Choose Trust // 1 John 4:8

Last week I wrote about trust issues. I used the illustration of trusting God like we do the ground and our favorite chair. Experience in those instances helps us develop the trust we need to stand up or relax without worrying whether or not something might give way. Experience is a great teacher. Each lesson helps us interpret what went well, what didn’t, and how we can respond differently next time we are confronted with similar stimuli.

How have you experienced God in your life? You have learned some lessons if you’ve been a Jesus follower for days or decades. One of the things that helps me in my own journey is to consider how God made me uniquely with my strengths to glorify Him and my weaknesses to rely on Him. Every single one of us has strengths and weaknesses. Some strengths are others’ weaknesses, and vice versa. We all must face our fears, because we simply cannot escape everything. So what are we to do? Recognize that we need each other. But a question comes up on occasion: is it a sin to be afraid?

In a word, no. Fear is an automatic response. You cannot control what frightens you, but you can control how you respond when you are afraid. We read in the Bible that perfect love casts out fear, but that doesn’t mean we will never get scared. So what are we to do? Choose faith. Choose trust. Connect with God. Connect with others.

Did you know that fear and faith are processed in the same part of the brain? The amygdala decodes emotions, determines possible threats, and stores fear memories. But it also helps us apply our experiences into lessons. And this is what brings us full circle. We remember how God and others are there for us, as well as the times we are there for others. We rely on our collective strength and deploy our lives to help support others and hold them accountable. This brings to mind Jesus’ greatest commandment, which is to love God, others, and self. May these relationships and connections be the tools we use to push through the fear, choose truth and faith, and rely on those God gives us to do life with.