Read Psalm 64.
I often find myself worrying about the little things. I try to play it cool and not let people know. I like control. I like feeling or at least appearing to have it all together. Unfortunately, I live in a world that makes declarations for me. I find it rather difficult to push back against those declarations at times. It usually goes as follows:
You MUST have a certain job, make a certain income, travel frequently, have 2.4 children- though not too early or too late, and then retire early. This is THE meaningful and successful life.
Social media outlets, peers, family, news outlets, et al.
As I noted in our last correspondence please remember to post another cool and meaningful insta, appear to have it all together and not let anyone have any reason to believe otherwise.
That is a lot of pressure. I internalize thoughts relating to fear or anxiety and withhold telling other people out of fear and avoidance of vulnerability. You might be able to relate to not sharing your own fears with a close friend, spouse, etc. There is nothing quite like fear compounding on fear. I start by feeling inadequate because of a shortcoming and then throw in the fear of anyone else in the Milky Way knowing I am weak and having feelings of inadequacy. Get this. I sometimes hold on to my fears instead of telling them to God. For some reason I just drift into a mindset that I need not tell Him since He is already aware of everything happening with me.
Strong, quick to stand up for himself and God, fast to fight, yet had some enormous flaws. Much to my chagrin, I predominantly think of David in a strong, Goliath-defeating, spear avoiding while completing a lyre solo… twice, mighty warrior king. This version of David seems to give fear zero room for influence. The guy is unflinchingly rigid even as a teen/young adolescent.
You are a fugitive on the run. You are hiding out underground. It is dark, damp, and cold. You are huddled together with people in a similar situation. You are gathered in a space that if someone lit a match would make visible your close quarters and thus make you claustrophobic. All you know is the dark and cold. The walls are rock and the voices and cries of others echo continuously. Next thing you know you are on the run, escaping for your life through what feels like the Sahara. You are thirsty and need shelter. However, you are still being pursued and must push on.
David, the anointed king is being pursued by Saul. David, the same one who stood across from Goliath and knocked him to the ground with a sling and stone. He is on the run. He was living in caves and scrambling throughout a large portion of Israel for four years in attempt to avoid death at the hands of Saul. During this time, we have the raw declarations and cries to God. He shares the fearful and frustrated version of himself.
“Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from dread of the enemy.” (v.1)
I often find it difficult to be this real with others. As I said before, I even fail to be this raw with God. God wants me to be real and honest with Him. Yes, He already knows my thoughts. However, there is something powerful about running to God and telling Him how I really feel.
I am not talking about “saying it” in my head. I mean the use of words, audible words. David came to God with a crying plea, “HEAR ME! My enemies are pressing me. They are seeking my life. They do not care about justice and instead actually seek injustice” (v.1,6). David is weary and frustrated but his belief in God’s ability to provide salvation outweighs any fears he could have. He knows that turning to God is the single best way to escape the entanglement of fear.
Is he afraid? I believe so, without a doubt. Is he worn down? Absolutely. Does his faith falter? Yes, at times. Yet, he starts off by turning to God and begging for Him to preserve his life. We then see David transitions to referencing God’s justice for those who oppose Him.
The psalmist continues to write, “But God shoots his arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly” (v. 7) and then we see the enemy is “brought to ruin” (v. 8). In turn, fear falls on all humankind. This fear is not the kind we feel when someone jumps from behind a corner and scares us, the fight or flight fear. It is not trepidation or terror but instead mixed with wonder and excitement. The psalmist writes of the awe humankind has at the works of the LORD. In response, “they tell what God has brought about and ponder what he has done” (v. 9).
In verse 10, David notes that his refuge is not in a cave or hidden amongst crags. His refuge is in the LORD and he reminds us that the righteous one, the upright in heart shall find complete joy in God. Because of who God is. Because of His nature, we feel elation inwardly and then it just overflows out of us.
David’s joy was not circumstantial but instead positional. In weariness and a state of fear, David was ready and willing to follow his own advice, “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Ps. 55:22). Paul reinforces this by saying, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
Some people live in a constant state of fear. We shift from fear to worry, then on to anxiety, and then back around to fear and so on. Susan Jeffers writes, “All you have to do to diminish your fear is to develop more trust in your own ability to handle whatever comes your way” (Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway). To our world, this response to fear sounds alluring but God has already given us the best way to respond to fear and anxiety. Attempting to develop trust in our ability is like running on a gerbil’s wheel. God is able and that is the first place we should run.
Is it that easy? Run to God? God is a loving father who cares for us and longs for us to make our concerns, fears, and worries known to him. After all He is the one who casts out all fear (1 Jn. 4:18).
Can we stop listening when told to turn to our own abilities? Can we stop trying to calculate our way out?
Can we stop building ourselves up in our own minds and instead take on a mindset like David?
I need to be more honest with God. Again, you might be able to relate. I need to grow in mindfulness. I long for my initial response to be more frequently a dead sprint to Jesus, relinquishing to Him the rightful position in my life. Lord and Savior, source of joy and refuge for my weary soul.
-- John Dawson