This week my car wouldn’t start before work. We took it to a car dealer to get fixed and after spending $105.00 for a diagnostic fee and getting the run around with customer service we were informed the car needs $2,200 worth of repairs. We shopped around and found a car dealer that could fix the car for less money. We took a harrowing 1 1/2 hour drive to that car dealer where we wait for a confirmation of what’s wrong. Even if it does need all those repairs it will be much cheaper.
When problems like this arise they cause fear, anxiety, and worry. How are we going to pay for this? What will this do to our goals? What about the plans we made for the money we have? A ball of anxiety starts rolling out of control. The first response will be to tell everyone we know. At least that is what I used to do. I would tell my co-workers, my mom, friends, and anyone who would listen. The bigger the problem the more I would talk and keep talking. Talking was my way of coping and it provided me instant relief, or so I thought.
Excessive talking can be an indication that a high amount of fear, anxiety, and worry exist. If we talk without a filter we may be boiling over with fear. Fear looks at the situation with blinders on. Fear screams what is going to happen! How is this going to affect me! Fear causes us to shut down and not truly address the problem and makes up some problems of its own. Fear is (Fitzpatrick, 2001):
- A felt reaction to perceived danger.
- Feeling stressed about your responsibilities or fearful about your life.
- Can become habitual.
- Intense anxiety.
- Disobedience to God (“Fear not, I am with you” Is 43:5)
Proverbs 14:23 instructs us stating, “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” The key is mere talk. Talking without purpose or not for the benefit of solving problems. Mere talk is not the action that God outlined for us to take to battle fear, anxiety, and worry. He has outlined that we should make a choice to trust Him, pray about the situation, read His Word, seek counsel and talk for the purpose of solving problems. He wants us to take action because our faith is a faith of action.
Merely talking for hours and hours about what’s going on and publicizing our business on social media does nothing but feed our fear, anxiety, and worry because it’s not the way God engineered us to deal with life. If we deal with life as God made us to then we will find relief. Social media and the information online alone cannot help us. It is the power of God in His Word that can soothe the soul. It is trusting in the One who never changes that we must look to. When life is hard we must look to Him again and again and again. It’s a battle and we must fight it with Him.
- Put the situation in the context of eternity. If I view eternity I can see that my car problem is nothing. It’s a big deal today, but soon we will figure out how to pay for this and move on. It will be another story of God’s faithfulness in my life. If I doubt what God can do I can read what He has done in the lives of others in the Bible or by reading Christian biographies.
- Trust in a God who sees all. This is one is tough, but ultimately is the key to coping. God know’s all the intimate details of my life. He knows the stress that is already in our home because of life, work, and children. He knows how much money we have and how much we don’t have. He knew I would find out this week that my car would need major repairs. He hasn’t healed my car, but that’s okay. He is using this situation to bring me closer to Him, to teach me continual reliance upon Him. to drive me to Him in prayer and in His word, and to reach out to you to help you as you struggle. I can trust Him. He knows what He is doing.
- Fight the urge. When I feel the urge to tell everybody I have disciplined myself over the years to abstain from doing that. I don’t post my problems on social media, tell all my friends, make a bunch of phone calls, or send a bunch of texts. I keep the information within a set of people who truly need informed of the problem and give God the rest. I want to always ensure that I am speaking more to God about the problem than to others. If I do share with others I share with a purpose. To ask for prayer or for counsel in helping solve the problem, but not for the purpose of mere talking.
- Take action. Fear, anxiety, and worry prevent us from acting. Trust in God encourages us to act as much as we can and then leave the rest to Him. I did some research to see if we could get the repairs for a cheaper price, am going to sell some books online to make some extra money and help offset the bill. After that I have to leave the rest to God. I am looking for ways to be proactive in coping with this problem. Faith without works is dead. Action is inherent in who I am and is a sign I am trusting God.
Fear is a powerful emotion. I have struggled with fear my entire life and am still learning how to react to life by trusting God. It’s a process. Day by day and situation by situation we can learn to react by trusting God and taking action to solve problems. There is so much to be fearful about. We do not disobey God when we feel the temptation to fear. We disobey when we feel the temptation and we follow it blindly down the dark road it leads us to.
Fear paralyzes God’s people and keeps us from focusing on ministering to others. How can we be a beacon of light in a dark world when we are overwhelmed with fear? It’s not possible to think so much of ourselves and of others at the same time. God says fear not. He has a job for His people to do and in order for us to do it we must be able to trust Him and focus on others. I have a lot of car repairs to pay for, but there are people in my life who do not know God. Which is truly more important? My shrinking bank account, or their salvation? It makes sense that God points us towards trusting Him. He needs us to be about accomplishing the ministry He has set before us.
Some books that I highly recommend for learning about and battling fear include:
Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety by Elyse Fitzpatrick.
Trusting God by Jerry Bridges
When People are Big and God is Small by Ed Welch
Spiritual Depression by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones
Out of the Blues by Wayne Mack
May God be with you this week. He already knows what is coming and He already has the solution. Trust Him.