You unravel me with a melody,You surround me with a songOf deliverance from my enemies,‘Til all my fears are gone– Bethel Music, No Longer Slaves
Today I am deeply aware of fear. The type of fear that sticks to you like maple syrup on your hands. You try to wipe the fears with a paper towel of reason, but the stickiness simply does not relent. When overcome, it feels as if we are living in the land of 1,000 fears. No matter where you look, fears seem to be all that you see.
As a leader, when fear like this rolls over you – what can you do? I know that when it rolls over me, I need to find retreat. I need to find a space and place I can sort.
Discernment between what is truth – solid, true and truly trustable is a journey. You see, things can be real but not true. Recently I was rehearsing some fears I was experiencing to my wife. I said, “I am not for sure what is real and what is not.” She reminded, “If you are feeling it, it is real.” But real is not the same as true.
Truths define us if we like it or not. Feelings, though real in the moment as we are experiencing them, do not have lasting power unless we give them that power.
How do you sort?
I start by writing down what I am seeing, sensing and feeling.
I compare that to what I know to be true about the world. I compare it not only to moments of clarity, peace and truth from journaling and praying, but I also to wisdom from close friends and the truth that they have spoken to me. There is are some things I know are to be truth, even when I do not feel it in the moment. They are filters to clear the muddy waters.
So what remains after that filter, I try to hold onto. The other things, are just things. They are unfounded fears. They do not need to dictate my next steps. I can see them for what they are. They are weakened. Their power has been removed.
The way out of the land of 1,000 fears is to sort and to take those thoughts captive.
Here is what St.Paul says about fears and other thoughts that do not help us:
The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)