Linda is 35 years old and it’s been six long weeks of recovery since the operation on her lower back. She called her mother and when she answered, burst into tears. Her mother encouraged Linda to call her doctor as soon as possible to get relief from the pain. After fifteen minutes of back and forth conversation, Linda finally shared with her mother that she was not crying because of the physical pain. She was crying because she was afraid.
Fear had a grip on her, and Linda had a list of fears. With her mother listening intently, she began itemizing the well rehearsed mental dialogue in her head.
Linda was psychologically paralyzed not by physical pain. She was paralyzed by fear. Fear of her situation, fear of her current and future circumstances.
What the Bible Says About Fear
The word “fear” appears 356 times in the Amplified Bible, the word “afraid” appears 167 times and the phrase “ do not fear”, “fear not” or “be not afraid” appear 71 times. The frequency of these phrases shows us that everyday life will present circumstances and situations which can generate fear, doubt, worry and unbelief. (G. Selman/Center Christianity 2015)
In almost every book in the bible there is scripture that admonishes us to 'fear not.' God was well aware that we would need consistent instructions and frequent reminders of how to handle fear. There are all kinds of fears - fear of snakes, fear of heights, fear of failure, fear of success - the list can go on and on. Each of us has our own list.
When An Instinctive Response Goes Awry
Fear is a natural response to challenges and uncertainty and a response to the unknown. Problems arise when we allow fear to direct and dominate our thoughts, beliefs and actions. When we allow fear to grow within us it becomes a persistent internal message - always present. Then, like dominos, it gradually changes how we feel and make decisions.
Fear increases the likelihood of anxiety, depression and physical health problems. But the good news is as Christians, we don’t have to fear because we know God is in control.
No matter what the doctor says is your diagnosis is, no matter what unmet needs you have, or how unclear your future may seem to you. God and God alone holds the strength and power that controls the future. Even better, He only asks that we trust Him and surrender to His will.
So when fear starts to wiggle it’s way in - that’s your signal to press into and move closer to the love of God.
Thoughts of suicide? Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Olivia Guy-Evans/Simply (psychology.org 1/4/22) states, Fear is a natural, powerful, and primitive human emotion. It involves a universal biochemical response as well as a highly individual emotional response. Fear alerts us to the presence of danger or the threat of harm, whether that danger is physical or psychological. Sometimes fear stems from real threats, but it can also originate from imagined dangers.
Fear can also be a symptom of some mental health conditions including panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Fear is comprised of two primary reactions to some type of perceived threat: biochemical and emotional.
Sweating, increased heart rate, and dilated pupils. The purpose of these bodily reactions is to prepare the body to either combat the threat or to run away from it - this is called the ‘fight or flight’ response. It's an automatic response that is crucial to our survival.
The emotional response to fear is highly personal. Although the biochemical reaction for fear may be the same, some people will experience the intensity of fearful situations differently than
On Better Together, Dr. Anita Phillips discusses the effects that fear has on us. Join the conversation as Laurie Crouch, Holly Wagner, Hosanna Wong, and Nona Jones join Dr. Anita Phillips to discuss how our faith is not failing just because we feel fear.
Learn about your fears. Uncertainty is a big part of fear. When you don’t establish clearly what you are afraid of you’re unable to move forward.
Take a blank piece of paper and divide it into four columns - in the first column list “I’m fearful of …. “, in the 2nd column write - “Why do I have the fear ?”, in the 3rd column write “ Where did I place my trust and reliance ? On God or Me ?
Complete this process for all your fears. (AA Big Book 2001)
Now that you know what your fears are, seek the Lord and His Love. For each of your fears, ask God to remove the fear. Then ask, “God what would you have me to be instead of fearful?”
Sometimes it means accepting things as they are. Other times it requires us to make some changes. God will guide you you in the right direction if you practice the habit of getting into His presence.
Get “self “ out of the way. Fear often moves us to try to control circumstances beyond our control, like others' relationships, others' choices, and how others feel about us. However, it’s not going to help for you to try controlling the situation or circumstance. In fact, it may only make things worse. God is enough. He is not surprised by your circumstance.
His Word - His Grace - Renew your mind through memorizing His Word. Scripture builds our knowledge, trust, confidence and security in God and defends against the influence of Satan.
Learn and use stress management techniques like deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises, get social support, show love by helping others, seek professional help if needed.
Last but never least, pray and praise the Lord! Use these powerful spiritual weapons to call on God’s Name, and watch God show up!
Name of Jesus
Dear Lord, You know that we live in a crazy and chaotic world. You also know my struggles in my daily life. When life gets to be too much, please help me come to you. Calm my thoughts and emotions and open my heart to your peace, comfort, and wisdom. Help me to reject living in fear. Please reduce the feelings of fear and anxiety that plague me. Help me rest in You and trust You as I navigate through this broken world. In Your name I pray, Jesus. Amen.
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