There are two types of fear that I find especially daunting. First, a fear that is backed by “common” knowledge as we know it; worldly realities surrounding a fear – “Everyone knows this happens as a result of that.” The other type that, pun intended, scares me the most is a fear supported by actual, tangible experiences in my own life.
I really did do that. That really did happen to me. I felt it, I watched it. It’s not just a mean label, it’s the truth. It’s not a distant threat, it is my reality.
Significant fears that I have battled, and some that I still battle with, include…
Fear of unfaithfulness. Fear that I will never be “good enough”, at least not long-term. Fear that someone won’t love me forever. Fear that I will be “too much” for people; a burden. Fear of my significant other desiring another woman or women. Fear of myself; of being out of control. Fear of the unknown. Fear of dishonesty. Fear of people’s opinions and thoughts about me. Fear that I won’t reach the potential God planned for me. Fear of punishment and irreversible consequences.
I am sure you can see a pattern (or a few) here.
The three central root fears that my struggles stem from are: The fear of being hurt, the fear of having my insecurities validated, and a fear of God.
With fear of God being an exception, I can back my fearful struggles up with my own, real-life experiences. I have been stung many times by unfaithfulness. I have believed empty promises. I have watched boyfriends and friends walk through what felt like a revolving door to my heart. I have been told I am not “enough” to be loved. I have been compared to other women and “fallen short”. I have been labeled a burden. I have been out of control. I have hurt myself. I have been blindsided and hurt by the unknown.
But, do you know what I have never tangibly experienced? A reason to be afraid of God. In fact,
He is the only one who has been there time after time, helping me clean up the mess, loving me unconditionally.
Every. Single. Time.
The feeling part of fear is legitimate. Feelings are very real things that we deal with, no matter how much sense they make to anyone else. We don’t need to beat ourselves up for fears we face, and we don’t have to pretend they aren’t real. We have to stop pretending they aren’t real if we ever hope to taste freedom. We need to recognize them in order to fight them. If we can choose to call them for what they are, we can take them to the feet of our Savior and squash them with truth.
Where do you start? My suggestions (tactics that really work for me) are:
- Write out your fears. All of them. It doesn’t matter how crazy they might seem or how much you want to cringe at the sight of them on paper. Write them out and make them real. Real things can be faced. Real things masked as nonexistent cannot be so easily faced. We can’t fight a battle with a blindfold on.
- Write down truth from the Bible that combats these fears. Put it where you can see it. God’s Word supersedes all of this world, even the things we have experienced that are very real.
- Claim who you are in Him and claim the power you have in Him. Say it out loud to yourself until you start to believe it. You are who He says you are, and you have what He says you have, which is not a spirit of fear but rather of power, love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).
I have written out some some verses and truths below that help me (written in second-person in case you would like to copy them or print them.) You should choose a starting point that works for you, but do choose one. We need a battle plan and God’s word is our biggest weapon here.
- You are never too much for God. He knew everything you would ever experience and do before He made you, and He made you anyways.
“Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and by this God showed how much he loves us.” Romans 5:8
- God will never walk out on you.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
- God is not a punisher.
“He does not treat us as our sins deserve; he does not deal harshly with [or repay] us, as we deserve.” Psalm 103:10
- Someone else doesn’t define your worth. God does. You are not subject to being what others may say or think you are.
“The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” Psalm 118:6
- You are not a prisoner to the reality of this world and the non-removable pain it offers.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” Genesis 50:20
- God is not weak, so neither are you when you have Him in your heart.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
- With God on your team, you can’t be defeated.
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
- God makes you brave.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” 1 John 4:18
- God loves You.
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” 1 John 4:9
- It’s never too late. In a life with God, the best is always yet to come.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” Romans 8:28
We have a choice to serve the God of the Universe instead of the people of circumstances of this world. Let’s choose it.
“Take my side, God—I’m getting kicked around, stomped on every day. Not a day goes by but somebody beats me up; They make it their duty to beat me up. When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I’m proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God. What can mere men do?” Psalm 56:4 (The Message)