The Scriptures distinguish between two kinds of fear: healthy and unhealthy. For example, a protective type of anxiety helps prevent avoidable harm by warning us not to touch a hot stove or walk on thin ice. And we are commanded to have a proper fear of God. This includes an overwhelming sense of awe because of who He is—namely, Judge and sovereign King. It also involves a lifestyle of respectful obedience that honors Him.
Unhealthy fear causes us to feel tense, uncomfortable, or threatened. Its source may be a childhood experience or an authority figure’s repeated negative words. The feeling of distress becomes rooted in our thinking and colors our decision-making. Even when there’s no longer any basis for this anxiety, it may continue to inhibit us.
The imagination is also a source of fear. We can get caught up in “what if” thinking, such as, What if something goes wrong? or What if the outcome I want doesn’t come about?
This kind of agitation can block God’s best in our life. His purposes often require that we move beyond where we feel most comfortable. Learning new skills, changing jobs, or trying a different way of ministering to others could be part of what He expects. Such challenges present the opportunity to trust the Lord and obey Him.
Fear doesn’t come from God (2 Tim. 1:7). Let the Holy Spirit guide you from a place of disquiet into the freedom that is ours in Christ. There you will discover the ability to follow His plan without being hindered by overwhelming fear.