The Semantics of Fear

God woke me up in the wee hours this morning: He wanted to talk aboutme. I asked him, “What about me?” and the impression that I got was that He wanted to talk about my being fearful of my calling.

I’m not fearful of calling in the traditional sense of “What if God asks me to do something I don’t want to do.” Instead, I am fearful because I don’t want to miss out on my calling.

I argued back and forth with Him a little about this. “Isn’t it a good thing to be fearful of missing out?” There is a sobriety that comes with keeping your eyes on His lead. He responded by simply stating, “Healthy fear.” “But that’s what I’m talking about!” He was trying to show me that there is a healthy fear and an unhealthy fear of missing out.

I think I missed the point for a while until He pointed out a subtle distinction.

It is the difference between being fearful and being afraid. Listen to the difference:

Fearful: feeling fear, dread, apprehension, or solicitude

Afraid: feeling fear, regret or reluctance

I told God I was fearful of missing out on my calling, but He wanted to show me that the healthier perspective would be to be afraid to miss out on my calling. Being fearful involves dread, and I almost see it now as a state of being controlled: being full of fear. That doesn’t sound healthy to me at all. Being afraid, however, does not involve dread. And the aspect of “afraid” that stood out to me most was the part about regret.

I do not feel dread. What I do feel is an awareness of the regret that I would face if I were to become entangled in the affairs of this life and miss out on the best that God has for me.

I will no longer say I am fearful of missing out on my calling.

This is, once again, a reminder to me that my Father does not want me to be ruled by fear.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18

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