kid is scared hiding under a bunch of pillows on the couch

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?

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