Our world is going through a difficult time right now as we face a threat we’ve never experienced before. In circumstances like this, fear is a healthy and appropriate response.
God gave us brains that are equipped with a fear response for our protection. When He says “do not be afraid” it is almost always to someone who is already afraid. It’s not a rebuke for experiencing fear; it’s a reassurance and loving invitation.
Telling ourselves to never be afraid is not a realistic or healthy expectation, especially right now. What we can do is evaluate whether our fear is unhelpful or helpful.
Recognizing our fear has become unhelpful is the first and most important part. Then we can pause and say, “What’s one small step I can take right now to move toward helpful fear?” That might be saying a prayer, reaching out to a friend, or just turning off the news for awhile. If we sense unhelpful fear returning, we can pause and then take one more small step. We will all need to repeat this process many times a day–and that’s okay.
When we find ourselves moving back into unhelpful fear, there’s no shame or guilt. Drifting in that direction is a very natural, human thing to do. Let’s be gentle with ourselves and each other right now, as if we’re comforting a beloved child who’s afraid of the dark.
Stay well and safe, friends. Stay brave and hopeful.
Watch: I did a video about 3 Ways Our Brains Respond to Stress
Listen: More than Small Talk Podcast Episode 69 – A conversation about keeping fear from sabotaging us (plus I tell a story about growing up in Texas feeding four-foot alligators).