Are we scared of the wrong things?


I opened the back door.

The rabbit froze immediately. Terrified, I could tell. I’ve had that look in my own eyes.

But what he didn’t know was this: There was no danger. Zero. I wasn’t going to hurt him.

  • How many times have I awoken in the night to a noise I was sure was a thief?
  • Or imagined my husband was late because his truck was in a ditch?
  • Or that the virus going around was already inside me, too?

And instead, none of those things happened. None of them were going to hurt me.

Not this time anyway. Bad things do happen. I know. I’ve had them happen to me. You, too. And we will again.

But most of the things we worry about don’t happen. It’s unlikely you’ve had Ebola, been targeted by a terrorist attack, or been bitten by a shark (or even a snake).

Are we scared of the wrong things?

Jesus said we shouldn’t be afraid of those who can only kill our body (Matthew 10:28).

The second half of the verse says only be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell.

But we know that if we are God’s, we don’t have to be afraid of him either.

So what if instead of wasting our mental energy worrying about our safety, we took Jesus at his word, and refused to be intimidated by our bully brains?

What if we just said to each day: I welcome whatever comes today because God knows about it (Matthew 10:29). Even if it’s something scary and deadly, my hairs are numbered, I’m more valuable than sparrows, and God claims me as his own (Matthew 10:30-32).

  • Through life.
  • Through death.
  • Through eternity.

I’m getting better at releasing my worry, by the grace of God. The more I stay in the now, the more I see his grace and uncover his peace, no matter what happens.

But I still have plenty of room to grow. I won’t give up now.

I watched the rabbit a little longer. As long as I was perfectly still, so was he.

But as soon as I moved, away he hopped, as fast as his legs could carry him. To perceived safety. From a perceived threat.

Or so he thought.

I don’t want to be a rabbit.

* * *

Are you a worrier? How do you overcome it? Please share in the comments.

36 thoughts on “Are we scared of the wrong things?

  1. Cheryl Smith

    Such true words! No wonder the Bible says that “fear hath torment”. I have struggled all my life with this, but lately God has been telling me over and over that HE wants to be my all in all. The more I lean into that and learn to trust that truth, the more secure I feel. It is a lifelong, ongoing battle, and all part of a process of teaching us what it means to really trust God. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. God bless you, Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I struggle with this as a lifelong thing too, Cheryl. For whatever reason, the Lord hasn’t chosen to remove this thorn in my flesh either, so I have to keep returning to him over and over in repentance and in trust. You’re so right that is is a process of education from God in trust. God bless you too!

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    The question of fear is one I’ve been thinking about quite a bit, in recent months.

    I guess it comes down to this, for me…that being fearless is beyond my ability, but being able to control my reactions well enough to keep working in a coherent manner in the face of what I dread is something to which I can aspire.

    To be sure, it can be learned. When I was a kid I didn’t want to jump off the high board at the local pool, so I practiced by jumping off roofs.

    To overcome the fear of pain (Give Blood, Play Rugby) I deliberately put myself into places where I would be hurt. I never learned to enjoy being hurt, but I realized that I could face it.

    Today, with a physical situation that’s deteriorated to the point where I don’t know how bad the rest of the day will be – I know it will be bad – all I can do is to live each moment at its time. If I get through this one, chances are I will get through the next one.

    It’s too much for me to welcome whatever might happen…while I’m in God’s hands I still have to deal with it here, and I know that everyone has a breaking point – even me, as unlikely as that might be to my chest-beating alter ego.

    What I can do is my best, both for myself, and to set an example, even if no one else is watching…not even God.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “being fearless is beyond my ability”
      Hmm…truth spoken, Andrew. I totally agree with that. We can’t always control in the moment what frightens us. We can only do mental and spiritual work ahead of time to change our thought patterns (when possible) and then work on our reactions afterwards. All by the grace of God. You seem to have a higher tolerance for fear than I do–perhaps it’s because you trained yourself for it. That’s an interesting thought. This week my spiritual practice in The Soul of a Pilgrim is “The Practice of Being Uncomfortable.” Sounds like not running away from fear fits the bill.

      One day at a time, one moment at a time. Yes, brother.

  3. Barbara H.

    I admit I do still shrink back in fear and dread from the fact that God does sometimes allow His children to go through excruciating things, but I try to focus on the fact that He promises to be with me and give me grace through everything. I still have too many rabbit-like tendencies.

    1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

      Don’t despise the rabbit…it takes a special kind of courage to stand absolutely still in the face of danger, and ice-water in the veins.

      I was privileged to walk with many brave men; all felt fear, and the bravest of them freely admitted it.

      1. LisaNotes Post author

        You’re right, Andrew, that it does take a unique ability to stay in the midst of danger and not run away. My trouble with the rabbit is that he wasn’t in danger at all—he just thought he was. That’s usually what my fears are—unlikely scenarios that I waste time and energy on.

        Years ago I believed that brave people had no fear, but as an adult I’ve learned differently. They just remain steadfast in the middle of their fear. Thanks for making that point. It always encourages me.

    2. LisaNotes Post author

      I relate to what you’re saying, Barbara. Because I know God has let us go through hard things in the past, I know that he will allow it in the future as well. But also like you say, his grace will be with us during those times. Therein lies our hope.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s almost a daily occurrence this spring with the rabbits around here. They make me laugh except they remind me too much of myself. I love when they hop to a shady spot, like I can’t see them there. 😉 I know I do the same things….

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, it does require a certain intention on our part, doesn’t it? Thankfully God gives us grace when we stay aware and even when we don’t. “He invites me to lean into Him”—love that, Linda.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      No, it’s definitely not easy to welcome whatever God sends! I rarely am successful with it. But it is a goal and I”m grateful for his grace when we are able to do it. Thanks for stopping by, Mari-Anna.

  4. Debbie

    I have panic disorder and am a rabbit ten-fold. I have been working tirelessly to give it all to God. Thank you for sharing so that I will see yet another reminder that it will work if I just LET IT GO!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      My heart goes out to you, Debbie. Panic disorders are a whole separate category of fear and I pray that God will bless you with relief from it! You are brave to continue working tireless against it.

  5. Laura

    ” I welcome whatever comes today, Lord”…oh yes, I want to start every single day saying that! It is so easy to be fearful, especially if we dwell on the bad things that have happened to us in the past. I try not to do that (keyword is “try” here). 🙂 It sounds so wonderful to stop wasting time worrying about things that will never happen, but instead focus on the beauty and the good that God puts right in front of our faces.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “Try” is a keyword for me too, Laura. 🙂 Thankfully we have a God who honors our intentions even more than our successes. May we have a week where we are more successful in giving praise and thanks even in the midst of fears!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s such a gift of grace, Bill. I’m glad worrying isn’t one of your temptations. I wish it weren’t one of mine. But God does use it to keep me returning to him in dependence; I’d just like to outgrow the temptation and keep the need for dependence. 🙂

  6. floyd

    That is a great analogy, Lisa. The gifts of our senses are so grand they become a point of weakness for us. This is a good reminder for me to revered the One who holds the world in His hands… instead of the other creatures in His palm beside us.

  7. Steph

    I’ve always been a worrier….I come from a long line of them! I can’t say I’ve really overcome worrying, but I’ve learned to just keep going – double check the doors are locked, but don’t avoid saying home alone.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I come from a long line of worriers, too, Steph. My grandmother, my mother, one of my sisters, me, and now I see it some in one of my daughters. I’d love to break it off here and now. But when we can’t (or when God doesn’t choose to break it off of us miraculously), I think what you’re doing is so good: just keep going. It’s an act of faith!

  8. Jean Wise

    I welcome whatever comes today – wow what a powerful prayer to begin each day with. will try this tomorrow. Good breath prayer too. Make me feel more open and willing and ready to receive.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love the whole Welcoming Prayer—I do better in my days when I remember to say it several times. I *know* God has everything under control, but I just don’t always let that knowledge bring peace to my spirit. But yes, when we can do that, it does open us up to be more ready to receive.

      1. Jean Wise

        And very important prayer to hold up as I am on retreat this week. Staying open and willing to wherever God leads and asking for open heart and ears to hear his lessons for me. Thank you Lisa

  9. Nicki Schroeder

    Love this Lisa! I often think we are afraid of the wrong things, but I guess that is why scripture has so many beautiful verses to remind us that God is sovereign and in control. I really love the image you created with the rabbit! You are a wise one. 😉 xoxo

  10. Jen Ferguson

    This rabbit image is a good one to to hold onto for me as I am slaying my own worry dragon. I think you are so right: we often let the “what ifs” ruin our peace in the present. I don’t want to be a rabbit either.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That worry dragon doesn’t go down without a fight, does he? But thankfully we can know that eventually he WILL lose. If not in this life, at least in the next! I look forward to the day where we don’t have to fight against the temptation of worry at all. Praying for us both, Jen.

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