Working on Fear

Lately the world has felt a bit darker... Whether it be shootings, or loved ones being lost, people sad, and hurting- it has felt as if there is a heavy cloud that has been sweeping in over the area. It's times like this where I find it especially difficult to remain joyful. It's not that there aren't things to be happy and joyful about, because there most definitely are. But for some reason, when things like this happen, it is hard to not just stare straight at the darkness and feel its weight on our shoulders.

This is something that I have been working on since I first started feeling the heaviness of the world a couple weeks ago, and something that I know I need to continue to work on. It is so easy to, in times like these, allow ourselves to be taken over by the sadness and fear of the world. One day I was thinking about the darkness and just feeling really fearful. I started to think about how, if I wanted to (which I never would) I could seriously be afraid of EVERYTHING. In fact, the more I thought about it, it made me want to find a little hole or room where I could block everything else out! It is such a scary phenomenon, is it not? The world can be a very scary place. But this is not where I want to keep my focus. I do not want to live in fear! Fear sucks! Fear inhibits our ability to find joy, our ability to trust, to live life to the fullest as the Lord so desires for us to do. Therefore, this is an area where I need to challenge myself.

A phrase that is often on my heart when I feel afraid is "Even the darkness is not dark to you, for the night is as bright as the day!" This phrase came from an opening ceremony at a mission conference that I went to, but comes from many different places in scripture- one of them being Psalm 139:11-12. It says, "If i say, 'surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, ' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for the darkness is as light to you." This is the reminder that helps me to blow away the cloud of fear that tries so often to settle in over my world. Through Jesus Christ's death on the cross, and his resurrection from the dead- He defeated the devil. He took the weight of the world, the sins of all on his shoulders and died an awful death... but then he did what the devil was not expecting- he Rose again... meaning that He defeated the power of evil! As a result of Christ's sacrifice- with Him, the darkness can have no power over us.

This is a really difficult concept to grasp, especially when we see darkness around us each and every day on this earth. Unfortunately that darkness will continue, it is something that we are going to deal with for the rest of our lives. But I think the important thing is that, we need to realize that we have a part in not letting that darkness rule our lives. And one of the ways that I am going to try to keep the darkness from having power in my own life, is by working on controlling my thoughts, controlling the fears that I have.

I am going to be thinking about this a lot this year, I can feel it... but for now I am going to start with the challenge to redirect my thinking every time that I experience fear trying to creep in. For me, a way to redirect my thinking, to squash the darkness is to think of that verse "even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day." It reminds me that the Lord has defeated the darkness and with Him, His light outshines any heaviness, any pain, any fear that I may have. It's like the verse I wrote in my last post. 
 "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
Directing our thoughts to those things, will wipe away fear and replace it with the peace of God. That is how I will be challenging myself this week.