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Overcoming Fear

Dear Friend,

I had a nightmare last week. It involved a hotel, some monstrous people, and my valiant (And successful!) effort to escape them. (My hubby didn’t make it…it’s funny now. It wasn't then.) I woke up and whispered “Jesus” until my heart rate slowed enough that I could muster out more than one word.

One thing I hate about nightmares is the fear they stir up. Fear. Did you know there are different kinds of fear? There’s the kind that appears with the unexpected deer leaping onto the highway in front of your car or while driving on bad roads. That fear disappears shortly after its cause does. It’s circumstantial, protective, and temporary. Then there’s the other kind of fear…

It tends to be more perpetual. It can abide quietly in the background, following us around, casting a shadow over our day and influencing our decisions. Or it can be up in our face, consuming our attention until we submit to its demands. Sometimes fear paralyzes. Sometimes it drives and pushes.

We aren’t all afraid of the same things. (Some of us are afraid of balloons and loud noises. Yup, since I was a kid.) So fear dresses in different ways to engage each of us. When we get hung up on its costume (the situation it comes to us in), we can easily overlook fear itself, allowing it to infiltrate our lives with more stealth. Identifying fear beneath its camouflage helps us deal with it. As we’ll see in just a moment, it’ll be to our advantage to address the fear first before dealing with the situation it attached itself to.

Fear can be tied to reality or grow out of our imagination. Once a friend with good intentions warned me of a difficult situation my kids might encounter as her kids had. Immediately fear appeared. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit did as well. He revealed that this was a perverse imagination - meaning it was an uncertain forecasted event that didn't agree with God's Truth. I prayed, and peace displaced the fear. (By the way, my kids never did encounter that situation.)

Speaking of fear and kids... If it were possible to wear out a verse, the following one would have frayed edges. It’s my go-to weapon when facing fear.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7, NKJV).

A few points we can draw about fear from my well-loved verse:

#1: Fear is NOT from God. If God didn’t send it, we don’t need to mess with it or accept it - Return To Sender!

#2: Fear is being referred to as a spirit here. I don’t know if every time we experience fear we’re encountering a demon. But when we identify fear as merely an emotion, it’s easily accepted right along with all our other emotions. It just gets in line with the rest of them and walks on in. We don’t want that. We want to be aware every time fear is present.

#3: Fear doesn’t empower us. (That would explain why I find myself with my blankets pulled up over my head and backed up into my husband after having a nightmare.) Our enemy uses fear to try to limit the power and authority we walk in through Christ. (Getting annoyed with fear yet?)

#4: When we’re operating out of fear, it’s difficult to walk in love. Love isn’t a characteristic of fear. Defensiveness, a desire to hide, fighting for control, and anger are. If we encounter fearful people, we can’t expect warm affectionate cuddles… maybe suffocating death holds as they try to hide behind us.

#5: Fear causes confusion. Fear and a sound mind don’t hang out together. Some Bible versions use the word self-control instead of a sound mind. Either way, if I might be so bold, if you’re experiencing fear, please don’t make any major decisions. I heard recently when we’re afraid the area of our brain that reasons and thinks logically basically gets ignored. (Hmmm, I afraid more than I realize?)

I hope at this point you’re annoyed with fear. Better yet - I hope righteous anger is rising up and surpassing the intensity of any fear you’ve been experiencing. Are you ready to pull the blanket down and face your fear?

A great example of dealing with fear is found in Mark 14:32-42. It’s here where we read about Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane. He was “greatly distressed” as He was aware of what was quickly approaching - His crucifixion and the events leading up to it. What we find in this passage is: Jesus admitting His fear, submitting it to God, and then overcoming fear by facing it.

So first, we should admit our fear to God without shame. He knows we all encounter fear. He isn’t disappointed or upset with us for struggling with this. He wants us to come to Him with our fear because He is the solution to it.

Secondly, we submit our fear to God. We may feel fear, but we don’t need to be ruled or controlled by it. Sometimes we struggle surrendering our fear to God because it lies to us and tells us it’s protecting us and helping keep us safe. But those roles belong to God. He’s our source and the one we bow to, not our feelings.

Lastly, we face our fear with faith. We ask God to help us overcome fear and the situation it came to us in - He is to be our source of wisdom, encouragement, and power. We hold on to verses that speak to our situations. We seek out a godly friend to pray with. We walk in the authority we have as God’s children and command fear to go in the mighty name of Jesus. Fear has a name, and every name has to yield to the name of Jesus.

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11, ESV).

A couple final things: when Jesus faced His fear, it became the place of His triumph and our freedom. And lastly, remember: “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 ESV).

Pulling down the blankets,



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