In this fallen world, a lot happens that can make you feel afraid. Yet God’s love for you is far greater than anything scary that happens in your life. When you become aware of God’s constant presence with you, you can overcome fear in any situation. Pursuing wonder can help you notice God’s presence. Wonder prevents your life from shrinking down to the level of your stress and fear. It enlarges your perspective, so you can see beyond your circumstances to the loving God who is greater than those circumstances. Here’s how wonder can help you break free of fear:
Wonder Helps You Overcome Worry
When you experience wonder, your focus shifts from your uncertain circumstances to your reliable God. Wonder gives you a greater perspective on even the most worrisome situations. Feeling awe pushes worry away and points you toward God, who can empower you to successfully deal with any situation.
Life in this fallen world includes an endless list of troubling possibilities – from declining health and to job losses. You can allow worry to run rampant through your mind, but Jesus offers you a better way. In John 16:33, he tells you, “In me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.” By connecting with Jesus for peace, you can discover the wonder of his constant presence with you.
Fight courageously against worry. Reminding yourself that God is always with you can keep you grounded in reality, where you can grow beyond your fear and closer to God. Don’t pay attention when worry assaults your mind. Worry is completely useless. It doesn’t have the power to prevent anything bad from happening in your life. Nor does it have the power to accomplish anything positive for you.
However, focusing on God’s presence – which wonder helps you notice – can shrink your worries down to insignificance. Joshua 1:9 urges: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
It’s natural to feel afraid sometimes. But you can choose how you respond to those feelings. You can’t stop anxiety from entering your mind, but you can ask God for help by turning your worries into prayers. Whenever you become aware that you’re worrying about something, choose to pray about those concerns immediately. Be willing to intentionally pursue wonder despite the fear you feel. The journey of waking up to wonder can start in whatever circumstances and state of mind you’re in since God is always willing to meet you where you are.
Wonder Helps You Overcome Insecurity
Experiencing wonder can help you stop feeling self-conscious and instead start being conscious of God’s work in your life. When you’re afraid, you’re preoccupied with yourself, and that can cause you to miss God at work right there with you. If you’re focused too much on what other people may be thinking about you, you’ll miss the wonder of what God wants to do through your life.
The negative self-talk going through your mind when you feel insecure doesn’t reflect what God thinks about you. From God’s perspective, you’re a person of infinite value who is worthy of love. While living in a society that can make you feel like you’re not enough (attractive enough, smart enough, rich enough, etc.), you must be intentional about viewing yourself the way God sees you. God loves you completely and unconditionally. The Bible declares that, through a relationship with Jesus, you can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence” (Hebrews 4:16). The security God offers you through a relationship with Jesus can never be shaken. As you walk away from insecurity and toward confidence, you’ll wake up to the wonder around you simply because you’ve given yourself permission to look for it.
Discovering the wonder in your life will give you the greater perspective you need to see yourself as God sees you – someone who is beloved and who never needs to live in fear. Through the lens of that greater perspective, let go of any hold that fear has over you because of your past mistakes. Confess your past sins, repent, and accept God’s forgiveness and help to learn and grow. Enjoy the wonder around you right now and let it teach you to enjoy the God-given gift of each present moment to the fullest. Let wonder inspire you to look toward your future with hope. Choose to stop assuming the worst about your future and start expecting the best, because wonder has shown you that God is truly at work in your life.
Wonder Helps You Connect with God’s Peace through Prayer
People from all religious backgrounds connect peace with wonder. A Pew Research Center survey shows that 59 percent of Americans say they feel a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being at least once per week, while 46 percent report feeling a deep sense of wonder about the universe at least weekly. Peace is a wondrous gift from God, and a relationship with Jesus is the way to experience the ultimate sense of peace. Jesus promises you: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Experiencing wonder inspires you to accept and open that gift day by day.
The kind of peace God wants to bring to earth is known in Hebrew as “shalom” and refers to complete well-being. You can experience shalom within yourself, with other people, and with God.
Pay attention to persistent fears in your life. Do you struggle with worrisome thoughts? Are you allowing insecurity to limit your experiences in life? Are you infected with anger because of people or situations you fear? Are you struggling with a bad habit or even an addiction that fuels your fear? What specific types of fears run through your mind on a regular basis?
Encountering wonder can motivate you to take the steps you need to take in prayer to break free of fear in your life. In John 14:16, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit an “advocate” (the part of God who will guide you to make the best decisions). You can kick fear-based attitudes out of your mind with the Holy Spirit’s help. Whenever someone or something triggers fear in you, choose to pray about that fear instead of wallowing in it. Intentionally release the fear you feel to God and invite him to help you in the circumstances behind that fear. God will always meet you where you are when you reach out to him.
How can you start praying regularly about what scares you? Pray about every fear specifically. Ask God to help you trust him more with each of those concerns. Whenever negative thoughts enter your mind, purposefully replace them with positive ones. Whenever you’re tempted to slide back into a fearful behavior, ask God to empower you to resist and overcome temptation. Seek to know and love God more.
Wonder inspires you to move closer to God – and the closer you become to God, the less you’ll struggle with fear!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Doucefleur
Whitney Hopler is author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including Crosswalk.com, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and Dotdash.com (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.