I believe God likes me. It is good.
To get to this place of excepting God’s acceptance of me, I had to let go of my shame about fear.
Do not be anxious about anything. These words come straight from Jesus’s mouth. I feel shame because I find myself anxious every day.
Emotions are not sin.
We have five core emotions: joy, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust. (Anyone seen Inside Out?) Every emotion we have is either a variation of intensity or a mixture of these emotions.
As we accept that Jesus was human, we have to accept that he had these same core emotions too. It isn’t hard to believe because we can see him display all of these emotions at different points in our gospel story. Jesus never let those emotions lead to sin, but in my life that has happened.
We see Jesus joyful often. I imagine Him full of joy on that borrowed donkey entering Jerusalem. We see Him sad often, especially at the news of the death of His friend Lazarus. We see him angry as He turned over tables at the temple. We see Him disgusted when the Pharisees demand a sign. (He had just fed 4,000 people for goodness sake.)
We are slow to admit that Jesus displayed the emotion of fear. Why is that?
Maybe it is because we have watered down God’s Holy Word into platitudes that we can hand each other and convince ourselves that we were helpful with our Christian clichés.
Maybe it is because we’ve heard things from the pulpit that make us believe fear is a sin.
This Scripture is good, but the enemy can manipulate it like he tried to do with Jesus in the desert to make us think our fear is sin.
Do not worry about tomorrow.
God did not give you a spirit of fear.
Perfect love cast out fear.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid.
Do not fear. God is with you.
There is an extremely emotional piece of the gospel that I believe shows Jesus experiencing extreme fear.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about sweating drops of blood:
Hematidrosis is a condition in which capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture, causing them to exude blood, occurring under conditions of extreme physical or emotional stress. Severe mental anxiety activates the sympathetic nervous system to invoke the stress- Fight-or-flight response to such a degree as to cause hemorrhage of the vessels supplying the sweat glands. It has been suggested that acute fear and extreme stress can cause hematidrosis.
If we believe Jesus sweat drops of blood, He must have been under extreme fear, stress, anxiety, and experiencing fight-or-flight.
Reread this passage in the NIV translation with the emotion of fear in mind. How do you experience fear? What physically happens in your body when the emotion of fear takes control of your mind?
Knowing Jesus experienced this emotion takes away the enemy’s ability to shame me over my own emotion of fear.
I experience fear. That fear keeps me alive. That fear is a core emotion that I cannot dispose of.
Our goal cannot be to rid our lives of fear.
Here’s a better goal: know that God accepts you in your fear.
Our fear does not surprise Him or alarm Him. He created us with emotions, and He experiences emotions.
It is easy to think we can just turn to God whenever we have fear, but if we are so ashamed of our fear that we want to hide away from God, how can we seek His help?
I rid myself of the shame of my fear, and I am eager to allow God to help me work through my fear and anxiety.
We don’t cut fear out of our life. We experience that fear and work through those emotions with a God that knows what fear feels like.
Anxiety is such a big part of my life right now, I don’t think I could accept that God likes me if I didn’t realize that God understood my anxiety or that I didn’t need to feel shame about my anxiety.
If you experience shame over your fear, I encourage you to go back over those verses that can either be a cliché or a balm to your soul. Look at the verse with new eyes. See the words coming from a God who knows fear and never wants to shame you.
His Word actually gives us an antidote to shame. That antidote is an emotion. God actually commands us to have an emotion to counteract the negative effects of shame. We are told to have confidence in John’s first letter to God’s children.
He goes on to say:
Have confidence before God. Allow your heart, mind, soul, and body to feel that you can trust and rely on God. Have confidence that God likes you.
God likes you, even when you are fearful because you’re never going to be without fear.
Here’s a song because music is good and wearing the struggle is honest.