My Journey through Fear, Part 3
Part 3 of a 3-Part Series on Fear
In my previous article, I discussed three spiritual truths that will help you to overthrow fear’s rule in your life. First, fear is from the kingdom of darkness, not from God. Second, God does not use fearful tactics in order to punish us. When you feel condemned by fear, remember that you are the King’s favored child who is seated in heavenly places. Third, peace comes when we let go of control and trust God.
Do you feel defeated in your attempts to break free from fear’s grip? What is your natural response when you are afraid? Do you feel overwhelmed, back down, and hide? Fear makes us feel fragile and powerless. I used to allow the waves of fear to knock me down. I also tried hard to ignore it, but that did not work either. Running away from fear only allows it to control you. The only way out of fear is through it, and that means staring fear in the face. To confront means “to oppose or to stand in or come in front of.” Did you know that you have authority in Jesus to be an overcomer in all areas of your life? You were born for victory, not defeat. It is time to stop allowing fear to tell you what to do and instead tell fear to flee. To break with fear, you need to retrain your mind to think differently. In this article, I share three weapons that I have used to break free from fear’s tormenting thoughts.
1) Stop Partnering with Fear
During my struggle with fear, I felt as if I had no choice but to accept what fear was telling me. Fear seemed too powerful and too convincing for me to ignore. I embraced fear’s lies as the truth, and this crippled me. We will all feel afraid from time to time, but we have a choice whether or not to let fear influence us. Think about how many times God declares, “Do not be afraid,” in the Bible. God would not have given us such a command if courage was impossible to obtain.
In order to live as the brave sons and daughters that God has created us to be, we must break our partnership with fear. To partner with fear means that you believe fear’s counsel over God’s word. Your agreement establishes and empowers this partnership. For example, if I am afraid of catching a disease, then I agree with fear that health is not my destiny. An agreement is defined as “a legally binding contract between two parties; harmony in opinion; consent.” An agreement grants someone legal authority to act, which means that when you partner with fear you give it permission to attack you. To put it differently, when you believe fear over faith, you actively agree with the enemy’s agenda against yourself.
Does resisting fear sound impossible? Be encouraged that your walk out of fear is a not a solo venture but a partnership with the Prince of Peace. Bill Johnson says that when God gives the command “Do not be afraid,” it is not to shame us for our weakness. Instead, it is to reveal that He empowers us with the grace to succeed at what we could previously not do. Courage comes when we realize who is partnering with us. Start agreeing with the spirit that God put inside of you, which is not a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind.
2) Stop Feeding Fear
Fear is alluring. It shouts, “Look over here!” But we must resist the temptation to entertain fear’s propaganda. We all have a choice about whether or not to indulge in fearful thoughts. Bill Johnson says that “Anytime you believe a lie, you empower the liar.” So, why do we create movies in our heads about the worst thing that could happen to us, and keep replaying them? Have you ever considered how sowing and reaping relate to the quality of your thought life? In my experience with fear, I arrived at a point where I needed to stop thinking about what I feared because doing so only grew more fear. I needed to stop sowing seeds of dread and choose to plant a different crop. So I did the opposite. I planted faith instead of fear. I relentlessly listened to podcasts about hope and the goodness of God. I did not allow my mind to wander because I knew that my thoughts would be unproductive.
What do you allow your mind to feed on? You can choose to feed your mind with what gives life or with what brings death. If we are to choke fear out of our lives, we need to refuse to consider the suggestions of worry and rather dwell on the truth. Remember that what you choose to focus on grows and that there is a fine line between problem solving and preoccupation. The latter reduces our ability to see God and magnifies our problems. In order to get out of fear mode, meditate on God’s faithfulness and practice gratitude. Write down every good thing that God has done for you and camp out on His promises.
3) Move in the Opposite Spirit
Fear comes with friends: Anxiety, panic, depression, and doubt. There were many times when I felt as if I was drowning in hopelessness. One day, I as I realized that letting myself sink deeper into despair was not helping, I decided to try an experiment. Every time I felt self-pity, I would say out loud, “I am not a victim.” I aligned myself with the truth of who God is and who He created me to be. I told myself, “I am a powerful daughter of the King and He has given me divine strategies to defeat my enemies.” This declaration stopped the spiral of despair and untangled my mind. Once I stopped allowing my feelings to dictate my future, I was able to tap into creative solutions.
As sons and daughters of the King, He calls us to live differently. We are to live “on earth as it is in heaven,” which means that we must adopt heaven’s outlook on adversity. Fear does not factor in God. In fact, fear completely removes God from the equation. Moving in the opposite spirit means that we agree with God’s perspective of our situation – despite our feelings. What is your hope level for those areas of your life where fear has said, “It’s too late”? God asked Ezekiel a profound question, namely, “Can these dead bones live?” And Ezekiel replied back, “Only you know the answer to that.” Fear tries to get you to buy into the lie that hope is lost. But, like Ezekiel, we must not make the final verdict but rather ask God what He thinks. God told Ezekiel to prophesy life to the bones and the graveyard become a mighty army. The impossible became possible because Ezekiel declared what God was saying – despite what he saw in the natural world. Are there dead places in your life that God wants you to speak life to? God gave Joshua three ways in which to walk in the opposite spirit of fear. These were to meditate, to speak, and to do God’s word. You might feel like a victim, but God says that you are a champion. So you need to start thinking, talking, and behaving like a champion. In the face of fear, “Let the weak say I am a strong” (Joel 3:10).
Christian Counseling to Move beyond Fear
When you are in fear’s darkest valley, it can sometimes feel as though you are unable to advance. But don’t give up. Just keep walking through the valley. Psalm 23:4 (NLT) states, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” God is right next to you, leading you to victory. And at the end, He has a prepared a champion’s banquet for you to celebrate before your enemies. It is your time to shine. To find out more about how Christian counseling can help you to move beyond fear, please contact me here.