I We all face obstacles in our lives; this is a fact that most people will agree with. Some obstacles come from our own doing, and some are the affects of others on our lives. I think that most people would agree that these two ways obstacles come about our easy to spot. We know when we have messed up even if we don’t want to admit it and we are very quick to point out when someone else has put a roadblock in our path. But lately I have realized that I have overlooked a very powerful obstacle that we place before ourselves, and that is the obstacle of emotions. Now don’t get me wrong, we need emotions to live a fulfilling life. The best moments of our lives are made special because of the emotions that are attached to them. Even negative emotions have their place, but what happens when these emotions are misplaced and start to dictate our reactions.
I specifically have been thinking about the emotion of fear. We have been given a fear response as part of our make-up to trigger a response in case of danger. But here is the tricky part; we very seldom are in instances where we are in grave danger. This isn’t olden times and we don’t dwell among bears (if you don’t watch SNL, never mind). Of course, we need that fear trigger response in case we do find ourselves in a situation that can be harmful. But why do we find ourselves triggering that response on sometimes a daily basis? Are there areas in our lives that bring about fear more than others? And what happens to us when we start bringing this obstacle of fear into our lives when it’s unnecessary?
In my own personal experience, relationships have brought about a lot of fear. There is the fear of being hurt, or the fear of being alone (ouch). In regards to our future, we can fear how we are going to make ends meet, or if this next endeavor will be prosperous. In this world, we could go on and on with the things that we fear, but what we can’t do is make an obstacle course of them. When we hold onto our fears, our life starts looking like a 100 meter hurdle race; just as we get over one, here comes another. Our lives become more of a series of reactions instead of truly living. That trigger becomes something that paralyzes us instead of saves us.
We need to remember what God says about fear in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind.” Yes, he gave us a response mechanism in times of true danger, but that was not meant to find place in our daily lives. And I love that last part; he gave us a “sound mind”. This can help us evaluate our fears so we can determine how to respond to them and not just have a knee-jerk reaction. Sometimes fear will get the best of us, and we might act hastily. But we can always go back, reevaluate and start the next moment living in a spirit of power, love and sound mind, just as God has intended.