Do Not Fear
The Bible references fear, anxiety, and worry hundreds of times. Why? What is so important about fear that so much time is devoted to it? I think it boils down to faith. Fear, anxiety, and worry (additional words that essentially mean fear) are caused by a faltering of faith. The reason why some version of Do Not Fear is repeated so often seems to be a reminder that God’s got us covered.
- Physical health. Fear weakens our immune system and can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and decreased fertility. It can lead to accelerated aging and even premature death.
- Memory. Fear can impair the formation of long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus. This can make it even more difficult to regulate fear and can leave a person anxious most of the time. To someone in chronic fear, the world looks scary, and their memories confirm that.
- Brain processing and reactivity. Fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically. This impacts our thinking and decision-making negatively, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately.
- Mental health. Other consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, and PTSD.
Don’t Do What’s Bad For You.
How often have we told our children not to do something because we know it is bad for them? In general, most of the things we as parents tell our kids or were told by our own parents not to do were things that would harm us. If you look at the incomplete list above, we see that fear is detrimental to us in all kinds of ways. OF COURSE, GOD TELLS US NOT TO FEAR!
Easier Said than Done
But that’s easier said than done. It’s easy to tell people not to fear – it’s much harder to take that same advice when we are afraid. I’m not even sure if it is possible to rid ourselves of fear completely, but it is possible to run to Him who can do all things when we are afraid. It is not that we become oblivious to danger; we recognize it but trust God to handle it.
40-Day Challenge: Day 15 Reading
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.