Fear Fakes Us Out
Fear can rule our hearts, damage our hope, and wreak havoc on our plans. But fear is often irrational, unfounded. In a sense, fear “fakes us out” of decisions we might have made, the trust we might have expended, and accomplishments that went unfulfilled. I believe in prudence. I like to study decisions and options at length. Spreadsheets with a variety of formulas that factor in variables are abundant on my work computer and on my personal computer at home. I make spreadsheets for buying cars, budgeting for the future, buying stock, calculating risk, evaluating real estate, and even calculating the supply needs for making my custom lures. I have a spreadsheet that tracks weather, temps, water levels, wind, lure use, and results for fishing! (I have been mockingly called “binder boy” for a reason.)
But prudence and paralysis are two completely different situations. In most of these cases, a decision must be made. Life is punctuated by decisions. So I seek to be prudent and not just make snap decisions based on whim. I gather data and information that help inform. I seek accountability and collaboration with trusted friends who possess relevant expertise. But I don’t end in paralysis. I act. And that prudence, that willingness to listen to other possibilities is always a help to me. I would hate for fear of mistakes or the future to fake me out of important action, and I certainly don’t want it to fake me out of my joy.
Many years ago, I read the Proverb that challenged me: “Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” In all these various decisions, I am eager for God to make a clear statement of what is right. When I have that, my decision gets fast, even if I don’t like the decision I must make. I trust HIM more than I trust ME. I’m not afraid of making a decision where He has been clear. I have found Him to be the most trustworthy advisor I’ll ever know.
When I don’t have a clear leading from scripture or prayer, I use the wisdom that He has offered. Honest calculations, seeking wisdom, leaning on people more learned than me, seeking what would reflect His character–these still guide decisions, even when I don’t have direct instruction from the Lord. I exercise prudence, but I refuse to settle for paralysis. I refuse to allow fear to have the last word.
“In ALL YOUR WAYS acknowledge HIM. . .” the proverb says. And that’s a comfort for me. I’m fallible, but I belong to Him even when I make mistakes. That one desire to acknowledge Him leads me down paths that are far more successful and far more peace-inducing than any spreadsheet will ever provide. So even in my calculations, I rest on this foundation: what He directs, I will trust. And where He has not spoken, I may wait, but I will still act. Fear will not have that last word.
Will you acknowledge, trust, consult, listen to, and revere HIS leadership as the most prudent step you can take?