What are your fears? Here are just a few of mine: harm coming to a loved one, rejection, debilitating illness, financial ruin, indecent exposure in public, and failure. Also, spiders, snakes, lizards, and most bugs (ladybugs are okay, I guess).
Fear is defined as a “distressing emotion aroused by impending pain, danger, evil, etc. or the illusion of such.” It is true that some fears are healthy, going back to ancient times with fight or flight where we had to protect ourselves from danger. This no longer applies that often as we don’t normally have to run away from lions, tigers, and bears. But the way the last few years have been going, who knows? Most of our fears are unhealthy and hold us back from living unencumbered lives.
In the Bible, we are told NOT to fear a gazillion times (slight exaggeration, but a lot), yet it is something that most of us struggle with. The Bible is full of examples of fear – Gideon, Moses, Jeremiah, and Peter to name a few – so we certainly aren’t alone.
I believe fear is the root of many other problems that we experience. Fears such as failure, rejection, and losing control hold us back and result in other harmful issues like comparison, overthinking, people-pleasing, perfectionism, stress, anxiety, and more.
In John 14:27, Jesus said the following to his disciples when he was on the precipice of torture and death. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Notice he says, “do not let your hearts be troubled” and “do not be afraid.” It sounds like fear is a choice in this passage, but we don’t have control over our fears, do we? Is it possible to live in freedom from fear? Probably not completely, as we are human but here are five strategies to help you begin to fight your fears.
- Name your fears – Sometimes merely naming them gives you the awareness and strength to deal with them.
- Read God’s Word – The greatest weapon against fear is the Word of God. If we let our lives listen to Scripture, we will find that it is our choice as to how much dominion fear has over our lives. Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
- Face your fears – What if you actually faced your fears and did things you thought you would never do? If you are afraid of public speaking, do it anyway. Sidenote, visualizing people in their underwear doesn’t work. If you are afraid of air travel, take a flight! Stop saying that you can’t or won’t and go after the “I can do it because my God is able!”
- Trust in God – Trusting God is our ultimate remedy for fear and really for most of the things that we struggle with. He tells us that perfect love casts out fear and that He is love. (1 John 4:18)
- Focus on the positive – We are wired to focus on the negative. It’s called the negativity response, so we have to work hard to think more positively. In Philippians 4:8, Paul tells believers what they should focus on and it’s not fear, terrorism, or failure. He tells us to think about “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy…”
Don’t continue to let fear have dominion over your life. It’s time to fight back. Develop an action plan using some of the tips shared here and kick fear to the curb!