We think that fear is a natural result of knowing that something that can harm us is possible or even inevitable. I came across this IG post by Bill Johnson today, and it sparked a chain reaction of thought:
1. It’s a subject we need to discuss
I’m glad Bill Johnson shared this concept. It’s an idea that’s been said before but hasn’t caught on enough for how valid and relevant it is to our lives.
Too many people I know and love look at fear as an expression of a healthy, responsible person. This belief stems from the idea that a worried person recognizes the importance of a problem and takes some sort of action to mitigate. There are plenty of people in the world who shrug off trouble, bills, debt collectors, and wind up in bankruptcy, prison, or in hiding.
The person who believes their fear is healthy may be overreacting to a historical family archetype that behaves like an ostrich with its head buried in the sand. That type of person hopes the danger will just eventually disappear. But that’s not how most trouble works.
2. good start, but more detail needed
I wish Bill Johnson had elaborated in a more simplistic manner for those of us who need the concept of fear as worship to take root in our understanding. When Bill says, “Whatever I set my affection upon will affect the environment around me”, I didn’t feel like he said exactly what needed to be said. Let’s dive in and elaborate.
If fear is misplaced worship, then worship essentially equals focus and attention. I think Bill’s saying that we worship our fear by focusing on the problem. Our focus enlarges our perception of the greatness and magnitude of the problem. If I’m afraid I won’t be able to pay the rent next month, and I fixate my thoughts on the problem, that means I’m essentially meditating over and over and over on the fact that I don’t have the money to pay the rent, and the rent is about to be due, and there will be a serious consequence when I don’t pay it.
I’m focusing on how not paying that bill is going to change my life. I will eventually get kicked out of my home, with nowhere to live, and in shame and humiliation tuck my tail between my legs and either ask a friend or a family member to let me stay with them.
The Bottom Line
If I could bottom-line this for you, I would tell you this: The sum total of the focused attention I pay to the problem feeds the problem and makes it look much more awesome and terrifying to me.
Focus, meditation, and observation lead to awe. We’re struck by the detail we hadn’t noticed before. That awe can lead to thanksgiving, or that awe can lead to dread. When we focus on the Creator, His magnitude and goodness and majesty and mercy and justice all grow in size within our awareness. Our trust in him grows right along with the size of our view of Him.
If I give God a passing thought first thing in the morning and when I eat meals, He’s really not all that important to me in 99% of my daily life. That’s just real talk. But if I meditate on His words, His actions, and my history of experiences with Him, He fills my view. Awe grows. Admiration and affection bubble up… opposite reactions to fear and anxiety and panic.
So my trust in God grows with my worship. Worship is my God focus. My fear grows with my inverse worship. Inverse worship is my problem focus.
Am I in awe of the problem? Or am I in awe of the solution?