By Cathy Spangler
“God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).
Fear is a pretty built-in thing. We teach our kids to “fear” a hot stove or traffic. Fear protects us from danger sometimes; in other words, it’s quite often healthy to be afraid.
So why does the Bible say, “Fear not” a jillion times?
Moments ago, I let my horse, Popcorn, out to pasture. When I opened the gate, he looked at me like I was threatening him. He snorted and backed up. I realized then that my jacket was flopping in the wind and it was scaring him. None of the other horses even noticed my jacket…they were just excited at the freedom of getting out. After I softly encouraged him, my horse finally got the nerve to pass me and gallop away as fast as he could.
Popcorn is a 21-year old quarter horse gelding that I bought about 6 years ago. He had “trust” issues when I first started riding him; he was always scared of something. Once when my husband and I were on a trail ride, an automatic sprinkler came on near us – the kind that goes back and forth. Popcorn was terrified and spun in a circle because I would not let him run away. He tripped, fell, and pinned my leg under him.
After an overnight hospital stay, I recovered. But I realized that now I also had a problem with fear. When I rode Popcorn and he got scared, I became scared, too. A year later, Popcorn got spooked and fell down with me again! I wasn’t hurt this time, but fear was something I had to master to even get on him.
When I brought this whole issue to the LORD, He pointed out that my fear was not just relegated to riding Popcorn. In fact, my fear was keeping Him from using me in different areas of my life.
I’m afraid to drive in cities.
I’m afraid I won’t be liked or effective.
I’m afraid to get up in front of people.
I’m afraid of conflict or confrontation.
It seemed like God was saying, “I tell you to ‘fear not’ because fear comes between us. Your fear needs to be replaced by trust quickly or this spirit of fear will get a foothold. It is robbing you of your power, your love, and your sound mind! Get rid of your fear by stirring up your faith!”
Because of his continued fear, I can no longer ride Popcorn. It is so disappointing! That horse is a beautiful, sweet, little guy that I cannot use at all. May it never be said of me that God loves me, but He can’t use me because of my overwhelming fear. No – I’m repenting and renouncing my fears. I am replacing fear with faith, and saying to myself every day, “I DO NOT HAVE a spirit of fear, but of POWER, LOVE and a SOUND MIND!”
How about you?
Thanks for publishing my story, and coaching me. May God reward you for sacrificing your time for me!
The pleasure is ours, Cathy! Thanks for writing – and praying!