Does fear cripple you? With a million different reasons to be fearful, there’s one simple thing that can silence all of it—Christ.

What scares you most? There are plenty of phobias out there. If you fear string, it’s called Linonophobia. If you fear the great mole rat, that’s Zemmiphobia. Arachytabuteraphobia is a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. Do you have this phobia? My dog did. Our Shih Tzu-Maltese cost us about a hundred dollars per brain cell. Each time a thunderstorm arrived, Mojo would climb beneath the bed and shake.

Stormadogaphobia, I think it’s called.

Fear can be a healthy thing. For some, fear of jail is the beginning of wisdom. Fear of lung cancer helped a friend of mine kick a pack-a-day habit. Fear of licking metal doorknobs in winter has kept me from doing this a second time.

Has any culture experienced more fear and paranoia than ours?

Recently I’ve been warned that we should…

  • Never combine shrimp and Vitamin C. This causes death.
  • Avoid sitting on hotel bedspreads.
  • Or opening a public bathroom door without using a paper towel.
  • Only hold your cell phone to the left ear. Right ear usage directly affects the brain.

The only benefits of fear and paranoia that I can think of are high blood pressure, irritability, itchiness, heartburn, and sleeplessness. Fear gives small things big shadows. It steals our laughter. How can we laugh when we that next round of layoffs could be coming? We fear the future. Terrorism. Loneliness. Flying. Sickness. Public speaking.

Few things smother our joy like fear.

As a kid, I lived in terror that my parents would be killed in a car crash. It paralyzed my ability to enjoy lunch, recess, food, and life. One day I spied a picture by my Mom’s bed. On it was a Bible verse, from Isaiah 26: “You wilt keep the one in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.” Those were some of the first words I ever read, yet I’m just beginning to understand them. Each time I strap myself into an airplane or lay awake wondering about tomorrow, I must remember to fix my mind on a God who is entirely trustworthy. To cast all my care on the One who hears our prayers knows our needs, and promises his presence.

Fear can be good, but for the most part, it’s as useless as mudflaps on a turtle. So I’m gonna go make myself a peanut butter sandwich. And then see if the dog wants some.

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