What is the most destructive force on earth? Is it anger? Pain? Disloyalty? Poverty? Disease? Terrorism? The atomic bomb? Natural disaster?
What causes more pain and anxiety in the lives of people everywhere than any other thing?
What is steering your ship?
I was out last night with my good friend, Sothea Seng. The main topic was things in life over which people have little to no control. Normally, you can at least steer what is going on in life, even a little. In most circumstances you have at least some control.
But then are the very frustrating times. It seems like everything that is happening is beyond your best attempts to adjust course.
It is like your life is a boat in the sea. You have a rudder in the water to help you to steer the ship. But sometimes the current is too strong, or the storm is too big and you have to pull the rudder out of the water to keep from losing it.
At such times, you are at the mercy of the sea. Pull in the rudder and let yourself drift. Let yourself feel the emotions. Don’t try to control what you are doing and feeling too much. Otherwise, you may hurt yourself or others. It is a short season in life and will pass.
Mostly what destroys us is fear, not reality
It is at this point when Sothea had an “aha moment”. He said, “Mostly what destroys us is fear, not reality. And most of what we fear never happens.” Fear is constantly trying to take control of your life. Fear can take up to 90% of your emotional life, if you let it; while the 10% of the good stuff gets left out at sea.
As Sothea said, “I want to throw away the 90%, and live in the 10%.” I don’t know about you, but I’m with him.
What we fear doesn’t normally happen
Because he’s right, most of what you fear never happens. Think about it. Think about some of the things in your life that have made you lay awake at night. How many of them came to pass? I can think of a few that at the time seemed so real, but now just seem like so much smoke.
This means that, for the most part, fear is a big distraction. It is possibly the biggest distraction in your life. It can keep you stuck. It can make you feel locked up like a prisoner. It can lead to serious anxiety and panic attacks. Fear can mess up your adrenal system and cause physical problems. Fear can destroy you. But it doesn’t have to.
What is the antidote to fear?
You can overcome your fears. You should overcome your fears. Listen to what the Bible says about the subject:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.”
1 John 4:18 (NASB)
You could just ignore fear and try to live strictly in the 10%. But this doesn’t really work, does it? Fear is like water – it will find a way to fill the cracks. If there is a way inside, fear will find it. The 90% of fear doesn’t need ignored. It needs replaced entirely.
Look at the verse again in its context (1 John 4:15-19 NLT):
“All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.”
There is an antidote to this great destructive force: love. Love embodies all that fear is not. Love builds up. So to get free of fear you have to learn what love is and how to wield it.
The above Bible passage places great emphasis on love, and it is not that only one. The Bible is full of words about what love means. What’s love got to do with it? Everything. This is what we need to understand, because to understand love and to live in it means to live a life completely free of the fear that has paralyzed you for so long, that takes up 90% of your life, and that seeks to destroy you and those who you love.
Next time, we will take a closer look at the mechanics of this powerful substance that eradicates fear and sets people free: love.
Do you agree with Sothea that fear can add up to 90% of our distractions in life? How have you been able to overcome fears in your life? Please let us know in the comments below! Thanks!