Walking with Assurance (Part One: Anxiety & Fear)

Text: Hebrews_6:11  And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

There is so much that can be said about this very important and life-changing topic that I’m going to break it into two parts.

By the word “walking”, we mean living and going about your everyday life. This denotes walking with assurance of who you are and who you were created to be.

Assurance in the Bible: We’ll start off with a few references from the word of God. In the New Testament alone, that comforting and encouraging word “assurance” is mentioned five times, and it is mentioned in these following scriptures:

Acts_17:31  Because he (God the Father) hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained (Jesus Christ); whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Colossians_2:2  That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

1st Thessalonians_1:5  For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

Hebrews_6:11  And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

Hebrews_10:22  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Incidentally, all these scriptures are either recording the spoken words or the written words of that great and notable man of God; the Benjamite from the city of Tarsus, Paul the Apostle!

According to Dr. Barbara Markway, “Self Confidence is linked to almost every element involved in a happy and fulfilling life.” (Markway, 2018). This is a very true statement because it incapsulates the very essence of what it means to, not just have confidence, but to live a happy and fulfilling life because of it.

Fear and Anxiety Lose Their Grip:

Fear and anxiety are what form the foundation of a life that is lacking in confidence and assurance. These two factors come in so many forms, and stem from so many places, it is probably impossible to list them all. Some of those forms of fear and anxiety stem from such things as genetics, psychological conditions, events that took place in one’s life, and a whole host of other reasons. The one source I want to focus on is what I’ll call here, the feedback loop.

I am sure I am not the first one to point this out, but it readily comes to mind when discussing this topic. The feedback loop is a concept that is used in many areas of discussion. For our purposes, we’ll define it as that repeated echo that people hear that helps determine whether or not they should take a certain course of action. This feedback loop is inherently meant to protect us against harm and ensure one’s survival.

It may come in the form of such thoughts as “Don’t do that because you will get hurt”. We know that if we touch a hot stove, we will get burned. We learned that from somewhere. We either were told it, and we just took it at face value, or we literally touched a hot stove and learned this painful truth the hard way. Either way, the feedback loop tells us not to do that or else we will suffer a painful consequence.

It’s been said that if a child touches a hot stove, then the next time he will not touch a cold stove either. Until he learns better, that feedback loop is telling him not to touch the stove at all or else he will suffer a painful consequence, just like last time. He does not yet know that this is only true some of the time and that there are other times this is not true at all.

So it is with fear and anxiety! These two factors make use of our feedback loop to tell us not to take a risk of any sort at all, or if you do take a risk, make sure it isn’t too much of a risk! Just play it safe! Like the child who is afraid to touch even a cold stove for fear of a painful consequence, so also do many people obey this feedback loop thinking that painful consequences will happen every single time, or “just like last time”, as we’re told, when in reality painful consequences may only happen some of the time, and even this can be reduced if we learn why they keep happening and do all we can do to change our part of the equation, thus at least reducing the frequency of those painful consequences. Most things people fear will happen end up not happening very often, if they happen at all.

“Don’t do that because you’ll get hurt”, this feedback loop tells us. And so people live this way, many times their entire lives, having desires that are unmet and wondering of what could have been simply because they did not step out and take some sort of risk. I am not talking about risks such as skydiving and bungee jumping, though that might fit some of your interests. I’m talking about some of the more common, everyday things that we would like to do, and yet when it comes time to do those things, something in us makes us back up from it and go back to what we feel is safe, like checking our social media account to see who viewed our story today or to see who clicked like on that photo we shared. This feedback loop tells us that this is safe to do, and most of the time we obey it and thus try to “stay safe” through these very familiar actions.

What many people fail to see is that by putting anything out there for others to see is taking a risk that someone may NOT like it. We fall into this trap of thinking, “It is safe to post a picture because people will like it”, when truthfully, there may be and probably are, some people out there who do not like that post in the same way we think they will, or at least think they should.

For example, I am taking a risk right now by posting this article because it carries with it the potential that no one will read it, like it, or even know that it exists. But, I find my fulfillment by the fact that I took the risk and posted it at all, hoping and even expecting that it will help someone at some point, even if it’s years down the road. We all take risks when we put anything out for anyone other than us to observe.

So, why would we put anything out for anyone to see or read if it carries with it the risk of being rejected? That is a great question and should be answered, and I believe that when we understand the answer, it will set us free from that fear and anxiety I mentioned earlier, and give us a new lease on life…one we can finally and thoroughly enjoy!

So, what is something that you are afraid to do…some risk you are afraid to take for fear of what others will think or how they will respond? We may as well find our fulfillment in the fact that we took a risk, no matter its outcome, and not necessarily look for fulfillment in the outcome alone!

When you learn how to enjoy the journey of life this way, the destination is a whole lot sweeter when it if finally reached!

Next time we’ll look at part two, and I’ll introduce you to what I call “The 1,000 Pound Step”. Until then, God Bless You!

-Pastor Fulmer

Reference

Markway, B. P. (2018, September 20). Why Self-Confidence Is More Important Than You Think. Retrieved from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shyness-is-nice/201809/why-self-confidence-is-more-important-you-think

Published by Jason Fulmer

Jason Fulmer currently serves as Pastor of New Testament Christian Church, as well as Personal and Professional development teacher to U. S. Servicemembers, in the Camp Humphreys, South Korea community. His life's goal is to lead men and women to THEIR next level of living and leading through Education and Example!

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