I loved baseball when I was a boy. I played every year. When I was ten years old, I had what was probably my best season. I finished the regular season with no errors and had a high batting average. It was the first year that I made the All Star team. During the All Star season accidents began to happen to me. Pitchers kept hitting me, balls would take unusual bounces and leave me bruised and bloody.
Slowly a fear began to creep into me. I began to find excuses to miss practices and games. When I did play, I found myself overwhelmed with anxiety and fear about what may happen. All they joy was gone. One day my mother pulled me aside and simply said, “Everyone is afraid sometimes. But you can’t focus on your fear… or you’ll never enjoy baseball again. Focus on what you enjoy, not what you fear.”
Fears surround us. Often they are the personal fears that stem from the problems that we each face, the challenges, the failures that we worry about. For some of us, they are financial fears that we carry around. We worry about our job performance because that affects our financial future, and many of us have struggled with losing jobs and being in that in-between land where we don’t have a livelihood. There are health issues that we fear. We fear cancer. We fear heart attacks and strokes and the list can go on. All of these are very real dangers.
In Isaiah 43:1, we read “But now, this is what the LORD says… ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’” This passage reminds us that we belong to God, and that God will see us through any trial. When we focus on our fears, we tend to forget our blessings. Eventually the fear and worry began to have a negative impact on how we enjoy those very blessings. There are some things in life that may be out of our control, but there are also things that we can do. It is only when we focus more on the blessing from God that life is truly a joy. You will never find happiness where you are going unless you take the ingredients along with you.
My grandmother used to say, “face the fear and the fear will disappear”.