We can fight fear and we don’t have to go it alone
Have you ever lived in fear? Even for a short while?
It isn’t pretty. We dwell, we panic, we become anxious, we feel overwhelmed. Fear can consume us if we let it, but I have good news. We don’t have to.
In a previous post, “How Do We Fight the Fear?” , I touched on specific types of fear.
But really, when it comes down to it, fear is fear.
Fear takes an emotional toll and makes us feel out of control and vulnerable.
I’ve experienced all kinds of fear under all kinds of circumstances. I’m sure you have, too.
Fear Comes in Many Forms
While vacationing as a child at the Jersey shore, I was pulled out to deep waters by a rip current. I was desperately struggling to keep my head above the water as was the boy to my immediate left. I looked over at him and wondered if he would be the last face I saw. We mirrored panic-stricken faces and gripped fear because there was nothing else out there to grip. The Lifeguard never saw us, but my dad did. He swam out to rescue me and that boy.
Here’s another time in my life when fear reared its ugly head. About 10 years ago I experienced severe pain in my right side and was unable to eat anything but soup and jello. The weight fell off and I was pale and weak. I don’t recommend this diet. Scans revealed a mass in my liver. For days I vacillated between fear, panic, prayer, peace, fear, panic, prayer… Would I need a transplant? Is it cancer? After days of waiting and vacillating, the mass turned out to be a benign cluster of blood cells, so praise God and I sure wasted a lot of energy on fear.
Those instances turned out well, but there are those times when things don’t turn out so well. Like when those what ifs actually happen.
In the book Calm My Anxious Heart, Linda Dillow devotes an entire chapter on the what ifs. One of the most impactful take-a-ways from the book for me was when she asks: What if the worst “what if” happened, what if? The point of that is this: No matter what happens, God is still good and we can still trust Him.
I wonder if you have ever experienced these feelings:
Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, And horror has overwhelmed me.
You’re not alone.
David, a man after God’s own heart, cried out those words to God. That’s Psalm 55:5. If David could do it, so can we. We need not fear telling God about our fear.
But where does the fear come from? We have to ask ourselves this question:
What are we really afraid of?
Whatever it is, we can do a pretty good job covering it up. Here’s a familiar conversation:
“Hi, how are you?”
I’m fine? We have given ourselves permission to hide behind fear. We don’t think of it as lying, really — we think of it as sparing the gory details and keeping our burdens to ourselves. Maybe it’s pride or maybe we just don’t feel like talking about it.
But aren’t we supposed to bear one another’s burdens?
What if we answered this way to the hi, how are you thing: “I’m kind of freaking out right now. I’m struggling with________. I wonder if you could pray with me?”
We can give ourselves permission to step out from behind fear and ask for help. We can choose to release the grip because although it may feel like fear has a hold on us, the truth is, we are choosing to hold on to fear.
Fear Disguised as Love
Ever realize fear can be misinterpreted as being love?
Often times our fear stems from worrying about those we love, doesn’t it?
In counseling training we’re taught this:
Fear and worry can be interpreted as love, which is unhealthy.
When looking up the word fear in the dictionary, we find this:
- to be afraid of (something or someone)
- to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)
- to be afraid and worried
- anxious concern
Look closely at the list. See any characteristics of God?
See anything here that would remotely resemble His plan for us?
When we compare our fear to our great God, what once seemed enormous becomes small in comparison.
If that doesn’t click, we’re looking at God through human limitations. We’re talking about God, who has overcome your world of trouble and mine.
Taking action helps us work through fear
- Take out paper and pen
- Write down the root of your fears
- Write down the source of your worry
- Write down the cause of your anxiety
Root, source, cause.
Earlier we talked about how the main root is lack of trust in what God can do. I can relate!
We can examine choices we’ve made and what steps will take us in a new direction.
We can seek help in what causes our feelings of helplessness.
We can do all things through Christ.
Writing it out helps us take action — face our fears. There are proven health benefits in keeping a journal and now we’re going to add proven spiritual health benefits:
- Take the keyword from each bullet point, and find a scripture about it (you can even Google phrases like: scriptures about fear; scriptures about worry; scriptures about anxiety).
- Choose a scripture pertaining to that keyword.
- Write out the scripture.
- Pray this: “God, when I feel fear of ___________, Your Word says: ___(insert scripture)___, help me to believe it, grab hold of it, live it.”
Memorize the scripture, stick it on your mirror, tape it to your dashboard. Hide it in your heart.
Fear needs to be dealt with. We need to face it down, run to it — like David and the giant.
We can fight fear, not by our own might, but by the Spirit of the Lord — and the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
Calling Out Fear For What Truly Is
Have you ever thought about fear being a lack of trust in God? Yeah, that’s the reality of it, the root of it. Seems we put our trust in fear. We believe our fears are too big to overcome and it wrecks us.
Let’s revoke that trust in fear because we can trust God’s love is bigger than our biggest fear. Even our money says “In God We Trust” so next time we’re feeling fearful, we can pull out a dollar bill and read the back.
Love is the Enemy of Fear
Here’s another tidbit from counseling training:
Love is the enemy of fear — if we put on love, fear has to go.
God loves us, holds our future, and knows our tomorrows. His plan for us doesn’t include living in fear.
I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 (NKJV)
Feeling fear doesn’t mean we’ve lost our faith, it means we need to cast out fear in Jesus’ Name, and reel back in the measure of faith we’ve been given.
Take every thought captive under the obedience of Christ; cut off the downward spiral of fearful thoughts.
So we may boldly say:“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear…
Hebrews 13:6 (NKJV)
We know love is the enemy of fear because God didn’t give us a spirit of fear and God is love. He gives us a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Check out 2 Timothy 1:7.
Surrender fear to God and this is key — don’t take it back.
When fearful thoughts come, push them out. Meditate on scripture, sing a worship song, call a friend.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 NKJV
PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR; GOD’S PERFECTLY WONDERFUL LOVE FOR US AND OUR PERFECTLY FEARLESS LOVE FOR HIM.
We have no time for fear in our lives, we’ve got things to do, we’ve got a world to change.
We can fight fear and face hope. We can face our fear and fight for hope.
Let’s not allow the enemy of our soul or our own manufactured fears to scare us into a dark corner and keep us from reaching our true potential.
What fears have you fought lately?
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