Alien Abduction and Other Perils

When I was a little girl, I remember waking in the middle of the night, terrified once again by a recurring nightmare. Aliens: I believed that they were actually plotting to kidnap me, quietly waiting to emerge from those foreboding shadows to snatch me away from my family. Longing to remain on planet earth, I’d wrap a blanket around myself, pulling it over my head so that only my eyes and nose were showing, then would tiptoe to my parents’ room. I’d crawl into the bed between mom and dad, calmed by the rhythm of their sleeping breath, soothed by the protection that their presence offered.

Sadly, I’ve been living in fear of things no less ridiculous than alien abduction. I’ve realized lately how much I’ve let fear take a hold on my life.

I suffer from a fear of being left out. I’m terrified that I won’t be enough, that I won’t have enough. I’m scared of failure, of letting others down, of having nothing valuable to contribute. I’m terrified of speaking up. I’m wary of what the future may bring.

It’s quite pitiful, honestly. More than that, it’s exhausting. I’m quickly learning that a life that bows down to fear is no life at all—it’s bondage of the soul. It's enslavement. Captivity. Fear robs us of life. It bares and magnifies our every insecurity until we doubt our worth, our capability, our purpose, and our very identity.

We are only human though—we will be frightened from time to time, and that's okay: uncertainty is inevitable; there will most always be things that make us uncomfortable or even anxious; and some fears are even good—God-given defenses against dangerous things. But when fear is twisted from its protective purpose, it is actually crippling, paralyzing us so that we can no longer do the good work to which God has called us. And this is exactly what the devil wants it to do. I know that when I’m scared, I’m utterly useless. I seize up and refuse to step out in faith, which means I’m no longer dangerous to the enemy. When I'm hiding, shying away, coweringthis is when I'm no longer a threat to Satan's schemes.

So where do we find balance between the initial apprehension and the full-fledged submission to our fears?

When we look to the Scriptures, we see that God tells his people hundreds of times, do not be afraid. Why? Because by our very nature, we’re scared of things. It’s when we choose to feed our fears that they become a problem and evolve into sin and distrust. 

In learning to starve our fears, we keep the devil from gaining a foothold where he can terrorize and cripple us. Instead of feeding our fears with the what if’s and other haunting doubts, we should feed each insecurity with Scripture, with the ever-present promises of our gracious Provider, our Comforter, the One who gives us our daily bread when we pray for the faith to courageously ask for it.

This same God has given us life, and life to the full is what he promises to those whose faith is firmly rooted in Him. This kind of living is characterized by the freedom that comes from the courage we receive through the Holy Spirit. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of sound judgment.” {2 Timothy 1:7}

He assures us that we are carefully created, wonderfully mademade on purpose, for a purpose.

And when we fear people—what they’ll think of us, whether or not we’ll be accepted or liked—we must keep in mind the fickleness of humanity. Although we may have the approval of man for one moment, we cannot rely on humans to affirm us. Like when Jesus rode into Galilee on a donkey on that palm Sunday long ago: he was welcomed with joyous shouts of, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Ironically, these same people were shouting “Crucify him!” later that same week. The faultless Messiah himself was not accepted by all, so neither should we live under the fear that people may not accept who we are or what we have to offer.

When we abide in the Holy Spirit, earnestly praying for the courage to overcome these spiritual giants, God will work in us and provide perspective for our unsettling situations. Though we may be afraid in particular instances, when we step back and look at the big picture through the lens of eternity, these current battles we face will often seem surprisingly small. In light of the power of our God, the Maker of the Universe, these temporary terrors will pale in comparison. In the Spirit, we have freedom from worldly fears, and we are best able to glorify our Father when we are living in this freedom.