Sadly, she was buried on the day after Christmas.  In the book Lusko describes the fear that began to grip him as the following Christmas began to approach.  He knew there would be no hiding from it, not if he planned on staying in America anyway.  From Thanksgiving on, everything about our nation transitions into this daily Christmas countdown.  Lusko realized he was scared of Christmas, and he didn’t know what to do.  He could have escaped the holiday.  He could have refused to celebrate.  He could have taken his family far away for a long vacation.  But he finally decided to face his great fear and celebrate the birth of Jesus despite his overwhelming anxiety, and that Christmas turned out to be a memorable one for the Lusko family.

As Lusko tells his story, he describes the way lions hunt.  While the female stalks their prey from behind, the male lion circles around to the front and lets loose one of those roars that is so powerful it can be heard for several miles away.  Obviously the gazelle or whatever is being hunted runs away from the frightening roar, but in doing so they run directly into the path of the lioness, who is a much more efficient hunter than the male.  The right choice for the hunted animal would always be to resist its gut instinct and and run toward the roar.  Most often, though, they learn the hard way that running away from it is a very, very costly mistake.

 

Even more powerful examples of facing fear are found in God’s Word.

David ran toward Goliath, the intimidating Philistine giant, instead of running away from him like everyone else in Israel’s army.  He fearlessly trusted God to give Him everything he needed to be victorious over the dreaded giant and that day became a hero in Israel. (I Samuel 17:48).  Jesus headed toward Jerusalem, knowing that a cruel death at the hands of the Romans awaited him there (Luke 9:51).  He ran toward the roar, not away from it, and His courage changed everything about everything. 

Are you afraid?

Saddle up anyway.  Face your fear.  If you do not, it will continue to hunt you down and paralyze your life.  Run toward fear, not away from it.  In doing so, you’ll find that God will increase your courage and give you an overcoming spirit.  The more you stand toe-to-toe with your fears, the more you will learn to fully trust our God who has authority over all things, and is never afraid of whatever might terrify us.

 

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Check out this book by Levi Lusko