“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.”
- John Wayne
My knees still knock every time I recall dropping my first born off to kindergarten. I’d just moved from New York. I moved from a community of friends and family where I felt like I knew everyone straight to the desert city of Arizona where I knew no one.
I had a new job as a teacher where I’d be teaching a 4th and 5th combination class for the first time. Before reporting to work, I had to bring my five-year-old to her school and situate her alongside the enormous backpack that threatened to topple her at each step.
Once seated in the packed cafeteria her small hands shook so badly she could barely get a spoon of cereal into her mouth. Milk ran like white tears onto her chin and I heard laughter. The girls at her crowded table were pointing and smirking. Noise from around us drowned out any distinct sounds from them and suddenly I was in a bad silent movie.
My daughter pushed away her bowl and looked at me in a way that begged me to stay but we both knew I couldn’t. Before leaving, I gave the table of giggling girls my most intimidating stare while kissing the top of my child’s head. I looked back one last time.
Even as the other girls silently laughed louder, my little girl never took her eyes off mine. Their mouths like strangely shaped O’s heckled me. My daughter's eyes watered while her tiny legs dangled beneath the table and she tried to wave but gave up.
Suddenly, my chest tightened to the point where I had to remove my suit jacket and catch my breath once I stumbled inside my car. Beads of sweat curled my straightened hair and reminded me I was scared of being scared. Scared we wouldn’t make it through the day, the weeks, or years but somehow we did.
Things I learned to do when scared:
1. Remember: God Will Never Leave You or Forsake You
Psalm 33:18 But the LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.
Matthew 28:20 Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.
2. Remember: If God is for you who can be against you?
Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation. Who is there to fear? The LORD is my life’s fortress. Who is there to be afraid of?
Psalm 118:6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
3. Embrace Peace
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.
4. Have Faith
Mark 5:36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by believing and not by seeing.
Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
5. Take Refuge in the Lord.
Proverbs 18:10 The Lord is like a strong tower; those who do right can run to him for safety.
Psalm 91:2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.
Key Reminders in the word of what to do when scared:
1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Psalm 46:10-11 “ Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
Psalm 25:3 No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.
Examples of how to combat fear in the bible:
1 Chronicles 28:20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.
Deuteronomy 7:20-21 Moreover Yahweh your God will send the hornet among them, until those who are left, and hide themselves, perish from before you. You shall not be scared of them; for Yahweh your God is in the midst of you, a great and awesome God.
Jeremiah 14:9 Why should you be like a scared man, as a mighty man who can’t save? Yet you, Yahweh, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; don’t leave us.
Please share your comments. By the way, did you find this helpful? Are there suggestions you’d like to share to combat fear?