The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25
Those of you on the journey with me know that this transformation mountain is one you climb a step at a time. Revealed truth is grown into through process. From glory to glory, faith to faith. That is the journey.
As I look at the title at the top, I feel it mocking me, as if I can just make the choice, and forsake fear once and for all, forever free from it’s tyranny. It doesn’t work that way. Fear is loosened little by little, as I surrender the hooks that the fear grabs onto, when God shows them to me. Unfortunately it takes fire and pressure for them to be revealed.
My biggest anxiety makers seem to develop in the marketplace, where most of my time is spent these days. I chose the above scripture since most of the fear in my life involves the relationships I’m in.
We must acknowledge the truth of who we are, and own our patterns in order to possess the promised land of spiritual growth.
Here’s what I’ve been seeing as I’ve been put in situations out of my control, with a lot of pressure on them.
It could be impossible deadlines involving schedule and timing, that I kill myself to achieve. This is my unconscious attempt at meeting my need for validation in an unhealthy way. I may need to say “that won’t work for me, or I can’t do that.” Standing up for myself, meeting my need, regardless of their response or attitude. (Since their response no longer defines me.)
He’s exposing me in my role with other people. I want to resent them for “putting so much pressure on me,” when I am the one imposing the pressure on myself, with my performance, and need to be “approved of.” In other words, I want people to like me, so the more I do for them, the more they will like me, and be pleased with me. I’m not aware of this going on, it’s built into who I am.
God sets me up like this: He puts me in a situation where it is impossible for me to “come through” for someone. Recognize the feeling? Circumstances will fly completely out of my control into the realm of the impossible. I am exposed by the intense anxiety and fear I feel because I am going to “let them down.”
There is a snare in it because it causes me to fear man to gain approval. I will sell myself out, even forsaking healthy boundaries, to avoid disapproval. This is God working on identity.
The anxiety drives me in desperation to God, who shows me what’s going on. The Holy Spirit unpacks the whole thing for me, and I surrender it for surgery. It has to be a complete surrender involving my will and attempts at control. I can do nothing about the circumstances, except cry out for His help.
I am seeing over and over again, as I trust Him with the outcome, that it doesn’t matter what the other person is expecting or thinking. The thing that matters is what God is doing. As I step aside in humble surrender, through grace, He always handles the other side in a remarkable way evoking worship, and thanksgiving. The process is repeated in the next lesson, on His timetable, requiring fresh faith, and renewed surrender.
It’s not the enemy, it’s not the other person, it’s God! He’s teaching me to recognize this process, and yield to Him through it. As I do that, the journey through is shorter each time. I have come to believe that our surrender has a lot to do with the length of our trials. When “endurance has had her perfect work,” what God is after has been accomplished, and things will change. James 1:4
Whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe…
When I do make the choice to trust in Him, I have found that I am safe from;
1 The expectations of others
Expectations can be awful, and the enemy can do a number on us when we feel we aren’t meeting up to those of others. The devil can and will distort reality here through fear. Some expectations are distorted through our own performance and perfectionism.
Remember transformation comes through surrender. I will miss it completely if I focus on the “other” and blame them for the pressure, or try to bind it away. There’s a time for that but not here. There’s more authority in surrender than shouting anyway.
2. What others are thinking
Talk about the fear of man being a snare! You know the mind battles that insecurity brings. I must not “over-perform,” to control how others think about me. Fear is the engine of control. Identify the fear, own it, renounce it, and you will find the door to surrender.
“God has not given me the spirit of fear, but power, love, and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Anxiety will always betray it’s operation if you are aware. You will be tempted & pressured to leave the place of rest and take over.
Whenever I am worrying about what “they might be thinking,” there will be torment and bondage, and more striving and anxiety will come.
Talk with the Lord about it, get a dialogue going, tell Him how you feel, hold nothing back.
I will surrender to the pressure cooker of God, which will help me to lower the bar of my performance and perfectionism, to say yes to Him as He frees me. I need to run to Him as my Refuge and my Fortress, my Rock and my High Tower. Time and again, yielding brings the miracle as I surrender to the perfect love that casts out all fear. All He wants is that yes. Pray for me and I will pray for you. XO I welcome your comments and stories!
The Lord is on my side, I will not fear, what can man do to me? Psalm 118:6