Lately, I have been afraid and anxious, mostly in relation to work performance and the possibility of falling below expectations. I find it interesting that it took me a while to realize that I am scared – almost as though the feelings were buried beneath my daily routines, bubbling below the surface and affecting my effectiveness but not clearly identified as an issue I needed to deal with. You could say I was unconsciously afraid. Have you ever been unconsciously afraid?
Having gotten past recognizing my fear, I am now looking to deal with it amid tight deadlines and endless to-do lists. Action items peep out from every corner as new work tasks emerge like unwanted advances, yet I need time to understand and address my fears. Why am I afraid? As I think about it, I realize my fear and anxiety stems from the urge to have everything figured out. Because I have never been here before; I am in previously uncharted territories: completely strange waters.
It makes sense. It makes sense to be afraid when you do not know how things will play out or if you will come through your challenges unscathed. You want an assurance that it will all pan out well, but you also realize part of the work is in your hands to make that happen. So, you dilly-dally between praying and planning. The certainty of fear as a human experience is carefully scripted into the Bible, and that for me is very reassuring. God knows I will become afraid. And He prepared for it.
Neither fear nor anxiety is spiritual or godly. But they are human, very human. They key to living as a believer is to expect these feelings and know how to address them when we experience them. I have often read about the phrase “Fear Not” being mentioned in the Bible 365 times – one for every day in a year. While I have never taken the time to verify this for myself, it is quite telling such a phrase occurs that many times in the Bible – an indicator of how common a human experience fear is.
When I am afraid, I will trust in You (Psalm 56:3)
My closing thoughts revolve around this Scripture passage above. The author (David) clearly expects to become afraid at some point, and he has an action plan for when fear comes: to put his trust in God. “Fear Not” is a command from God and a choice for us. It is a choice we should integrate into our lives. When I am afraid, I will choose not to fear, but to trust in God. I believe he can make things fall in place for me while I do the best I can. That is how I integrate my prayers and plans: drawing up action plans while trusting in God to handle the unexpected situations that I fear may occur. Selah.
Toyin Taiwo, June 2020.