Randall P Garretson
To fear or not to fear
Updated: May 3
I may have shared this before, but I find it difficult to read a book, listen to a message or study scripture without processing it and applying it to my life somehow. It is in that processing stage that I discover more about who I am and who God is to me. It is where I define, test, and understand the doctrine I believe in. I do this almost daily and most of what I discover or learn, I document in writing but sadly less than five percent of what I write ever gets published in my blog, yet all of it is being saved for the book that I am writing. What keeps me from publishing most of my writings now? The fear of it sounding stupid or misunderstood by me not articulating it properly. That fear was discovered during a prayer meeting where I shared about my block in writing and when asked what was holding me back, the words that came out of my mouth was, “I don’t want to sound stupid with the things I write about.” Being transparent to people has become the norm in my life, especially after how much I saw others get set free in their circumstances, by me doing so. I am sharing today not necessarily willingly but in response to an inner knowing that I should.
It was this morning that I listened to a message a good friend sent me that caused me to look at the area of fear in my life. I looked back at the time that I was dealing with the decision of starting my own business. The question that came to me was, why was it so difficult for me to move into what I knew deep down inside that I could do but fought with for so long? What was I battling so hard that held me back? It was a spirit of fear. I was worried about the tomorrow that hadn’t even come yet. Worry was something that had paralyzed from doing things in my life. Funny thing is, I almost always wound up fighting my way through, but it didn’t have to be that hard. I think that is why Matthew 6:34 is one of my favorite life verses. Interesting side note, 34 is my God number. It is a number that He and I have (share) a “thing” together with for many years. The time 6:34 on the clock is a something that I see almost daily. So much that one day I looked up all the verses in the bible that matched 6:34 to see which one spoke to me most and this one has so much meaning.
Matthew 6:34 – “Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.”
Somewhere along the road of life, I believed a lie. The lie that I was not good enough, the lie that I would fail if I stepped outside the box of my comfort zone. It was the fear of failure and the fear of looking stupid and not being good enough. If we can be lied into believing we are not good enough, we come into agreement with the liar, giving them the authority over our lives in that area. Our enemy prowls around looking for the weak and attacks us when we are vulnerable or separated, these attacks typically happen during our childhood before we know God or before we accept His word. Even during the times that I fought fear based off what I knew to be true in the bible, I would find myself waking up from my sleep-in fear when my guard was down. A full-on anxiety attack with no validity to support why I had those fears.
In the story of stepping out to start my own business and leaving the rut of what I thought was my security, I found myself imagining the worst about something that had not happened and that most likely would not happen. I basically rejected the truth for fear of failure or not being good enough. My focus on the “what if’s” gave power to a lie that was being told to me. How were those lies being conveyed to me? In my thoughts. I am a firm believer in the statement that, your thoughts are not always your own, and you will probably never understand that if you don’t believe in the spirit realm because there is a battle of good and evil taking place all the time and all around us in the spirit realm.
1 Corinthians 2:14 - The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
We, humans, are made up of Body, Soul, and Spirit. Our body being our physical self, our soul being our mind, will and imagination, and spirit being the eternal part of us that connects with God.
John 4:24 - God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth
I understand that I am getting off track and that is a topic for another discussion, but things are being said to us in our thoughts and we produce imagery to them. It then becomes our minds’ process of thinking and imagination that can throw us off track and question the things that God promised or told us or our identity of who we really are. We tend to default imagining the worst possible outcome which paralyzes us from moving forward in faith and this is where the battle begins. We trade our faith for fear and give power to our enemy. We go against the grain of what we know in our Spirit (connected to God) and trade it for a lie. Something that just simply isn’t true. I grew up in Orange County, Southern California and when I was eight years of age my parents divorced. My mother, siblings and I moved back to my mother’s hometown in Royal Oak, Michigan and we kids had what you would call a long-distance relationship with our earthly father. I did not grow up with a father present in my daily life. I believe that this is when I developed and orphan mindset. I also understand that I witnessed much of my mother’s struggle raising us three kids as a single mother. We went from what most would call a wealthy lifestyle to not having a whole lot of money at all. It was about necessities not luxuries, wants and desires. My mother did her best to provide our needs and I will say she did an incredible job of it. It is something that I’ll never forget and a lot of good came from that learning and understanding however I witnessed much of her sacrificed and pain to provide and that is when I believe it may have developed a poverty mindset. These two mindsets would stick with me throughout my life, lying to me that I would never make it and would only fail. You see, it is times like this when our enemy steps in to plant those seeds of lies and unfortunately until we find God and renew that way of thinking, we will continue to fight that fight, over and over. Once we find Him and discover His truth, we have a period of undoing a lifetime of damage from those lies. This is what we call changing our mindset, or better yet the renewing our minds with the truth.
One of the most memorable set of words that my earthly father spoke over me was "Son, you are a Garretson, you can do anything you put your mind too” he said it often over the phone and I can still hear those words in my head to this day. I try to pass those similar words on to my children as best as I can. Understand that if someone is told something enough, they will eventually believe it and that proves the power that words can have in a person’s life, the power of the tongue to bring
life or death to lift up or tear down. Hearing those words and watching my mother, this strong woman rising above all circumstance’s life threw at her, gave me so much strength and identity that deep down inside, I believed I could do anything. Even with that belief I see now that I had an enemy who hated me even more because of whose image I was created in and throughout history our enemy understands humanity and how to attack us. There was something missing in my life that I needed in order to deal with my abandonment, poverty, and fear. I had to discover who God was for myself. I had to have a relationship with my heavenly Father to understand Him and know Him. I had to learn how much He truly loves me and through that I found I could hear His voice saying, "Son, you are my creation and design, you can do anything. I love you unconditionally” It is true that God makes all things work together for good for those who love Him. I can find all sorts of good even in the short story I just shared.
I know this read was a bit long, but I would like to leave you with a few things I have learned about fear and share it with you
God does not give us fear. Fear is a spirit and is the enemy. Fear is real, but it’s not the truth, fear is a lie. I’m not talking about foolish fear that contradicts wisdom and truth causing us to do stupid things to test it. You should be afraid of defying wisdom like running across the freeway claiming you won’t get hit and killed by the speeding cars. I’m talking about the fear that goes against who God created us to be like believing the lie that you will fail. God gives us the authority to tell fear to leave and He gives us grace in the process to empower us to control our anxious, unsettled minds.
2 Timothy 7 - For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.
John 8:44 – He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies
We cancel fear with faith. Faith in our God who is more than enough and promises us the opposite of what the lie is trying to get us to believe. When we choose to have faith in God, it essentially says, “My God is greater than this lie, situation or circumstance, I will trust Him and have no fear.”
Psalms 112:6-8 - Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.
We remove fear with perfect love. Not that our love must be perfect but understanding the perfect love our heavenly Father has for us. When we understand all the good, He has for us in His truth, we don’t fear the lies that come at us because we have the courage to face anything. Courage is not the absence of fear, it is knowing what to do when fear comes at you.
1 John 4 - There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us
It was the perfect love of God that restored my way of thinking. That renewal of my mind that showed me how much He loved me no matter what was happening in my life. He wants the best life for us, He wants us to live in abundance and in the kind of love that surpasses all understanding.
Gratitude dismantles fear. One of the key postures we can take in life is being thankful. Thanking God opens the door for His blessings and breaks the power of the enemy because it shows our love and devotion to God. Thanksgiving has biblical promises of His goodness built in. I have found it to be true that when I started giving thanks for me and my family’s health and provision, I saw increase in both those areas take place. That shouldn’t be the purpose of our gratitude, but it certainly was a result I could not help but noticed.
1 Chronicles 16:34 - Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!
James 1:17 - Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows
Philippians 4:4-7 - Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.
I hope this was a good testimony for you and I encouraged you to read “Ephesians 3:14-21” I love to read it; it is my prayer for you and its empowering.