Fear As A Slave Driver

My feet pounded the pavement as I considered three specific situations with which I was struggling — anger toward my children, conflict with my husband, and bitterness in a situation where something didn’t go as I had hoped.

My thoughts floated to the Exodus text I had just read that morning. In a way, I had to admit, I felt enslaved by these situations. Seeking to discover guidance from the text, I asked myself, why did Pharaoh decide to oppress and enslave the Israelite people?

The answer leapt from my memory. Fear. It all came down to fear. For reasons we can only speculate, Pharaoh feared the Israelites would seek to overthrow his power.

Could that be my problem as well? Could fear be the driving force behind these areas in my life I couldn’t seem to overcome?

One by one, I analyzed these situations at the root of my anxiety. One by one, I traced the root to fear.

Anger toward my children could be traced back to the fear of how they would turn out if they continued behaving a certain way. Or, if I’m honest, I feared what others would think about my parenting if they saw these behaviors in public. [DH1]

A resistance to humbly submit to my husband was rooted in my fear that he might make a bad decision—which means one I disagreed with.

A specific bitterness was, at its root, a fear of a situation not working out the way I wanted it to.

I realized that day that fear, as a driving force, always leads to slavery.

Maybe that’s why the Bible repeats the message, “Do not be afraid” over and over. We cannot be wholehearted servants of God and slaves to fear at the same time.

Think about recent situations causing you anxiety. Can you trace any of them to fear? Go to God and confess your fear as the slave driver it is. Turn those situations over to Him, and continue giving them to Him as you seek to walk in freedom.


Jill McSheehy