I can still see my mom talking to me in the kitchen of our home. I was probably 10 or 12. I don’t remember anything about the interaction except this:
“Remember, God did not give you a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of self-discipline.”
She repeated that Bible verse to me often. And now I find myself repeating that verse a lot to my autistic child.
We didn’t know back then that I have autism, but God gave my mom the prescription I needed to beat back unreasonable fears.
Like most autistic people, I struggle with being fearful about situations that don’t cause fear in the general population, and are, therefore, considered things that shouldn’t cause fear. I used to feel powerless to do anything about the fear, which lead me to be selfish and undisciplined.
For example, I grew up in a small town where everyone knew me and loved and supported me. There was no reason for me to fear any authority figures. And yet, when I needed to ask for help outside of class, I couldn’t do it. By the time I was halfway through college I was able to talk with professors outside class. But that truly was an unreasonable fear that made my high school career, while very successful, harder than it needed to be.
This Bible verse helped me feel loved and empowered.
By feeling loved and empowered by God, I was able to share that love through being a more self-disciplined person.
Hmm, funny how when God has me write things, He teaches me new things as I write: Isn’t that what true love is, being empowered to choose, in a self-disciplined manner, to lay your life down for a friend.
So a new way to read this verse may be: God did not give you a spirit of fear, but he layed down his life for you so that you can have his power to also lay down your life for others.
Happy New Year with no Fear!