Letting go of Fear

I have often struggled with worry, anxiety, and fear. When I was younger it focused on what others thought of me and the feelings which surfaced when I couldn’t control things going on around me. I was in bondage to the fear of man and I didn’t trust the Lord, mainly because I didn’t really know Him like I thought I did. My sin was separating us.

Since I was raised in a home where my religion taught me all the things I had to do to avoid God’s wrath instead of freely accepting His mercy, grace, forgiveness, and peace, I never was released from the feelings of anxiousness. I often worried whether I was good enough in man’s eyes and in God’s. Fear ruled my life, affecting every decision I made (or chose not to make). Yet, as I saw the growing list of wasted opportunities I now regretting saying no to, the following thought came to my mind: What if my old coping mechanisms, forged in childhood to keep me ‘safe’, were actually impeding the life God had intended for me to live? What if my ‘lack of peace’ was actually just fear?

In the right context, fear isn’t a bad thing. It protects us from making unwise, potentially life-threatening choices (like jumping off 30 foot cliffs or eating chicken past its best-before-date). Further, real lack of peace does exist, and is often a clear sign from God that a situation or direction we find ourselves heading in is not a good idea. The problem comes when we confuse the two emotions, allowing fear to masquerade as a heavenly stop sign, when God has actually given us a green light. In that situation, the only thing holding us back is ourselves.

 The fact is, when we allow fear to control our lives, giving it the power to stop us from doing things that could actually be for our good, it becomes an incredibly dangerous emotion. That is when we must fight to overcome it instead of giving it free reign. But how on earth do we do that? I’m not saying it’s easy combating strong emotions like fear. Sometimes I still run from mine. Yet, I have found the following tips incredibly helpful in loosening its grip on my life:

Prayer – Even when we can’t work out whether we’re afraid or feeling real lack of peace, God knows the difference. Instead of making a snap decision to run away or allowing your anxiety to overwhelm you, pray and ask God to speak truth and peace into your emotions.  I promise you that He will answer.
Talk to somebody – Ask advice from a wise friend, youth leader or mentor. By learning to speak honestly and truthfully about your fears to trusted people, you may well discover that you are not alone. It is genuinely true that a problem shared is often a problem halved. With others standing alongside you, you will also find the added courage and support to face your fears.

Memorise God’s word - Learn Bible verses so that when you are afraid you can instantly recite them to yourself such as:

Hebrews 13:6 -  “So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

1 John 4:18 - “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.”

2 Timothy 1:7 - “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

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