The amygdala is only a tiny part of the brain, but it controls the big emotion of fear. For some people, the amygdala is the most-used area of their brain. Sadly, thousands of people allow their lives to be controlled by fear.
These fears can be big, like the fear of dying in an airplane crash or experiencing a heart attack. A fear of the dark or a fear of elevators can seem small in comparison. Try telling this, however, to someone who is almost deathly afraid of being in little spaces.
Meanwhile, other fears seem to be perfectly valid when they are directly connected to a current situation. If, for example, your employer begins to experience financial trouble, your chain of thought might go something like this: What if I do get laid off today? What if I can’t find another job? What if I lose the house to foreclosure? What if the car gets repossessed?
The size of the feared object or situation is unimportant. The amount of control people allow these fears to exercise in their lives is really what matters. Some people experience anxiety attacks that can only be controlled with medication, while other people have experienced heart attacks just because of fear. Fear can also drive you to act irrationally instead of taking the time to think through a solution.
In the Bible, David often experienced fear. The Psalms he composed continually mention fear. You could say that David had valid reasons to feel afraid. After all, his father-in-law, King Saul, tried repeatedly to kill him during a period of several years.
Later in his life, David’s own son went to war against him over the throne. Fearing for his life, David again spent a period of time in the wilderness. Nevertheless, in Psalm 56 (NIV), David said this concerning fear:
Be merciful to me, my God, for my enemies are in hot pursuit; all day long they press their attack. My adversaries pursue me all day long; in their pride many are attacking me. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word, I praise-in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
David wrote that Psalm during a time of conflict. He did not yet know if he would live or die, yet he refused to give in to fear. He chose to seek God and place the burden on Him.
Today, regardless of your fear, you can choose to follow David’s example and give your fears to God. The next time you feel afraid, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and seek God’s help. Instead of letting your imagination run away with you, follow his guidance on dealing with the situation. Take the time to listen to encouraging music and sermons.
Pastors like Ed Young can often offer words of encouragement during times of anxiety. Giving your fear over to God and deciding to trust Him does not mean your fear is any less valid. It also does not mean things will instantly change. Regardless, God still has sovereign control over everything.
He is the only one who can give a lasting solution for each and every problem you face.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!