My One Word: Listening to “My” Fears

I knew that when I took ‘listen’ as my one word for this year that it would, “take me a direction that I was not prepared to go.” And it has.

Over the past week or so, I have been brought to the place where I have had to listen to my fears.

Lest you think that I am a spiritually sadistic person, I assure you I am not!

But one morning I awoke with a head that was full of angry thoughts. But then I heard, really immediately, that “small still voice” which said to me, “Jim all of this is what you’re afraid of.”

It was true.

In a recent post on his website Kenneth Justice made this statement, a quote from his Uncle Bob, “Fear isn’t something to be taken lightly, it’s a heavy force that keeps people from growing up”.

Well, Uncle Bob, you do have a point!

When I posted the words “fear not” into the search engine at I found 82 results starting at me.

We read them in verses such as:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, Psalm 46:2

You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.” Lamentations 3:57

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

I think also about the Lord telling Joshua:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

And I think that when He said to Elijah, running for his life after a threat made by Queen Jezebel, “What are you doing here?” God was really saying, “What are you afraid of?”

As I consider the context of these quotes, I think that Uncle Bob’s point about fear being a spiritual growth inhibitor is true.

  • Joshua was afraid as he took both the leadership reins from Moses and prepared the ancient Hebrew people for a time of conquest. If he would have given in to his fears, Israel would have stalled.
  • Elijah was afraid even after a significant spiritual and moral victory over the prophets of Baal because of a threat. Had Elijah stayed in the cave and not taken the time for God to help him rest, some vital work that God had for him to do would have not gotten done. (Read 1 Kings 19:15-18)

It has been a painful, but liberating and essential, thing to learn in the past couple of months that fear has been a constant companion for most of my life. I really have not wanted to admit to this but it is true.

And as I have listened to my fears I have found that they are based:

  • In the false accusation of Satan himself who loves to do such a thing.
  • In my own insecurities rooted in self-pity and selfishness
  • In a weary spirit who needs to rest and renew
  • In trying to do too much and not letting go and letting God

So as I continue this journey of listening, I am finding (hearing) the voice of God say things to me which are re-framing, re-energizing, and re-focusing my attitude and direction.


Fear isn’t something to be taken lightly, it’s a heavy force that keeps people from growing up”. Uncle Bob


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