We've been talking about this a bit in church recently, and I thought I'd share about it with you.
Fear is an instinctive thing, and it can be pretty good. It's the start of the fight or flight response, a recognition that something is potentially dangerous. For example, if a dinosaur came charging into my bedroom right now, I'd be pretty fearful, which is a good start. If you didn't fear things, you'd probably hurt/kill yourself pretty quickly.
However, when fear goes on too long, it causes problems. When you're afraid, certain chemicals are released and they aren't meant to be in your body all the time. So when you're fearful all the time, you can't sleep, your blood gets diverted away from your stomach and you find it hard to digest food, which causes even more problems, etc etc.
At the bottom of a page in my Bible, I've written 'what you fear, you give power to'. You've probably heard the saying 'fear the Lord'. What that basically means is you give power to God. People feared kings because they had power. People fear things that are stronger than them, and in that way give respect to them. (I'm not saying this is the best way to control people though...). Now, the problem comes when you start fearing things you shouldn't. Exams for example. Or circumstances you cannot control, like the state of the economy. If I fear exams, I'm giving the power and respect to them that they don't deserve, the power and respect that should go to God.
Now, it's all well and good saying you shouldn't be afraid, but it isn't so easy to put it into practice. I can understand that. When I was doing my GCSEs last year, my mum was ill and I was scared about what was gonna happen to her, and what was gonna happen with my exams. Someone gave me a verse on a little bit of card. 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God' (Philippians 4 v 6). Every time I started to feel worried about my exams or anything, I got that out my pocket and read it, to the point that it's now firmly embedded in my memory and now when I realise I'm scared of something I shouldn't be scared of, I start repeating it to myself.
Ultimately, the best way to combat fear that I've found is to remember who you are in God.
'So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen. Who would dare even to point a finger?' (Romans 8 v 31-32ish The Message). Basically what that says is there's no reason to be afraid. The biggest dad in the universe is stood right behind you to back you up. And if you've got the biggest dad of all the kids in the playground, well, doesn't that make you feel rather safe? It certainly reminds me of why I don't need to be afraid of anything the world can throw at me, because 'Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world' (sorry, I can't remember where in the Bible that's from...).
Anyway, God made you special, and he loves you very much.