Control, Fear, Perspective, When Fear Tests Our Faith series

Fear (Series): When We’re Not In Control

JeanneTakenaka 

Have you ever read a passage in the bible—one you’ve read many times before—and God just speaks to you? 

I don’t know how many times I’ve read about Saul’s and David’s lives. But this time? The Lord has shown me many things I never considered before. I noticed how differently Saul and David responded to fearful situations in our lives.

Maybe the stories of these two men spoke so deeply to my heart because I, too, have dealt with fear. I discovered some valuable, timeless lessons to take away from their examples.

Over the next few weeks, I’m sharing some insights God has given me. If you’ve missed past posts, you can find them here. I hope you’ll share your thoughts, struggles, and victories here so we can all encourage each other, and maybe even pray for each other.

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Please tell me I’m not the only one who begins to tremble when life spirals out of control. I suspect we’ve all walked through those seasons. Last fall and winter left me reeling as thing upon thing piled on my shoulders. Time demands. Emotion demands. Soul-sapping demands.

Everything felt out of control. 

I couldn’t breathe deep. There were many unknowns . . . things going on with our boys and with my mom after her fall. 

I scrambled from one task to the next because so much was bearing down on me. I had no control over how any of it would turn out. Some days, life seemed to want to chew me up and leave me in pieces.

Perhaps that’s how Saul felt the day the Philistines came, declared war, and demanded that they select one man to fight their one man . . . a hulking giant of a warrior named Goliath.

Saul and the army were afraid of the guy. Daily Goliath bellowed his challenge, and basically called them chickens for not sending a man to fight.

Did Saul sit in his tent and listen to fear’s lies? Did he believe that the outcome of the battle was solely on his shoulders? Since God’s spirit had left him, who did he have to listen to but his own counsel? The burden of leadership crippled him.

Fear attempts to gain the upper hand in our thinking, in our hearts.

Saul had no control over his army, much less the Philistines. No Israelite soldier answered the challenge. Each man saw themselves as small. They allowed fear to define their authority and their ability.

None of them viewed at the situation through God’s perspective. 

When we listen to fear, we believe the lie that we must be strong, must figure out the battle plan on our own. We give ear to the lie, that the victory—the end of the battle—rests squarely on our shoulders.

When David arrived on the scene, declaring in his youthful sincerity that he would fight the giant, he must’ve rocked everybody’s reality. This young man came with a different perspective. 

Saul lived in a place of fear because he thought victory was all up to him. He had no idea how to defeat the Philistines.

David stood in a place of faith. Fear occupied no space in his heart because David knew the One who is always faithful. He knew how to walk in faith, not in fear. Though Goliath was too strong for him, David believed God was with him and would give him victory in the battle.

He moved with the confidence of one who is protected.

Most of us know the story. Saul outfitted David with his armor. But David couldn’t move in it. He knew the way to enter into battle: Trust God and use what God had given him. 

The young man took his five stones and slingshot . . . swung the sling, and with deadly aim downed the giant.

He didn’t rely on someone else’s plan. He relied on God. 

Some perspectives about fear for when life feels out of control:

Fear prods us toward decisions based on what worked in the past. In the past, Saul’s armor worked for him, but David couldn’t use it. To gain the upper hand on fear, we must rely on God in the present—believing that He’s orchestrating His plan—not obsess on how He’s done things in the past.

Fear encourages us to rely on ourselves rather than God. And, of course, this always ends well . . . said no one ever. We must trust God when life goes haywire. He’s always in control. His plans for us are always good (But not necessarily easy).

God works uniquely in each of our stories, just as Jesus healed people in individual ways. We see God’s hand and His plan in our lives  when we yield control so He can have His way. It’s easiest to yield control when we stop listening to fear’s lies.

Fear paints a far worse picture of what could happen than how reality plays out. When we listen to fear, we view situations with a “worst case scenario” mindset. But, when we look to God, He works in our circumstances. That doesn’t mean He’ll make everything “all better,” but He moves on our behalf. 

Some days, life still feels out of control. But this I know . . . I don’t have to give in to the pressure fear pushes. I can walk like David, rather than listening to fear’s lies. Because I’m the daughter of One who loves me completely.

And He’s far bigger than fear.

What about you? How have you dealt with fear that came with a “too-big-to-handle” life situation? What has God taught you during times when fear tried to control you?

This song speaks to me about how much we need God in our fearful times. I hope you enjoy it!

Click to Tweet: Fear attempts to gain the upper hand in our thinking, in our hearts

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup and #TellHisStory 

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27 thoughts on “Fear (Series): When We’re Not In Control”

  1. Love the post and the song, Jeamme!

    I’m so far past the place of fear;
    it hurts too much to care,
    and maybe God is very near,
    or way out over there.
    Wherever there’s the truth of that
    it’s not germane to now,
    because I’m down on the mat,
    and must get up – but how?
    My legs they aren’t a-doin’ well
    and my balance is really shot.
    Satan’s punch rang my bell
    and I’m dribblin’ blood and snot.
    I hear every punter’s shouted bet
    against me, but I ain’t done yet.

    (‘Punter’ is British slang for one who places a bet.)

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    1. Andrew, first, I grinned at my name. Been there, done that, my friend. 😉 Thank you for your poem. I’ve been praying for you. and though the enemy will throw his punches, you will be the victor with his arm raised by Jesus in the end. Sending very gentle hugs.

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  2. Jeanne, good morning! Thank you so much for this series on fear … I can’t think of one person I know that doesn’t deal with its intrusion into our lives … some more of us than others. You’ve let us know that we’re not the only ones, that Jesus cares, that there is hope that we’ll become wiser and stronger in the process.

    Thanks for walking us through this. I hope you are well …

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    1. Linda, you’re right. It seems fear is part of the human condition. We need to remember we are not the only ones, don’t we? At least knowing this truth gives us more courage to face fear and stand on God’s truth. On the fact that Jesus does, indeed, care. Isn’t it amazing how God uses fear against itself to strengthen us in our walks with Him?

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  3. Faith is so freeing–and fear boxes me in. When we think we’re desperate we make poor choices, which Saul is the poster boy for, right? My default is fear when things veer out of control. Fear and bad theology!

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    1. Agreed, Michele. Faith is freeing. I like your picture of how fear boxes us in. I grinned at the idea of Saul being the poster boy for bad choices in times of desperation. May we both choose to look to God when fear tries to force us into bad decisions.

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  4. Each of your photos refreshed my heart and encouraged my heart to grasp God’s hand and remember He is still in control of everything. Thank you, Jeanne! And your words are encouraging, too. I love the story of young David and his faith that God would fight for him. Love and blessings to you!

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    1. Trudy, we have to consciously remember that God is in control, don’t we? I find it too easy to get caught up in the swirl of stress and fear, and then to look into myself rather than into His face. Thank you for your encouragements, my sweet friend. Love and blessings right back to you!

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  5. “Fear paints a far worse picture of what could happen than how reality plays out.” This is so true! I love it when the Lord reminds me that “He will never leave me nor forsake me.” My fear melts. Great post.

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    1. Beth, I am being more intentional to not look to “worst case” scenarios. Because too often, they’ve been painted by fear. And, they rarely become reality. I’m thankful our Father never leaves or forsakes us!

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  6. Jeanne, I have tried & tried to read your post; but it will not come up.. Would like to read it. Praying things are going good with your boys.. hang in there..sometimes it takes years for them to mature; then they will be great men of God! Blessings, Frances

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    1. Awww, Frances. I’m not sure what happened! I can email you a copy of the post. Thanks for your encouragement with my boys, too. It does take years for maturity to happen. And, Hubs and I pray over them far more than we did when they were young. Thanks for the reminder that they will mature. 😉

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  7. You’re definitely not the only one! Your descriptions of how fear can cause us to respond are helpful. I think if we are aware of that it can help us to guard against responding like this. I particularly relate to the one about coming up with “worst case scenarios.” That is where my mind tends to go, but David is a great example of the fact that we can choose a different response.

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    1. Lesley, I agree. Being aware of how fear operates can be helpful for us so we can guard against its effects in our lives. My mind tends to go to worst case scenarios too. But, God is training my thoughts to turn to Him and focus on Him rather than on the “possibilities.” I’m so thankful God always gives us a way through hard seasons. Hugs, friend!

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  8. I’m pondering how David took off his armour and went into battle. I want to armour myself up with facts, advise, pros/cons lists, and even history (what happened when I went this way before?). All those can be seen as responsible when in fear of making decisions, however also paralyzing! And even excuses to not move in those God nudged directions! Yes, can be suffocating with all that armour on–freedom in Christ is the complete opposite.Thanks for bringing God’s direction to me today!

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    1. Lynn, I tend to be like you . . . getting as much advice and as many facts as I can. Sometimes they actually paralyze me. We all come to the point where we must choose to act in faith, rather than hide behind them, right? Thanks for sharing a bit of you here. 🙂

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  9. Great post! Fear is a liar…it says I can’t trust God, He isn’t enough. I’m learning to stand on the promises of God – as you said, depending on Him. Great offering – thank you sister!

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  10. Great post! I have read the story of Saul and David many times and never looked at it from this perspective.

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  11. Jeanne, excellent post! And one I need to read over and over again. Fear of the future can be paralyzing. I appreciate your honesty about how God is moving, not always “fixing” thing as we may wish, but He is with us. Retraining my thoughts is a must through it all. Anchored in His truth and His love, His timing and His plans. Praying I rest more fully in Him. Bless you!

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    1. Melissa, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by fear of the future. I’m so thankful God is always with us…each moment of every day. I like your word picture of being anchored in His truth and His love. May we both choose to rest in the Lord. 🙂

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  12. Beautiful post, dear Jeanne. I love your photography and honesty. Yes, I tremble too when trials overtake me. Then I remember the verse about being still because the battle is the Lord’s. His word always helps me. I run to it over and over again while I walk the valleys of this life. Hugs.
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

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    1. Wendy, you are always such an encouragement! I appreciate your reminder to focus on the verses that remind us to be still because the battle is God’s. Psalm 46:10 is one of my go-to’s. Thank you so, so much for visiting, friend.

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