Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Concern vs. Fear

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -- Isaiah 41:10

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear... -- 1 John 4:18

I could go on and on. The Bible has a lot to say about fear and how it relates to our faith.

A couple of years back, we had a friend who called to discuss Ace's peanut allergy. I had been invited to a women's study that offered childcare on a separate campus from where the study was being held. He wasn't yet two and had little to no understanding of the concept of sharing, or more importantly not sharing. Each child was to bring a sack lunch to eat while the adults were away at the study, and for this reason, we decided that the risk was too great for him to attend. We couldn't risk sticky peanut butter fingers while I was miles away... and there would be no one available with experience dealing with potentially life threatening reactions or administering an epi pen. When we explained this to our friends, the wife immediately began spouting scripture on how fear is not of the Lord, but of the devil. And if we'd turn from him, it would flee from us.

We were a wee bit offended, particularly myself, who felt not only was my faith being attacked but our parenting choices. But God is good and has used that situation to do a lot of work in my heart. It led me to examine when exactly reasonable concern crossed the line and became fear.

I believe that the Lord speaks to me often through my gut (for lack of a better term). I'll often feel a pull when I know a situation isn't what's best for my children or I, I do believe that God will use a healthy amount of concern to keep us from doing things or going places that are not safe. It's that pull that often reminds me to bring the epi pen with us to the grocery store or to not leave it in the hot car, where it could become less potent and helpful in an emergency situation. It's that healthy concern that prompts me to check the car after we arrive home from a family outing in 100 plus degree weather to ensure both of my children are safely out of the car and inside our air conditioned home. It was that healthy concern that prompted me not to put my 1 year old child in a potentially life threatening situation so that I could have a couple of hours to converse with other adults in peace twice a week.

But at some point, that level of concern can rise and lead to fear. I'm fighting it right now as I await the results of our yearly ImmunoCap testing. I'm beyond anxious waiting to hear what his peanut number has done this year. Did it rapidly rise, diminishing his chances of outgrowing the allergy? Did it stay the same? Did it rapidly decrease, or fall off the charts all together (please, pretty please)?

I find myself often examining my heart and sometimes I'm surprised by what I find it. I'll realize that what I considered a healthy concern has actually turned into an unhealthy fear that has started eating away at my faith.

Where is that line for you? Do you have regular checkpoints that help you recognize unhealthy fear? How do you deal with it once you realize it's set up camp in your heart?

Lord, please give me the wisdom and strength to recognize and eliminate unhealthy fears through a steadfast faith in You and your word.


Avery's Mommy said...

Hi Lou :)

In no way do I deal w/ concerns to the extent that you do w/ the peanut allergy but I am a worry wart, when it comes to Avery (ummm and everything else!) I often wonder about the line between worry and concern. I am with you -God gave us that motherly instinct (gut feeling) to know whats best and we should use it!

RCUBEs said...

It's not wrong to listen to your "gut" knowing that you entrust all your plans with the Lord. I believe that's His way of telling us to warn us against any potential danger. Whether it's allergy or anything else, I believe that when we commit all of our ways to Him, nothing will go wrong. Fear or no fear. He is the only One Who can take that away. No one else.

Praying all is well with you. God bless. I pray that those allergies are gone in Jesus' Name.

Beth in NC said...

I think you were being cautious about your child and protecting him from a potentially dangerous situation. Is that fear or just using common sense?

I deal with fear in different areas. Once, I was so bound by fear that I couldn't live a normal life. Fear is nasty and it is the enemy of faith.

The Holy Spirit will definitely show us areas of fear if we ask Him. And He will help us overcome.

Bless you!

Heart2Heart said...


I would stay trusting your instincts is the best way to go. People will always judge us based on what they think they know and not what is really going on. We can only pray that these people will become sensitive to how much their words of "concern" can become words that hurt and tear down not build up or encourage.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Grace on the Narrow Path said...

I agree with Kat. People will always judge us. So be strong in the Lord. HE will direct you, my sweet friend.

He & Me + 3 said...

Wow girly...this spoke right into my heart. When it comes to my children I do often have unhealthy fears. Mine is not just with the nut allergy but letting others cart my kids around. I have such a fear of that. I don't even like my husband to take them when I am not in the car. crazy I know. God has been working with me on that and I am slowly allowing people to pick them up for me and take them places when I need them too. I still am cautious...but God is helping me deal with that fear.
Ok...enough about my fears...
Great post.