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Exactly one year ago, I preached a sermon  entitled “Leaving Fear Behind.” It was a messy sermon in both how I preached and what was shared back to me afterwards. You see, I asked members to write down or text me their greatest fear; what they wanted God’s help to leave behind for the new year. Mine was the I wouldn’t lose weight over the course of the year and I shared that with the congregation because, I believe, fear loses much of its power when shared in a community of believers that spur one another on to fearless living through the power of the Gospel. By God’s grace I’m happy to testify that I’ve lost 30 pounds so far with more to go in the coming new year. I’ve consolidated hundreds of responses from the sermon in the following list of most mentioned fears, for both general reference and anonymous, specific reflection:

Being alone
Loss of finances
Loss of family members
Failure
The unknown/future
Losing loved ones
Death
Health
Not being able to provide
Not being good enough
Being rejected
Darkness
Not being in control
Storms
Spiders
Future of our country
Change
Loss
Family members may not be saved
Losing my job
Not being loved
Worry
Not being perfect
Cancer
Losing a child
Economic collapse
Not letting go of things out of my control
Snakes
Evil people/robbers/kidnappers
Not living long enough to take care of my sick child
Acceptance
Dreams never coming true
Sharing my faith with others
Loss of freedoms
Divorce
God not being able to overcome in my life
Disappointing others
Heights
Not being able to have kids
What people think of me
Not being provided for
Evil spirits
Failing to do what God wants me to do
Retirement
Health of business
Getting lost
Trusting God with my children and spouse
Losing my only parent
Bullies
Syringes
The start of a new life
Child’s baptism
Anger
Fear itself
Relationship failure
Satan
Failing as a spouse and/or parent
Losing self-suffiency
Having to rely on my children
Failing to find a career
Missing God’s plan
Starting a new business
Not knowing where my life is going
Fear my spouse will cheat on me
Fire
Failing school
Acting like a “real” Christian
Losing my mom and dad
Disease
Embarrassment
Not finding a friend
Ministry concerns
Not being able to lose weight
Not living up to family expectations
Intimidation
People walking over me
Leaving
Approval
Failing to follow God
Health of a child
Not being loved
Losing another child
Brokenness
Spouse being alone and sick after I’m gone
Bad grades
Blood
My family falling apart
Someone I care for
Not good enough spiritual leader
Drug abuse
Homelessness
Not trusting others
Fear of failing God
Being unwanted/unneeded
Success
Letting go of my marriage
Going back to school
Evil taking my soul
Leaving friends behind after I move
Leaving Nashville
Public speaking
Lack of trust in God
Anxiety
Wasting my life
My past
Going to Hell
Being different
The fear of man
Loss of reputation
Not being cured of cancer
Moving out on my own
Singleness
Family will never get along
Loss of security
Coming down and getting baptized
School future
That God will let go of me
Not being able to do sports
Plane crash
Losing my faith
My children won’t follow Christ
Addictions
College
Spouse won’t stop addiction
Getting involved
Being a martyr
Being forgotten
Being hurt again by the one I love

What is your greatest goal for 2014 and what is the greatest fear that you’d like to leave behind, with God’s help, in 2013?

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