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How Do You Respond to Fear?

I had three encounters with wildlife around our country home in the last couple of days. All were afraid of me, but all responded in different ways. It made me think about fear and how we respond to it. I asked myself, “when have I been afraid before and which animal did I respond like? A gro…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I had three encounters with wildlife around our country home in the last couple of days. All were afraid of me, but all responded in different ways.

It made me think about fear and how we respond to it. I asked myself, “when have I been afraid before and which animal did I respond like?

A groundhog

This morning I was jogging around the neighborhood. Up ahead was a large groundhog, oblivious to me. He didn’t notice me until I was right up on him and then he let out what I can only describe as a groundhog scream before diving into a hole. Fear Response: To hide

A coyote pup

I was driving home from work and spooked a young coyote. He took off as fast as his legs would carry him toward the forest. I raced him in my car and watched as he made it into the woods, but kept on running. Fear response: To run

A rabbit

Our cat, Louie, regularly goes hunting and brings us prizes. Yesterday evening he emerged from the tall grass carrying a still very much alive rabbit. Louie seemed proud of himself, but we are rabbit lovers around here, so I went over to Louie and made him let loose of the rabbit. For the longest time the rabbit just cowered before scampering off. Fear response: To freeze

Applying it to your life

When have you been afraid before in your life? How have you responded? One of the primary messages that Jesus had to his disciples and has to us is, “Don’t be afraid.”

Yet, that’s easier said than done. Everything in our society seems to conspire to tell us the opposite: “Be very afraid!” The news media screams. We hear about the latest terrorist acts every day. We hear about all the calamities around us and wonder, “Will I be next?”

Jesus came to set us free from fear. Instead of fear, he focused on faith. He continually exhorted his disciples to have more of it.

How do you respond when you’re afraid? Which animal do you most resemble? Here are 33 verses helping us get God’s perspective on fear.

Comment

  • Seth, what a wonderful way to encapsulate human responses to fear which of course lurks around us each day. In my own life, fear of Huntington’s Disease and its devastations to oneself and those loved around you ignited strong workaholic tendencies at a young age. I distinctly recall saying to myself @ age 12… “I’m going to live at least two lifetimes by fifty!” And. I have. But, the *achievement* part of the equation came with greater personal pain to me and those around me. Fear was the driver. The hot plutonium in the reactor. Fuel for ferocious living. The movie Blade Runner has that poignant line at the end where the non-human is meeting his digital genetic fate and says “The flame that burns twice as bright lasts half as long. Time to die.” We will all pass away from Terra Firma. No one knows exactly when or how. My genes ended up not having the chromosomal marker for a debilitating illness. So the new normal for a decade has been to learn to live without that Sword of Damocles hanging by a thread. What we do know is that the *Planet Maker* left us instructive words when penned in the New Testament. “God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind.” Thanks for sharing so faithfully from your heart Seth. I notice. Often. Love you.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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