When I was a younger woman…ahem…I had some notions about who I would be and what I might be like when I got “older” (like maybe say in my 40′s). I imagined that I would have some things nailed down, frayed edges made smooth and dusty corners made tidy. Fear would no longer be a part of my story. That’s always the biggie for me.
When I grow up, I will stop being afraid.of.all.the.things.
It hasn’t happened yet.
I’m not less afraid and sometimes I’m more afraid but I also have a bit more wisdom and a mite more courage. I’m learning where fear comes from, how to name it and how to disarm it.
3 Ways to Fight Fear
- Know where fear originates from.
- Name your fear…or not.
- Disarm your fear.
Where does fear come from? The devil. That seems so blunt but it’s plain and simple. The Bible tells us explicitly that it doesn’t come from God and if it’s not from God then it’s from the devil. Period. The battle gets a bit easier to fight when you know who the enemy is.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.
1 Timothy 1:7 AMP
How do I name my fear? Instead of reacting to the feelings, I stop to think about what is at the root of them. Often if you boil it ALL the way down you come to this conclusion:
All fear is but the notion that God’s love ends….Fear thinks God is finite and fear believes that there is not going to be enough. Ann Voskamp – One Thousand Gifts
I read it in her heart spilling words on a page over a year ago and it has lodged in my heart as well. The truth is that I’m not so afraid of what will happen but how will I handle it when it does. I don’t trust myself to hold up under some sort of immense tragic pressure and I don’t trust God to bring me through it. I imagine some sort of horrible scenario; a movie playing in my brain and every time I get to the culminating scene I stop breathing or lose my mind completely.
A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit. Erasmus
So the real answer probably isn’t to name my fear but the supplier of my needs; the one who is MORE than enough; who has ensured my victory and secured my place in eternity. WHEN I choose to magnify Him over the movie in my head; WHEN I choose to name Jesus instead of fear I can live in the now and not fear the future. His grace is sufficient; He IS enough and WILL BE enough and I am just to keep naming Him.
How do I disarm it? To be honest, sometimes I don’t do this very well. I have developed a few tricks that help me but often in the moment when the voice in my head is screaming that there is danger, I forget. And I linger much longer than I should with heart racing…looking at fear rather than Jesus.
At night I love this one: In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
#2 – Pray for someone else - Sometimes I feel like praying for myself in these moments still has my mind focused on ME and how I FEEL. I have been sliding down the slope to an anxiety attack and found myself pulled back up out of that pit after spending time praying for someone else’s needs.
#3 – Get a move on; outside if possible - Something about fresh air hitting my face that helps me snap back to reality. This is fact and I’ll let the Mayo Clinic explain it to you HERE. For me, I feel like it’s a reset button for my brain. I start thinking about something else and moving (even if it’s not exercise) helps me burn off some of the physical energy coursing through me.
#4 – Do it afraid – Whatever the “it” is, I have promised myself that I will push through, move forward or carry on in the face of fear. Worry, fear, anxiety will bind you up and render you ineffective. They create a dark mood and a dark place out of which to live. I refuse to sit down and stay there. I will do the thing and march on.
P.S. All of this refers to normal challenges and fears that we face in daily life. If you are struggling with a debilitating anxiety or crippling fear that is effecting your ability to live and function normally I implore you to seek professional care. I struggled with severe anxiety and panic for years and did it basically alone. It was crushing and harder than I can verbalize and it was foolish of me to try to do that by myself. You are smarter than me so go get some help if you need it.