Scott Hodge


Spiritualizing Fear

Jul 20, 2010

Lately I’ve been thinking about the tendency we often have to spiritualize fear.  I know, it sounds weird to say it that way, but think about it for a second. (And btw, this is written out of realizations I’m coming to about myself personally.)

It’s always easier to call fear something other than “fear”.

For example, sometimes instead of calling it “fear” we call it: “using wisdom” or “waiting on God” or “being sensitive to God’s timing” – when in reality, we may be doing nothing more than clinging on to good, familiar, and sometimes even biblical ideas and using them as excuses for NOT stepping out in faith and obeying God.

I’m not sure why we I do that.  I think sometimes we just honestly don’t realize that we’re dealing with fear.  And other times….well, most of us just don’t like to think of ourselves as being “fearful” people – so we neglect taking the time to look and consider that underneath all of the jargon…..may lie (pun intended) a heaping, steamy pile of fear.

All I know is this - the sooner I can identify the existence of fear in my life, the better.  Because then I can at least deal with it how it needs to be dealt with (grace, grace, grace) and can then allow it to actually become a catalyst for greater trust and greater steps of faith in my life.

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

15 Responses to “Spiritualizing Fear”

  1. Kyle Reed says:

    The way that fear manifest itself in my life and really holds onto me is in failure. I am afraid to do something or for that matter take a risk because I could fail. That is how fear grips me. It calls me to be safe and to not take risk.

    Its almost like I want to be known as fearful instead of a failure.

  2. Oh snap. I’ve been writing quite a bit about gear on my own blog. Fear is fear. I agree with you. What’s so cool lately with me that as soon as I have begun to identify certain fears, God has asked me to tackle them. In the past I’ve been too, well, scared. But now I’m facing them head on.

    Good thoughts Scott!!

  3. You’re right Scott. There seems to be a constant tension b/t fear and faith. We want to live by faith, but the fear of the unknown, “what will happen?” and any number of other what if’s keeps us stuck in our tracks. They say there is wisdom in the counsel of many – which matters talking ideas / dreams through with those you trust. But ultimately – it comes down to you at the edge of the pool of possibilities, like when you were a kid. Will you jump? Will I?

  4. I’ve been wrestling with this same thought process in my life. I have certain things I want to do, but have not pursued… and I use ‘well, I already have a lot on my plate right now,” as an excuse, but deep down I know it’s a fear of failure.

  5. Faye says:

    Fear of being rejected or embarrassed. Yep. I’ve put off going to local booksellers to get my book on their shelves for about seven months now because of it.

  6. I think you are right Scott. And I think the dynamic of calling it something honorable is troubling. What we need in those times are people that don’t ratify our fear, but who call it out for what it is… Perhaps part of the problem is that we don’t spend enough time in intimacy with God to have the confidence to trust Him so we CAN step out…

  7. Joni Ruhs says:

    Totally true. A person in my brother’s small group was praying for a neighbor one day. Asking God to send someone to offer them help in a specific way. My brother offered to go help the neighbor right away but the other person balked at it saying they needed to pray about it. My brother couldn’t believe they passing up an offer of the very thing they were praying for.

  8. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Scott Hodge, Candace Crethers. Candace Crethers said: RT @scotthodge: i think sometimes we spiritualize fear. i'd love to hear your thoughts. [...]

  9. Joni Ruhs says:

    OK, s/b “passed up an offer” not “passing up an offer”. Yikes. Usually not a typo hound but couldn’t let that one go.

  10. Chris Brown says:

    For me “fear” has mostly been the unknown. Most days, when I am in my routine, I can predict what will happen (at least I think I can). But when I am faced with the unknown the feeling of fear comes. Whether it is speaking up when you usually don’t or moving out of a place or situation (good or bad) that we are used to (some call it comfortable), that is when the feeling of “fear” arises. I just watched Francis Chan’s new short film over on He speaks about the fear of God and how the Church has come to think of it as a bad thing. But actually when we fear God in his power and might he tells us “fear not”, and then we should have nothing left to fear. That is where I want to be.

  11. mo says:

    I know that most of my fears stem from insecurity, which is a pride issue at heart. That implies that there’s a need for repentance, even thought we don’t normally associate fear with sin.

  12. Tammy Helfrich says:

    Love this post. This is one of the many things you have helped me to realize and work on in my own life. It reminds me of your message on how we’re sometimes praying and asking God to fix something or take care of someone, when WE can often be part of the answer to that prayer. It’s typically fear that keeps us from stepping out and being part of the solution.

  13. Adam Lehman says:

    Fear is wanting to give 100%, but being unsure if I’ll get that 100% in return.

  14. Phillip says:

    I am finding most often that the very things i fear most are the things God is definitely calling me into. If I’m afraid of it, it’s almost a guarantee God is behind it. Then I become the world’s greatest theologian on why I can’t/shouldn’t…

  15. bill lyall says:

    God says he has not given us a Spirit of fear but of Love, Power and a Sound Mind. Many times we including myself forget who LOVES us (God); what we have (POWER) and the ability to use what we have ( A SOUND MIND )

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