Monday, January 09, 2006

Do not be dismayed

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:8-9

Over the past year God has been leading me in conquering the fears that have had a tendency to overcome me in the day to day. I know that my progress has been great but I feel as if I have taken a few steps backwards. Whether this is a lack of diligence on my part or God is strengthening me by allowing trials, I can not tell, but little fears are creeping back into the corners of my heart.

For me, fear is debilitating because I tend to withdraw into a safe place of aloneness. This, of course, leads to depression, anxiety, worry, and what it comes down to is a life not lived.

I read the above passage in Joshua and what stuck out was "do not be dismayed". The Strong's Concordance describes dismay as:
"...To break down by confusion or fear; to be afraid, beat down, discourage, dismay, go down, scare, terrify..." (#2865)

That word describes my tendencies exactly!

God's command is to "be strong and of good courage" and without something to fear, courage is not possible. Courage is actually the overcoming or stepping over what I fear. This courage comes because, according to the verse, "the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." So my trust does not need to be based on safe circumstances, but rather, that God is by my side at all times, in any place.

I know that at least part of the solution is to take life as it comes, moment by moment. There is no need to have the next week, month or year figured out and settled. I also need to take a close look at my feelings and deal with them before fear is allowed to sneak in. In my case, fear grows on the roots of other emotions like jealousy, anger and sadness. and plucking these out at their source is a necessity. Most of all, I need to remember that I am able to walk confidently in strength and courage BECAUSE my God is by my side, always. And this will never change.