I don’t often quote Dr. Phil. But he has a saying,
“What I fear, I create.”
This is so true!
- If I fear being alone, my desperation to try to make my husband be with me will repel him
- If I fear not having control, my attempts to control others will push people and God away from me
- If I fear not having children, I may pressure and push my husband so much that he decides he can’t stand the thought of having children with me
- If I fear not being popular, I may try so hard to be popular, that I lose a lot of friendships
- If I fear being unloved, I may be so desperate to try to get my husband to affirm me and build me up that I come across as a black hole and unending pit of need instead of being confident in Christ. I can actually make it much harder for him to love me when I make “feeling loved by my husband” or my husband into the most important thing in my life (an idol).
Proverbs describes the same concept this way:
As a man thinks in his heart, so he is. Prov. 23:7
- If I think I am unloved and assume my husband hates me – I will create that very situation many times because I will approach him with resentment, bitterness, assumptions that he has evil motives towards me, disrespect and a desire to control and change him.
- If I think I am unpopular – my thoughts and fears can cause this to become reality because I will approach people with suspicion and fear instead of the love and joy of Christ.
- If I think I am a failure – I will act like a failure, my fears of failure will paralyze me, and I will easily become a failure. My fears become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
- If I think I am unworthy of love – I will act like I am unworthy of love instead of believing and accepting what God says about me and how much God loves me.
Fear is unbelief in God. Fear is the opposite of faith. We have fear when we are trusting ourselves not God.
Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6a
** If you have experienced severe trauma, anxiety, PTSD, rape, being molested, sexual/physical abuse – you are going to probably need some outside help to be able to work through your fears – and it may take some time. That is ok! Please don’t stop taking any of your medications, but talk to you doctor and maybe prayerfully consider finding a godly mentoring wife/mentor/Christian counselor to help you. 🙂 I am not writing specifically for women who have been victims of abuse or who are dealing with addictions in their marriage or who are experiencing uncontrolled mental health problems. If you are in one of those categories, my blog may not be a good fit for you.
We all have fears. But the key is to hash through them and to determine that if God is who He says He is, then He is bigger than my fears and I can trust Him even if He were to allow my worst fears to happen. That takes some time to process – it sure did for me. But what freedom and peace when I laid my fears at God’s feet and decided to trust Him and throw away my fears!
Fear is not an innocent emotion – it is a theological declaration of what we believe to be true about God and ourselves. It declares to us and everyone around us that we do not trust God, we do not believe God is who He says He is and that we are not claiming God’s victory, power, promises and His Word.
Our God, the God of the Bible and the universe is SOVEREIGN. There is NOTHING over which He has no control. He is OMNIPOTENT, OMNISCIENT and SOVEREIGN.
- Satan can do nothing without God’s permission.
- People have free will. Our husbands can and will sin against us at times. AND at the same time God is sovereign. God promises that He will use ALL things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28-29. Yes, my husband may hurt me, leave me, cheat on me or who knows what else … but my God will never leave me. And my God is able to use even the most awful trials and sin that touch my life to accomplish His good purposes to make me more like Christ and to bring glory to His Name. So I can’t lose. I have to win. I ultimately will always win when I am in Christ, because nothing can separate me from His love for me! He will never leave me nor forsake me. As long as I have Jesus and His Spirit and His power and His Word – I have everything! And if my husband does sin against me, God is able to empower me to respond in His strength and to extend grace and He may use that situation to draw my husband or maybe even many hundreds or thousands of people to Himself one day for all I know!
- Suffering cannot hurt me in the end. God promises to use it to accomplish His purposes to refine my faith, to purify and prune me, to make me more fruitful for His kingdom. He gives me the GIFT of sharing in the “fellowship of the sufferings of Christ.” Suffering and troubles are God’s servants in my life. He will use them to chisel and mold me to be more and more like Jesus. So, if God permits something painful to touch my life, I win and God wins.
- If God is for us, who can be against us!!??!?! He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31
Fear is a powerful weapon of Satan. He LOVES for us to be paralyzed by fear.
All of the controlling wives I know, myself included – were motivated by FEAR to control. When we have idols, our motive is fear –
- Fear that God will not give us what we REALLY want if we trust Him.
- Fear that God will hold out on us and not give us what is truly best for us.
- Fear about how we can possibly prevent all the potential bad things we worry about.
- Fear about how we will be able to force things to happen the way we think they should (as if we are sovereign instead of God).
For God does not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7
Fear is never from God. NEVER. Not the kind of fear we are talking about here. It is always from the enemy or from our sinful nature. It springs from lack of faith and unbelief and mistrust of God. That is why the Israelites didn’t obey God and take the promised land. They were afraid. God was VERY angry with the entire generation because of their unbelief and allowed them all to die in the desert and wander for 40 years and He refused to allow any of them to enter into His promised land and His rest because of their unbelief and lack of faith in Him.
This is VERY SERIOUS stuff.
We cannot build our lives on fear and live for God. It is impossible. We have to choose one or the other.
The only fear God commands us to have is fear of Him.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Prov. 1:7
This is a reverent awe and trembling before God because we understand how powerful, great, mighty, sovereign and holy He is. We NEED that kind of fear. But the other unhealthy, sinful fear has to go when we have proper fear of God.
Here is a passage from I John 4 – this is a summary of the entire Christian walk and what God intends for it to look like:
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
The only motives God wants to fill our hearts and minds are:
1. deep, wholehearted, absolute love for Him
2. genuine godly agape love (godly, I Corinthians 13:4-8 love) for other people.
Everything else has to go.
Fear cannot live where God’s love lives. It has to flee. The more we know God, the more we see we have no reason to fear – because greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. And the more we understand His sovereignty (which is a HUGE key I was missing for decades), the more we understand His power, His purposes and that He is in control and He WILL make all things work together to make us more like Christ and to bring Himself glory – and those are our goals, too. We can’t lose when we completely surrender to Christ! We get HIM!!!!!! He is all we need!
My goal is not to avoid pain. This life will have pain – guaranteed. My goal is to seek to absorb every drop of goodness and learning I can from the trials and pain and to grow closer to Christ and more like Him as I suffer.