“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.” -Isaiah 43:4-5

Fear is probably the most annoying and trickiest thing that creeps up in my life. I continuously slip into its grasp because it’s the easy choice. The whisper of fear is so tempting, and the scream of it is extremely demanding - so naturally we follow fear’s familiar voice instead of fighting to overcome it. But the truth is that fear only has one mission: to steal, kill, and destroy. You’ve probably heard this familiar phrase from John 10:10 which says the enemy only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I use it here because fear is directly from the enemy and therefore has the same mission.  When we partner with fear, we are actually partnering with the enemy and not God - God doesn’t give a spirit of fear he gives a spirit of peace and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). When we partner with fear, we stay stagnant, crippled, and only hurt ourselves. But, when we partner with God we get to walk in His love and trust that He will protect us in all ways and guide us into victory. There is a great deal of power that comes when we partner with God’s love; the screaming voice of circumstance becomes silenced when we partner with God’s love, fear doesn’t stand on any firm foundation when we partner with God’s love, and we get to rise up from any odds stacked against us and experience breakthrough when we partner with God’s love.

When Isaiah 43:4 says “since you were precious in my sight and because I love you” we can understand that God’s work for redemption is simply out of the fact that He loves us. God makes it clear that He is willing to overcome any obstacles, people and nations included, if it means that we might be saved and get to live a life walking in His love. When we do this we need to take notice of how he commands “do not be afraid.” This is one of the most widely used commands throughout the bible. God knows that fear is persistent, He reminds us time and time again not to give in because He knows it will keep coming. But He also knows that He is more powerful than any attempt that fear may take and He loves us enough to help us overcome anything that comes against us.

Here is an example for you, the infamous fear of man. This manifestation of fear is a strong one; I bet it’s pretty safe to assume many of you reading this wrestle with fear of man from time to time. Fear of man is the fear that rises up within me more than any other fear. One day when I was really struggling with this God gave me an image: I was standing on this line of sand staring at an enormous wall of water. It was terrifying. I asked God what He was trying to show me through this, He explained to me that I was standing in the Red Sea. I was about half way through it when I averted my attention to the wall of water to my right instead of the clear path before me. I became fearful that the wall would come crashing down over top of me at any moment. God reminded me to stop staring at the wall (aka the problem - aka every fear of man I was experiencing in that moment), and to start staring at the path He set before me, trusting that He had led me thus far, so He will take me the rest of the way through. It was all about perspective shift for me. So next time y’all are overwhelmed by fear, instead of letting it take over and whisper to you all of the reasons you should fear those around you and make yourself small, or all of the ways it would be a bad idea to trust people and let them in, or all the ways that you could fall short of expectations if you go after it, or whatever other lies fear wants to feed you, try turning your mind to God.

Ask God what He has to say about who He made you to be. We are all precious in His sight, and that is because He uniquely cultivated life within each one of us, He has deposited little treasures deep inside of us, and we all have something to offer to change this world. As we start to ask God what specifically these things are, we get to grow more confident in who we are and the strength inside of us grows stronger than the fear telling us these old lies. We get to boldly walk in the gifts God gave us, let go of the expectations around us, and claim that we are worthy of love and support - which makes it a whole lot easier to let others in. As we feel empowered in our own strengths we will put less pressure on what everyone else around is doing. Fear will start to flee because of the power rising up within us that tells us, “with God nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37). We will claim victory after victory simply because of who we were created to be and because the one who created us is fighting for us. Life itself will become less daunting and I can assure you it will be a whole lot more fun!  

At my church one Sunday Pastor Scott had us repeat this phrase, “Who I am is God's gift to me, what I do with who I am is my gift back to God.” I think that is the perfect way to encompass that God sees us as uniquely His, with personalized gifts given to change the world, and we all hold a powerful influence in specific areas. As we step into who He made us to be we get to honor God by receiving His love and walking out in confidence of what we have to offer, crushing fear beneath our feet with every step. So, I encourage you this next week to start owning who you are, ask God for His eyes to see how much He loves you, and step out in confidence that fear has no chance to stand when you walk hand in hand with God in the identity He bestowed upon you before you were even born.

 Author | Tori Kramer