By Robert J. Tamasy
Oct. 31 marks the annual observance of Halloween in the United States, when millions of children – and some men and women – put on costumes that range from cartoon and TV characters to witches and ghosts. For many people, it seems their objective is to appear as frightening as possible.
We do not need Halloween, however, to experience fear. Everyday life and work can be scary enough. Whether it involves the threat of earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis, or more constant worries caused by an uncertain world economy, there is much that can make us fearful and anxious.
In recent days, fear has influenced sharp ups and downs of the stock market, for example. Whether the market rises or falls on a particular day often has less to do with what is actually happening at that moment than what the so-called “experts” project – or fear – will occur in the foreseeable future. News reports, even rumors, can cause chaos among investors all around the world.
Each of us experiences fear from time to time. What are you most afraid of: The prospect of losing your job? Worries about a dramatic decline in business – or not having business rebound sufficiently after a downturn? Having a colleague chosen for a coveted promotion instead of yourself? Not being able to keep pace with a very formidable competitor? Losing a key staff member – or not being able to hire a suitable replacement for someone that has already left your team?
When we recognize circumstances are beyond our control and undesirable outcomes loom, fear can become a natural response. But what if we could have confidence that circumstances were under control, being guided by someone with our best interests in mind? Would that minimize – or even eliminate – fear you are experiencing? Take a look at several things the Bible has to say about fear and how we should deal with it:
We are not alone. When confronting difficult times, or anticipating adversity, one of our greatest fears is in having to deal with those circumstances alone. God has promised those trusting in Him that He will always be with them, whether they are in the workplace, traveling, at home, or anywhere they go. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I still strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
We have a guide through difficult times. It is comforting to be accompanied by someone that is familiar with the environment and context of challenges we are facing, just as a shepherd knows the sometimes dangerous terrain where he leads his sheep. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…” (Psalm 23:4).
Fear is not our only option. Trusting in God’s providence, protection and provision can give us assurance that no matter how daunting the present or future may seem, we do not need to be overcome by fear or despair. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Until next week!
Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in Atlanta. A veteran of more than 35 years in professional journalism, he is the author of Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press) and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring: 10 Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or www.rivercitypress.net.