New Year, New Fears | UMC YoungPeople
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December 2012

New Year, New Fears

By: Vanessa Small

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).
I could make a long list of fears I had growing up:

  • Dogs
  • Airplanes
  • Strangers
  • Death
  • Darkness
  • Spiders
  • Bad Weather
  • Dentists
  • Getting Shots
  • Car Accidents

I am sure there are other fears I could add to my list. And I know I’m not alone. Fear is a common childhood struggle. I recently taught a children’s church lesson on the topic of fear. The things that the children listed that caused them fear went on and on.

I shared with the children a recent fearful experience of mine. I think kids are surprised that even an adult can get scared sometimes too. We get the idea that when you grow up and become a “big girl” or a “big boy,” you aren’t supposed to be scared anymore. But if I’m honest with myself, even as an adult, there are still times when fears arise in my life. Starting college. Going in for a job interview. Waiting for medical test results. Even when you’re “all grown up,” fear may still be part of your life.

When we find ourselves in new situations or in a new stage of life, it is easy to become fearful. The fear and anxiety may seem overwhelming, but there’s good news. God does not leave us on our own.

The first chapter of Joshua gives us some encouragement. Before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, their leader Moses died. His assistant, Joshua, was called on to assume leadership. Surely the thought of leading the people into the new land and filling Moses’ shoes must have brought at least a little apprehension to Joshua. But God gave him encouragement and instructions not to be afraid. The Lord promised to be with Joshua wherever he went.

Maybe you are feeling a little fearful today because of some new situation or role in which you find yourself. Young adulthood brings many new life changes and with those changes, new fears. Maybe you are starting college or a new career and the vast unknown before you seems frightening. Maybe you are living on your own for the first time and the greater independence is exciting but also a little scary. Maybe you are beginning a new chapter in life as a married couple or as parents and the new responsibilities on your shoulders are alarming and intimidating.

Whatever situation and stage of life you find yourself in today, may you put your faith and hope in the Lord and find encouragement in His promise to never leave you nor forsake you. We may not know what the future holds, but as we trust and obey the One who does, we can have peace in the midst of any and every situation.

Discussion Question: What situations in your life are causing you fear? How do God’s words to Joshua bring encouragement to you today?

See more devotions from Vanessa, and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.