On the Culture of Fear
The first time I heard the following verse I was on the phone with my youngest daughter. She might have been in college or between college years. Sometimes she seemed wiser than me. I don’t remember now what I was fearing. Fears of all kinds stalked me. I could be brave and adventurous or fearful and timid. Anxiety too often nibbled at my sense of safety.
I stood with the phone to my ear, looking out my living room window at the lake, surrounded by beauty. Music played on my sound system. She quoted this verse.
“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Then she said that I would have such God given power and could do so much if I would just live that verse. She was the Bible reader. At that time, I was not. Today I am. And that verse has stayed with me. I think of it often. I use it in prayer.
We are living in a culture of fear and I am rebelling. God does not want us to live in fear. He wants us to trust his sovereignty. You either trust or you don’t. I remind myself of that sternly. I battle anxiety. It creeps up in the early morning hours, waking me, shaking me to my soul. I lie there and think of this quote.
But I also carefully think through what might have started this sneak attack. Today I knew it was having too many busy days in a row without enough quiet time, or enough solitude, and most importantly enough conversation with God. And I have not had any real quality time to write.
However, there is more than that. We are living in a culture of fear. Headlines shriek possibilities of missile attacks, of acts of terrorism, of doom and gloom. Surely, the very globe is quaking. NOT. And on social media people post claims of government conspiracies, medical mishaps, dangers in the food we might eat. The sky is falling, said Chicken Little. NOT.
I am not ignoring the realities of terror attacks, upheavals in our nation and around the world. I am not going to over dwell on any of it. Pray, give it to God. And I mean pray intently and intensely.
Fear is stirred elsewhere too. The facts on some of the claims by questionable media and by main stream media are often distorted, full of disinformation and misinformation. Fear has become the popular language in our culture. There are real things that should concern us. I am not foolish about that. What I am is determined to not let this growing culture of fear creep any further into my life.
I will ignore media posts that spread misinformation or partial truths. I can’t stop those but I don’t have to read them. The delete and hide buttons work well so I’ll use them. I will continue to ignore stories the media decides are major and common sense tells me that they are of fleeting importance.
I am going to seek joy. I will start a private Bible study on that word. Read a verse a day with that word in it. Say a prayer a day about joy. Thank God for all the blessings and joy in my life. I will still have loved family members struggling with serious illness. I will still have the challenges that are part of my life. But I will lace it all with joy.
How about you? What do you think about this culture of fear?