My parents have joked before that as a young child I was afraid of everything. Thunderstorms, dogs, even some of my family members, I was, as some would say, a scaredy cat. As the years went on and I became older, my fears evolved and changed. It became less about the thunderstorms and dogs and more about people’s perception of me. It challenged my identity, made me too cautious, constantly creating scenarios and asking “What ifs?”.
The fear of rejection.
The fear of disappointment.
The fear of what others may think of me.
The list could go on and on…
In the past I have had a tendency to make decisions (or not) based on my fears. Fear always had some sort of stronghold over me. The funny thing about fear is that I struggle to let it go. I grab on tight like I have control over it, when in reality, by doing so I am letting it have control over me. I allow it to have control over my emotions, my relationships, and my decisions.
I discovered hope when I came to know the Lord. The freedom I have in Christ is greater than any fear that I face today, tomorrow, or the days to come. I found my victory in Christ, knowing that death nor Satan have control over me. I have tasted the sweetness of freedom and grace, so now what do I do? I have this freedom from my sins and struggles, but why do I still struggle with my fears of rejection, of failure, fears that are deep, and some irrational.
What do I do about it? How do I not let this have a stronghold over me?
Here are a few things that have helped me when I feel my fears start to consume me.
Identify the fear. What am I really afraid of? I tend to try and ignore the problem or fear rather than facing it and identifying what the root of my fear is. Being able to identify the fear and put a name on it helps me speak against it.
Finding Community. For me, being in community and being able to be vulnerable and to verbally process my fears has been so helpful. I feel like holding things in can be so isolating, but when you open up and allow others to come in and walk alongside you, encourage you, and pray for you, you feel less alone and have support.
Standing Firm. The most important thing for me is to know who I am and whose I am. I have to remind myself to be deeply rooted in my faith, knowing that I serve a God who is for me and who has already paid the ultimate price for me. I am redeemed, forgiven, loved, and most importantly I am free.
Releasing my Fears. One of the most comforting and most difficult thing I have learned and am still learning to do is releasing my fears to The Lord. By giving control over to Him, I learn to lean in to more of what He has for me and to trust His will for my life. Scripture tells us over and over to “Fear Not”.
Fear come in different forms, sizes, depths, and degrees. I still struggle and fight against fear. I think it’s okay to be afraid, we live in a world that is broken and we feel the weight of that brokenness. But when that fear is all consuming, it can take your focus off truth and who God says that we are. I take joy in the small victories of conquering my fears. It’s a process, it has taken work, but the more I allow God’s peace to consume me rather than my fears, I feel the freedom of being secured by faith.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”Isaiah 41:10
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”Psalm 23:4
“ For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”2 Timothy 1:7