I grew up without a fear of dogs until one cold and snowy day. While sledding at my neighbor’s house, their mean-spirited German Shepherd was released from his chain (a big chain I might add). He chose to go after me while on my sled and bite me in my meatier portion through several pair of pants. I immediately went home crying. Later, around age 15, I was riding my motorcycle past a neighboring farm and their mongrel decided he didn’t like motorcycle riders. He actually caught me, made a leap straight up and latched on to my left arm. I had several really nice puncture wound, landing my mother and me at the Dr. for a tetanus shot and wound care.
Undoubtedly, I became a little skittish around dogs, especially big dogs. But was my fear legitimized by these incidents? I believe it was. The fear was based on real life encounters with real life dogs and real life bleeding wounds to prove it. Fears can be real due to actual life experiences and fears can be false. Let me explain.
Bethany said “I do” to Derek, madly in love with him. Without reason, she struggled almost daily that Derek would one day leave her. No matter what Derek said and no matter how he reassured her, she still maintained her fear. Where was it from and why was it so powerful in her life?
When Bethany was just five years old, her father walked out of her life. She carried that fear into her marriage and was waiting for her husband to do the same one day. It was a false fear, based on no present reality or truth.
Someone once shared with me that the word FEAR could be an acronym.
When our fear is based on the real, our Father can heal that place in us by His love because His love casts out fear (See I John 4: 18). When the fear is false, His truth can set us free from the lie that is holding us captive. Our job is not to assume that all of our fears are based on truth. We can pray as they are identified and ask God what is true and what is false so that healing can follow.