fearFear. I have a lot of it.

I’m afraid that I won’t get into grad school. I’m afraid I won’t find a job for the summer. I’m afraid I’ll be lonely when my friends graduate and leave Austin and I have another semester here. I’m afraid of the unknown.

Today I ask simply that Jesus would take care of me.

Our Identity as Fearless

I worked as a camp counselor for many summers. One of my favorite weeks ever as a counselor was a week in 2010. My co-counselor was one of my very best friends. We had a cabin of 9th and 10th grade girls. We had a lot of fun and deemed it the unofficial “Lizzie McGuire” week and won the spirit award. We also talked a lot about fear. I had just finished my Freshman year of college, as had my friend, and looking back, I wonder if either of us knew what we were doing. Probably not, in all honesty. But luckily the Holy Spirit knew what He was doing.

That week we talked a lot about fear. The girls were afraid of talking to their friends about Jesus. The girls were afraid that other people would judge them. The girls were afraid that they would fall back into the same sin patterns when they went home.

Throughout the week, we talked about fearlessness. We desired, so earnestly, to be fearless. We wanted to trust that God would take care of us. To trust that God went before us. To trust that God was protecting us. But it was difficult. Because it required setting aside our own doubts and insecurities and trusting that even though we didn’t know something, God did and He does.

One day, towards the end of the week, we painted the word “Fearless” in big block letters down the side of our legs. The whole cabin went through the day like that. (Luckily, this sort of action is acceptable at a camp.) The words painted on our legs served as a visual reminder of the identity that Jesus had given us.

We had no reason to fear, because God had called out us out of fear. He has called us out of our old, scared, guilty, not-good-enough identities, and He has given us new identities. New identity that is found fully in Him. New identity that is one of trust and intimacy with Jesus.

The Unknown

Most of the time that I am afraid of something, it is because I do not know or understand something. All of my fears I listed above are for the future and for the unknown. I wish that I knew the answers to these questions because then, I would be in control. Ultimately, my issues with fear come down to issues with control. I want to be able to make sure that everything works out for me. It again becomes about making sure that my own efforts are good enough, rather than trusting that Jesus is good enough.

I constantly need God to remind me of the heart of the Gospel. I can not work hard enough to achieve salvation or righteousness. In the same way, I cannot work hard enough to make sure that everything works out just the way I want it. This mindset is silly for a number of reasons. It makes earthly comfort and safety my main concern. It places my own efforts as more important than God. It says that I know better than God does. Obviously, this is silly and sinful and wrong.

If we believe the Bible, we have to believe all of the Bible. That’s really hard for me some days. I can believe, easily, in the cross. I can believe that God loves me. I can believe that God calls me to serve and obey Him. But it is hard for me to believe that God is going to provide for my future. It is hard for me to believe that God is going to take care of me. Because of these doubts, the fear creeps back in.

The only answer to eradicating this fear is to humble myself before the Lord and to trust in Him. Because I cannot fix myself. I cannot force myself to stop being afraid. Like everything else in our spiritual walk, all I can do is ask the Holy Spirit to teach me how not to fear, to teach me how to trust in Him. All I can do is ask Jesus to take care of me.

IMG_8729_2Annie Paige is a media intern for Campus Renewal Ministries. She is a Senior at the University of Texas, studying English and Radio-Television-Film. She is also involved with Sigma Phi Lambda, an all-female campus ministry.