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To Fear or Not To Fear: The Art of Not Worrying

July 3, 2019 by Amorelle Reneisha Browne (Grenada)

I can be such a worry wort. I don't know at which point I became one, but somewhere between a relatively peaceful childhood and now, I grew painfully aware of life's realities. There is so much pain and hurt in such a beautiful world. The uncertainty of it all is what gets to me.  

If...Where...When...Why...This is just the "stuff" life is made of, but these questions are my worst enemies. I hate the unknown and decision making as much as I hate packing for long trips.  I want predictability, surety, and security.  

That's how I knew it had to be God when I was called into full-time missions for two years in 2012.  

Looking back, I must have indeed seemed crazy, as many people told me I was, for leaving my secure job to join a missions organization. I wasn't sure what lay ahead, but I was sure of what I felt God saying, and that gave me a peace that ran circles around anyone's understanding — including my own. 

This was the season when one of my favorite Bible verses, Philippians 4:6, became my life motto: "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (KJV).

It was in those moments when supporters couldn't or didn't give, and only 1/2 pound of rice was left in the cupboard, or my last pair of shoes broke, or my staff fees were past due that I found myself under the mango tree, trying to live out this verse.  

I did learn several lessons, though:    

1. The best way to not worry is to take no thought of it at all.  

2. I'm surrounded by all this evidence in nature of God's wisdom and care. Surely God can take care of me.   

3.  I realize that fear floods in when I take my mind off God's ability, love, and promises and I begin holding on to the privileges of the blessings in my life.    

4. The longer my eyes wandered off, the tighter my grip on possessions and people became, and my fear of losing them all became greater.   

5. I found that when I relinquish my "rights" to relationships, money, life, etc., the fear of losing those things also leaves and then quiet confidence returns.    

To stay there is bliss. It's like I was holding my breath and now I can finally breathe again.  

That's when miracles happened: An anonymous person would give me money, or another missionary just 'felt' to buy me a month's worth of groceries (which I swear lasted three months). I'd feel so silly when I would pause to say thank you and imagine God smiling at me with a gentle, "I told you so" grin.  

Sure, other incidents continue to pop up, and panic knocks at my heart. But I've learned to choose to not care. Seriously. How can I and Christ both be Lord of my life? How could  I "cast my cares" on him and yet still hold on to them?  

It's become my ultimate peace of mind. Just when I'm not thinking about it, in the quiet peace of my mind, a quiet solution speaks or an answer finds me at my door.  

The Bible says "fear not" 365 times! That's one for each day of the year — except for leap years. So technically, I'm allowed to be fearful one day every four years! Not bad...But I haven't decided exactly which day that should be since God is with me every single day.  

In this life of unpredictability, I have an expected ending for every unexpected turn: God is always with me, and I'm always loved.

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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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