It Crossed My Mind: Name the Monster

What are you scared of? That simple question is something we usually want to avoid thinking about. This week, we’re going to explore the power of naming your fears to diminish their power over us.

“No Fear” by Brently Groshong

People don’t like change. At least that’s what they say. Yet change is constant. From the moment we are born there is change, every day, every moment. We don’t fear it. We embrace it. As babies, we are reliant on others for everything. We are at their mercy. We follow their plans. We know nothing of control. I believe this is why Jesus Christ often refers to children in His stories.


And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matt.18:3 (NIV)


As we grow and get a little older, a little steadier on our feet, we learn to forsake our dependence on others, and that we, and we alone, control our destinies. Yes, it is true we need to make our own decisions and make wise decisions. But there’s a little more to it. God says: 


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)


When I accepted Jesus’ never-ending gift of salvation, I gave up my right to make all my decisions, all by myself. I became an ambassador for His Kingdom. I became an extension of Jesus. I am His, and He is mine. 


Perhaps you did, too, made the same choice to follow Jesus, that is, and to let Him have complete control. More or less.


Me, too. 


We think when we relinquish total control of our lives to Jesus that he is going to change things, and we don’t like change. So we hold back a little bit.


I was thinking about this, what holds us back? Fear. More specifically, fear of change. 


When we are kids, we expect someone to tell us what to do. We expect constant change because that is what we know. As we get older and we are expected to make our own decisions, we seek equilibrium to maintain a constant, comfortable state, to live the life we were not able to do when we were kids. We make the decisions. We have control. We don’t have to change. But then we invite Jesus in, say the words about living for Him and letting him take the wheel, but we don’t really let Him take the wheel. Fear.


Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it…Fear doesn’t shut you down; it wakes you up.

― Veronica Roth, Divergent


We love movies, all sorts, especially when they come in series, like the Divergent series. If you haven’t watched them, the action-adventure trilogy is set in a post-apocalyptic world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Erudite, and Dauntless. These virtues are all desirable, especially as a Christ-follower. I want to be selfless, kind, honest, wise, and brave. But I found the Dauntless’ dedication to courage and fearlessness to be profound. The Dauntless was taught to control and overcome their fears—those things that would normally shut them down. Have you ever had to jump off a moving train onto a building to get home? Or jump into a dark, seemingly endless cavern?


Fear is a natural and human emotion. It is a biochemical response that alerts us to the presence of danger or the threat of harm, whether that danger is real or imagined. The function of fear is to help us avoid harm.


This begs the question: do we trust God or do we fear him? According to that verse from the Book of Jeremiah, God has no plans to harm us. God tells us to “fear not.” It is the most repeated command in the Bible, written some 365 times. God’s plan is not for us to live in fear, especially when it comes to following Jesus. There is no real or imagined danger. We can hand those fears over to God, our good and benevolent parent, and trust Him no matter the change. Fearless by default.


Let’s live fearless for Jackson.