Call it anxiety, fear, nervousness, dread, or uncertainty, most of us know it. Before an event, after a diagnosis, in the middle of the shooting, watching the inevitable accumulation of pressure.
You can fight fear with your own strength. Practicing until you can’t get it wrong, working out for hours, planning all the steps, anticipating every question.
You can fight fear with positive attitude. Wall plaques and post-it notes of mantras and wise sayings.
You can fight fear with your allies. Building networks and allegiances and treaties and contracts. Buying literal and metaphorical insurance.
You can fight fear with medication. In a healthy way, this can rectify chemical imbalance. In an unhealthy way, this can create other fears.
The psalmist fights fear with worship. Not going to church, not spending Sunday morning in a particular place, though that can help. Or Saturday evening or Monday. Not seeing friends, or singing happy songs. All of those fit the other categories about.
Instead, the psalmist writes, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”
This clarity about dealing with fear involves learning how God is the light we move toward, that illuminates our paths and our lives. This involves acknowledging the layers of our fears and turning toward the presence of God as the place to rest (or, as my friend Cheryl is always telling us, the place to “abide”.)
It’s a good project for a weekend when the structure of the rest of life relaxes a little and we find ourselves lost and afraid that we aren’t keeping up. Talk with God about being our stronghold, our fortress, our safe room, our sacred space. Talk with God about how much we want to not be afraid. And find rest.
The whole of Psalm 27 makes a good reading for guiding that process.