What Fears Are Shaking You?

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This snake and I surprised each other on a West Virginia trail!

My husband and I were enjoying the day in West Virginia with a hike. There were many sunny spots on the trail, but this one in particular stopped me in my tracks. The snake directly in front of me was enjoying the same day by soaking up the summer sun.

Of course, the snake was bigger in my mind’s eye than in reality. I am not embarrassed to admit that I have a fear of snakes. I know this because of my reaction. I didn’t scream or run in the opposite direction as I was taken by surprise. I simply froze in place and began to shake uncontrollably.

Rational thinking does not change my response nor eliminate my fear of snakes. I know that snakes exist in the mountains of West Virginia. I understand that most likely I will not encounter a snake. In over 25 years of visits and hikes in West Virginia, we have seen only a handful of snakes in their natural habitat. Despite the statistics, stepping on a snake is my number one fear when we hike. Fear doesn’t have to make sense.

For many years, I was not interested in hiking the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area of West Virginia. I can trace my reluctance back to a casual comment from my husband’s grandmother. In her younger days, Grams picked blueberries (huckleberries) in Dolly Sods and occasionally would see a rattlesnake or two. Since 2015, my husband and I have explored Dolly Sods with day hikes. It is now my favorite place to hike when we are back for the yearly family reunion. Fear affects my choices.

Snakes are not my only fear. As an empty nester in a later season of life, the unknown future can instill fear. Will our money run out in retirement? Will our health hold up? Fears are a part of life. Yet, we don’t have to be afraid of fear. Fear doesn’t have to control us.

Fear is real, but God is even more real as we recognize His presence and lean into His reassurance. Fear doesn’t have to define us. Fear doesn’t have to steal our joy.

Scripture shows us how to handle fear in our lives.

Seek God.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears (Psalm 34:4).

Trust God.

 When I am afraid, I will trust in you (Psalm 56:3).

 Live out your identity in God.

 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).

And a personal reminder for me: Stand and not be shaken.

I have set the LORD always before me.  Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken (Psalm 16:8).

 

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7 thoughts on “What Fears Are Shaking You?

  1. Yikes! Indeed, nothing startles like a SNAKE! But the Lord is our comforter, an ever-present Helper in time of trouble … or time of SNAKES in our paths. Beautiful reminder but dare I say not so much a beautiful photo! Thanks, Debbie.

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  2. Yes so True Debbie fear does not have to control us although some fear is good such as warning us about not getting too close to the edge of a Mountain top or when crossing a busy road and yes not getting to close to Snakes too Yuk!

    Fear is an emotion it’s not a Sin, God reassures us so we Trust in Him instead of being fearful especially of the future and when we are Perfected in Love we no longer have this type of negative fear as the Scriptures confirm .

    1 John 4:17-19 Herein is our Love made Perfect that we may have boldness in the day of judgment because as He is so are we in this world. There is no fear in Love but Perfect Love casteth out fear because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made Perfect in Love. We Love Him because He first Loved us.

    Christian Love Always – Annie.

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  3. Great post Debbie. For me snakes don’t bother me, but my poor wife is terrified of them. She grew up in India as a missionary kid and the boys used to chase her with poisonous snakes on the end of sticks.

    I have had a family of garter snakes in the garden over the years in my back veggie garden, which my wife will not go near. I totally understand.

    This is a tremendous analogy. We all do have fears. For me it might not be snakes, but I do have a lot of other fears in my life that I need to trust God to overcome.

    Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    ~Carl~

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