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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“The Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”— Proverbs 29:25 (NIV)
I’ll never forget that gut-twisting day I called Janet Parshall for a live interview to talk about how God saved me from multiple near-death experiences. My anxiety started the week before when I read her bio and learned that her show broadcasted throughout America and potentially reached millions of listeners. I obsessed over her webpage that said, “Her passion is to ‘equip the saints’ through intelligent conversation . . . ” (emphasis added). My tummy twisted.
I thought, Does she know I failed the fourth grade? That I’m dyslexic and like to process my thoughts before speaking?
I knew during her live show that she’d rattle off questions, and I’d have to answer effortlessly, confidently, even intellectually. “Lord, help me,” I prayed. The fear of what I’d say, what questions she’d ask, what her listeners would think, and maybe that they’d doubt that God actually saved me. Or worse, that I made this story up to sell a book. Endless anxious thoughts entangled my brain; so I started asking friends to pray for a miracle, to pray for peace, and let’s be honest . . . to pray for someone else’s intelligent words to flow from my lips.
For seven days I drained my energy by fearing my interaction with this powerful woman of God and her large audience, until I realized that my nervousness was from the one thing God called me to do: speak. My only job was to open my mouth and let others see that we serve an amazing Savior. But I feared the opinions of others. Anxiety is a snare, a noose that slowly tightens with each worrisome thought, and it’s right where the enemy loves for us to be: trapped.
A week later, with a surrendered heart, I finally whispered one last prayer for help, then dialed into the show. And wouldn’t you know that Janet was the perfect host and gently guided me through each question? But we all know the truth . . . God orchestrated our words, because as soon as she started talking, the anxiety fell from my shoulders and I actually enjoyed the conversation.
When we trust in ourselves and try to please everyone, that’s when the fear of man fights against our faith and weakens our soul. Praise God that when we depend on Him, He protects our steps and opens the door to freedom.
DIG: Trusting in the Lord is the pathway to worry-free living. Why is this so difficult? Take a moment and ask God why your fears of others keep bombarding you. Quietly sit and wait for a few minutes with pen and paper in hand, and write down what you believe He is saying.
DISCOVER: Next, meditate on Proverbs 3:5, 29:25, and Psalm 37:5.
DO: Do you truly believe these Scriptures; that when you trust in Him, He’ll keep you safe? All day today when those worrisome thoughts pop back into your mind, reread what you wrote, and meditate on the Scriptures, verbally reminding yourself of what God shared.