Fear of the unknown or irrational fear is the fear of anything that is beyond one’s comfort zone, caused by negative thinking which arises from anxiety. Fear and anxiety are interwoven; fear can be inspired by anxiety and vice versa.
Fear of the unknown is the kind of fear experienced about a person or a group of persons as well as situations that are perceived as strange or foreign.
Fear of the unknown robs us of Gods best; it hinders us from having fruitful relationships with both God and man; It hinders us from taking steps that have the potential of yielding positive results, it makes us break natural laws (which are without consequences) in our bid to control the outcome of every situation; This ultimately becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy:
“What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me” (Job 3:25)
Reasons we fear the unknown:
- Life is uncertain
- Past unpleasant experiences.
- We don’t have sufficient or satisfactory information about the unknown.
- We are afraid of changes because we like stability.
- We cannot define something that we have not experienced yet.
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome; it is the expectation of future threat which birth a strong desire or concern to do something, set us up to overreact to situations, develop defensive behaviour patterns, watching (and waiting) for signs (and occurrences) of danger, expect the worst-case scenario in everything, withdrawal from situations which have provoked anxiety in the past.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7)
“And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? (Luke 12:22-26)
Behavioural effects of anxiety may include:
- Constantly being on guard in case something bad happens.
- The belief that by thinking about all the things that could go wrong, we will be better equipped to handing their worse fear, should it happen.
- Becoming proactive in forestalling our fears by doing everything we can to control and stop them from happening, without realising that we have set ourselves up for failure.
- Discrimination or the rejection of persons or situations we are less familiar with.
- Relying on our understanding of past experiences to control and prevent future reoccurrence. We fail to trust and rest on Gods sovereignty; bearing in mind that the outcome of our individual and corporal lives are in His hands, His authority, His power—not ours.
Daniel 3:15 “Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what God will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leapt to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”
They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”
25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Highest God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire.
This is a total trust in God and a rest in his sovereignty, exemplified. These three young men knew they were not of this world; they knew that no matter what happens, it will ultimately work out for their good, and saw it again to die.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”(Philippians 1:21).
They trusted and submitted, with reckless abandon to the Lord to direct the cause of their lives, and the name of the Lord was glorified in the end.
“LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps”.(Jeremiah 10:23)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Pet 5:7)
“He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid until he looks in triumph on his adversaries”(Psalm 112:7-8).
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:32-33)
Why do we get anxious about the things that cease the matter the moment we close our eyes in death?
Most of the anxieties we suffer are as a result of misplaced priorities;” pitching our tents here on earth instead of with the Father.”
We are instructed to seek first the kingdom, with the promise to have every other thing (and YES! the very things we worry about) added unto us; but we have gone our own way and relied on our own understanding to fix our problems. We become anxious when we fail to cope with the amount of burden we have placed on ourselves.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”(Matt 11:28-30)
No matter what your situation might be, always remember, “
You are not of this world”, and one day, it will all be over.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; belief in Me as well. 2In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going”(John 14:1-5).
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal”(Matt 6:19).
Let pitching your tent with the Father be your utmost priority today.