5 things I learned about fear and worry

El Salvador

For God gave us a spirit not of fear
but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7

I know I worry too much. So I prayed and studied extra hard in 2011. And asked for transformation.

I named it my Year of Depend and Delight”, a year to intentionally experience more dependence on God.

Did it work?

I’m still prone to worry, but I worry less.
I’m still sensitive to fear, but I’m learning to step out more anyway.

So while I’m still on the journey with Him, I’m making progress in the right direction. 
Here are five lessons that I learned this year about Depending on God (tomorrow, five lessons on Delighting):

1. It’s what you fear
     Fear isn’t wrong. It’s what you fear that matters.

     Not fearing God is the root of all sin. Sinful fear originates with too high a view of man and too small a view of God. Fearing man more than fearing God is an insult to Him and distracts you from your real purpose: glorifying God.

2. Trade worry for faith
     The most valuable thing you can ever lose is your belief in God. Fight to keep faith—seeking God above all—and let everything else fall second.

     Develop satisfaction in God above satisfaction in anything else, including your physical safety, your lifestyle, even your family.  

3. To be brave, know God
     It’s okay to doubt yourself; just don’t doubt God. You don’t need more power; you need to believe more in the power you already have—the Spirit in you.

     The right response to worries and fear? Think less about who you are in the flesh; remember more who God is in your spirit.

4. Humility is a grace magnet
     The more you depend on God, the more you see his grace in your past. And the more you see his grace in your past, the more you’ll trust his grace for your future.

     Kill pride; birth humility. Open yourself to grace.

5. Pray more    
     Strong Christians pray a lot. Not because they’re extra self-disciplined (though they may be gifted with that), but because they’re poor in spirit, knowing that nothing is more valuable than living in awe of the King.

     Pray for more faith in God’s promises; pray for more purpose in God’s kingdom; pray for more love for God Himself. Each will lead to less fear and worry, and more hope and love.

In the end, I discovered it’s about love. Isn’t it always? Who would I risk the most for, go out on a limb for, give my life in exchange for? The ones I love the most.

May we each depend more and more on the Lord.
And may we grow more and more to love Him the most.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Romans 8:15

* * *

Books I used to study dependence in 2011:

  • Future Grace by John Piper
  • A Praying Life by Paul Miller
  • The Fear Factor by Wayne Mack and Joshua Mack
  • Humility by Andrew Murray
  • Humility by C. J. Mahaney
  • Anxious for Nothing by John MacArthur

How have you learned to worry less and depend more?


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