We’ve all dealt with fear. Who hasn’t, right? I definitely have. Fear was an unwelcome bully for most of my life.
Like the time when I caught on fire as a child. After that, I used to be paralyzed for hours, caught in the nightmare of my own imaginations—a horror movie in my head that the house was going to catch fire in the night.
I would get free of fear when I put verses of scripture on index cards all over my house, in my car, everywhere, to the point that anyone who came around me knew I was at war with the spirit of fear.
But I’ve since learned that fear is a bully that travels with a gang. When I was free of one phobia, one of his buddies would remind me that I was still afraid of something else.
This time it was an apprehension of traveling for ministry. He showed up in the middle of the night.
My husband was sleeping soundly next to me. The only noise was the song of the sound machine, but it didn’t sing me back to sleep with its soothing lullaby that night. I laid in bed quivering; no, sleep didn’t come. I tried to silence the clamor by pulling the covers over my ears, but the noise of my thoughts roared louder. No amount of blankets can quell plaguing thoughts.
No, no, no, no, no! I don’t want to deal with this!
It was more serious than the Tom and Jerry cartoon, with an angel whispering in Tom’s left ear and a devil in his right.
I wonder if I’ll ever be able to walk in authority in God’s kingdom the way I want to walk. The way Jesus says to walk.
On the other hand, Jesus wasn’t hindered by fear. Or doubt.
Annoyance began to collide with fearfulness as revelation began to dawn. Doubt is a robber. I remembered who the thief is—he stole my faith!
Even with this revelation, I still wasn’t ready to fly in the face of fear. Fear had been a stronghold—it had a strong hold on me. I fled to the hallway as a flood of potential “what if’s” tormented—the two words fear uses to ensnare. The struggle was that I doubted God’s ability to come through for me.
I tentatively skirted around more questions. Will I ever be able to go where He wants me to go?
If they knew all my fears, would they ever take me seriously again? More fear.
I became mad—the inner tempest was overwhelming. MORE FEAR.
Since Jesus rebuked the storm, maybe I should channel some of that anger and demand that spirit of fear to leave?
“FEAR, GET OUT OF MY LIFE!” was the strong whisper in the dark that came from fierce determination. The tormenting thoughts subdued. Now that I could think clearly, I began honest reflection: Will I trust God?
My heart weakly consented, but weak isn’t how I want to be. My pastor’s words echoed in my ears: “Fear is faith contaminated.”
Have you ever counseled yourself? I sat on the bottom step in the dark and laid out my strategy:
Scrapping Fear Strategy
- Command fear to go. More specifically, make a list of each tiny thing I’m afraid of—and tell each one to depart. If I’m going to trust God with all my heart as Proverbs 3:5 says, then there won’t be room for a single shred of doubt. Every fearful thought has to be dismissed (2 Corinthians 10:5). Resist the devil and he will flee (James 4:7).
- Fear is out, now swap it for faith. Listen to the promises of God. Hang out with some faith-talkers, and start to imitate. Reading them and hearing them in my head is better than nothing, but I need to hear my voice speaking those promises aloud. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Faith will come!
- Activate faith. God has given to everyone a measure of faith (Romans 12:3), but I need to put it into practice by kicking doubt to the curb and do what God wants me to do. While I’m putting faith in action, I can choose to trust His faithfulness.
Trading Fear for Security
The haven of the Word holds wisdom, as always. God’s character is steady; His promises certain. Remembering that helps me know I can trust Him to keep me safe and abolish any “what if’s.” He gives me peace (John 14:27). That, to me, means security. Secure in His love, absent of fear.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 NASB
God doesn’t want me to live in fear, nor you. Do I still fear? Sometimes. But anytime one of those fear-bullies come, I fall back on my strategy. Then I breathe deep as they move on. You can call it your strategy, too. Let’s scrap fear, and live in the safety of His love.
In her book, Fear Fighting, Kelly Balarie of Purposeful Faith shares encouragement on every page for anyone being bullied by fear. From unpacking eight fear-inducers and proclaiming despair-stopping decrees, to the practical application of each chapter in the included Bible study, she shares how to fly free. I’m joining in the following prayer from the pages of her book. Will you join us?
With You, Father, I choose to fear the world less and fear You more. This will be my charge. May I remember it. Help me also remember fearing less is a process—and You delight in small progress. Each miniscule gain is a leap from where I came. May I hold on to this tiny grain of reality like a heavy trophy of incomprehensible worth.
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