Any of you ever feel like you fight battles with fear? Ever feel like those battles are a rather large barrier to peace?
(Yes, that’s me jumping up and down in the background with my hand raised, yelling, “I do! I do!”)
There are so many things of which people are afraid. Everything from fears like amathophobia, the fear of dust, to phalacrophobia, the fear of becoming bald, to atychiphobia, the fear of failure. (Just for kicks, check out this phobias list sometime–The Phobia List)
We may look at one person’s fear and laugh at how silly it seems, but one of the things I’ve learned about fear is that it is not always rational or understandable to others, even if it is very real to us. I’ve also learned that no amount of talking or rationalizing can just “make it go away.”
Truthfully, fighting fear (and its counterpart, worry) is sometimes a fierce battle, and one that must be fought with unique weapons.
Our most effective weapon is Scripture. Some of those sharp blades that I have found to be helpful are these:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Ps. 46:1-3 (NIV)
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:4-7 (NIV)
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1Pet. 5:6-7 (NIV)
I have found myself praying these verses many times at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, when fear or worry has woken me and I find it hard to sleep.
Another weapon in our arsenal is worship.
A conversation several years ago, with a speaker at a women’s conference, helped me immensely. She said, “Worry and worship cannot exist at the same time in a person.” Think about it. When your heart and mind and mouth are singing or saying words acknowledging who God is and what he can do, there is less room for fears to take hold.
One more thought I’d like to give you is a picture example that my dad (who happens to be a counselor) shared with me. I called him one day, desperate for some help with an aspect of this battle with fear. He described the situation in this way:
Imagine yourself standing in a boxing ring, gloves on, ready to fight. Only you can’t see the opponent. In fact, there’s nothing actually there. It’s called shadow-boxing, and there’s no way to win. That’s how it is when we try and fight those “what if” fears. Because those pesky “what ifs” are only hypothetical happenings, dwelling on them always means a lost battle. His encouragement, when you find yourself playing the “what if” game, is to visualize yourself taking off the gloves and stepping out of the ring. Refuse to shadow-box.
It goes along with the passage in Matthew 6:33-34 that says,
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I’m very aware that this battle with fear and worry is at times a day-by-day, even sometimes minute-by-minute struggle. But we are not left on our own to fight! We have been given weapons for this war.
Are there other things that you have found to be effective weapons against fear in your life?
(This is from a post I wrote more than a year ago for someone else, but I felt like it was appropriate again for this time and space!)