I have experienced clinical anxiety since I was a teenager but I understood fear and anxiety on a whole new level when I became a mother. My desires to be a good mother and make the right choices came from a good place but the results were crippling. I found myself living in a constant state of worry always in fear of what the future would bring. There are a few things I have done to overcome the fear and anxiety in my life and the greatest by far has been looking to God’s word and seeking the Lord.
If you are in the depths of fear and anxiety you are not alone. You are not a failure as a mother. I know first hand what it is like to feel overwhelmed in motherhood, marriage, and my home. It is a heavy burden to carry. But I promise you friend that you do not have to carry that burden alone.
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“…you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:9-10 (ESV)
Fear In The Bible
There are two types of fear that you will encounter when reading the Bible. The first is fear of earthly troubles or a spirit of fear. The second is fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord does not mean being scared of God. Instead a fear of the Lord means that you have a great respect or reverence for Him. I think that Proverbs explains a fear of the Lord very beautifully.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
Earthly fear by itself is a normal response to danger and not necessarily bad. However, when that fear starts to be consuming and invades areas of our lives where we are not experiencing danger that is when fear is unhealthy for us. Struggling with this kind of fear is wearying and incredibly difficult.
Understanding these different types of fear will help you as we look at what the Bible says about overcoming fear and anxiety.
Stories Of Fear In The Bible
There are many stories of overcoming fear in the Bible that have been a comfort to me when I am facing anxiety. In those times where I feel overwhelmed I find peace and reassurance in reading stories of how God worked in the lives of these men and women. I want to share a few stories of fear in the Bible with you that you can turn to when you are feeling overwhelmed with fear or anxiety.
Moses: Facing The Fears Of His Past
“But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11 (ESV)
In Exodus when God tells Moses that He wants Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell Pharaoh to release the Israelites Moses has the most relatable reaction. I try to imagine the look on Moses’s face and how his heart dropped to his stomach when he heard this. Why me God? Are you sure? Don’t you think you need someone way more qualified? I can’t do this!!
Moses was afraid of Egypt and the Egyptians because of the events that had happened in his past. Having to go back and face his past was terrifying for Moses. On top of that God wanted him to go directly to Pharaoh and confront him.
How often do things that have happened in your past cause you anxiety?
Personally speaking I can say that there are many times that the mistakes from my past have caused me to worry and fear for the future. Past events have caused me to doubt myself and my abilities. This passage can remind us to trust not in ourselves but in our Heavenly Father. As Christians we do not need to rely on our own power but instead we rely on God’s power.
The Lord told Moses, “He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:12 (ESV) Just as God promised to be with Moses we know that God is with us as well. His Holy Spirit dwells within us and we are never alone.
Elijah: Facing The Fear Of His Enemies
The next story is from the bible verses in 1 Kings 18 & 19 where we read the story of Elijah overcoming his fear. At this time King Ahab was married to Jezebel and together they led Israel to abandon the Lord and worship the pagan gods, specifically Baal, instead. Queen Jezebel was known for killing those who publicly worshipped or was a prophet for the Lord. Elijah had warned Ahab to repent and when Ahab refused there were three years of drought and famine in Israel.
After those three years the prophet Elijah again told Ahab that he needed to repent. What follows next is a miraculous display of power from God. God showed up for Elijah again and again even giving him super-human speed and endurance. Nevertheless Elijah received a message from Jezebel that caused him a great amount of fear. Even though God had stood faithfully by Elijah and protected him Elijah could only think about the horrible things that Jezebel had done and Elijah ran for his life.
Elijah was defeated both physically and mentally. He laid down under a tree and begged God to end his life (1 Kings 19:4).
Have you ever felt completely broken? Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by life that you wondered if it was even worth living?
If you are feeling that way now I want to encourage you to reach out and talk to someone. The next part of the story with God and Elijah is one of my favorite parts of scripture. Having been broken down and defeated in life I take such comfort in what happens next. God’s perfect love and the peace of God are the best solution to anxious thoughts and weary souls.
God’s Help For Elijah
Despite seeing the power of God repeatedly Elijah had been given over completely to the fear of man. He was broken. He wished for death. And yet, God was not angry with Elijah. God did not punish Elijah or scold him for his fear. Instead, God came to Elijah.
Scripture tells us that the angel of the Lord came to Elijah. He gave him food and water. He gave him sleep. The word of God shows how tender, merciful, and loving He is. Forty days of God caring for Elijah and tending to his needs passed by before God addressed Elijah’s fear.
When I am looking for stories of fear in the Bible I always come back to this story with Elijah. There is so much beauty here and so much comfort. One thing I notice is that before addressing his fears God takes care of Elijah’s physical needs. I can think of so many times in my own life where I am feeling overwhelmed, fearful, or anxious and after a good meal and some good sleep suddenly the world feels a lot less terrible. Similarly, more often than not when my toddler is having a rough time I know that a snack, some water, and rest will change his perspective on life.
The other thing I love about this passage from the Bible is how it so often mirrors my own anxieties and fears. Elijah’s fear was not because he lacked faith in God’s power. The cause of Elijah’s fear was a lack of faith and trust in God’s plan. Like Elijah I often find myself doubting God’s plan and timing in my life. When I am feeling overwhelmed I am almost always leaning on my own understanding for how things should go. I think I have a good plan and have little faith in God to take care of things the way I believe they should be taken care of. Essentially, I’m like a spoiled child trying to get my way.
When I am looking around my home at my family, the obligations on my calendar, the mess, the long list of to-do’s, and feeling the overwhelm creep in I can trust that God has a plan. If I am worried about the future of the world and what life will be like for my children or grandchildren I can trust that God has a plan. When I am broken, weary, and hurting I can trust that God has a plan. And in each of those moments I am reminded that God meets me with a gentle hand. The Lord is kind, generous, and loving to His children in their fear.
More Stories Of Fear In The Bible
There are plenty more stories of fear in the Bible. Many of the Bible characters we read about were facing one type of fear or another. Several faced terrible things and others were asked to leave their comfort zone. There are a great number of examples that we can draw from when we are seeing God’s peace in the midst of our fear.
Daniel: Facing The Fear Of Giving In
Daniel was manipulated by a group of politically motivated men who laid a trap for him. Daniel stood by his faith and prayed to God despite his fear and despite the knowledge that doing so would have him thrown into a den of lions.
The story of Daniel and the lions den is a popular Sunday School lesson for younger children. We are taught about his courage and how he stood up for what he believed in. However, I do not remember my Sunday School lesson including the fear that Daniel faced. Daniel was able to face his fear of death by the lions because of his trust in God.
Esther: Facing The Fear Of Risking Her Life
Esther’s husband, King Xerxes, was planning to kill all of the Jewish people in their country. In this story we learn that Esther fasted, she prayed, and ultimately she put her trust in God. Esther pleaded with her husband and risked her life to stand up for her people.
Like Daniel, Esther is able to face her fears because of her trust and faith. We can learn so much from these passages. Trust in God is the antidote to our fear and anxiety. Turning to God is the ultimate solution and the never failing cure.
Trust In God
Trusting in God and growing in your relationship with him is so very important. I know that as a mom it can be difficult to find time to read your Bible. I have a post that will help you to find time for reading your Bible even in those crazy seasons of life. The more time that you spend with God the better equipped that you will be to face those moments of overwhelm, fear, and anxiety.
God does not want you to live in a state of fear. He loves you so deeply just as He loved Elijah. And like He comforted and sustained Elijah the Lord will comfort and sustain you.
"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:26-34