In one of the Facebook groups that I am a part of, I will be going live tomorrow afternoon to discuss fear.
Can I tell you that the thought of talking about fear just freaks me out?
The irony is not lost on me.
I’ve known about this for a little while, and as I jotted down some notes on fear, specifically fear that holds us down and keeps us from growing, I thought, hey! Why not write a blog post about it while I’m at it! So, you, my lucky readers get to read all about my thoughts about fear.
In my relatively short life, I can count at least a hundred times that I held myself back from doing things because of fear. I allowed myself to be pretty introverted in high school because I was afraid to get out of my shell and meet people. I stayed in a major at college for a whole year because I was too afraid to admit that I wasn’t passionate about the subject I was studying. I stayed in an abusive relationship because I was afraid that I wouldn’t find another person who would want me. I passed up amazing job opportunities because I was afraid of the responsibility.
I can also count many, many times where I decided to step out in faith, leaving fear behind. I went to China to teach ESL to elementary children for one month two summers in a row. I pushed myself in college to talk to people, and I still have several friends that I keep in contact with from those days. I finally found the courage to leave the abusive relationship behind, and I am now a happily married woman with five amazing children. I have one of the greatest jobs in the world. All because I refused to let fear rule my life.
Looking at those two condensed lists, you tell me which list looks more appealing to you. It’s definitely a no-brainer. But, how do you get from a place of fear to a place of faith? How can you gain strength over your fears and master them? I think it’s important to identify some of the common “fears” we face so that we can root them out and conquer them.
- Fear of Rejection
This is a big fear. A very common one. And this fear is incredibly ugly as most fears are wont to be. This is the fear that keeps women trapped in abusive relationships. This is the fear that absolutely cripples and can decimate the strongest person out there. This fear traps you in an endless cycle of over analyzing every single decision you make because you absolutely do NOT want to feel that sting of rejection again. Oh reader, I know the pain of this fear all too well.
2. Fear of Inadequacy
I have often felt this fear. After working a mediocre job, I almost let this fear rob me of accepting a job at a better company. And then, I almost let this fear pass up a promotion. Yeah, I know, that sounds ludicrous. But, for a lot of people this fear also has a crippling effect. How many times do we choose to take the easy way out because we feel like we can’t measure up to the task that lies before us? How many times do we choose to turn down something that has a ton of potential because we don’t want to try?
3. Fear of Failure
This goes hand-in-hand with the fear of inadequacy. But, I think the difference between the two is this: The fear of inadequacy says, “I’m not enough.” The fear of failure says, “I can’t do it.” The fear of failure often stems from feeling inadequate, but I think that there is a big difference between feeling like you’re not up to the task and saying that you can’t do the hard thing that is set before you. I’ve felt this fear so many times as a mom. We are in the middle of some pretty big issues with our oldest, and there are days when I feel this fear pressing down on me. Am I failing her? Is she going to turn out ok? Will we ever get through these rough waters, or should we expect this as the new norm?
Reader. All of these fears are lies we tell ourselves. And if we chose to let these fears decide and define our future, well, the future is going to look pretty bleak. Some of the things we fear in these areas are real. I’m not going to deny that. But, there is a way past these fears. And that is to realize that God is bigger than all of our fears, and that He gives us the strength-His strength-to overcome those fears.
When you fear rejection, consider Psalm 34:17-20
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.
When you fear inadequacy, consider 2 Corinthians 12:9
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power[a] is perfected in weakness.”
When you fear failure, consider Philippians 4:13
I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
God is the one who can help us overcome the fears we face. They don’t have to cripple us. Choosing to live in fear will lead to a crippled life. Choosing to live in faith flings open the door to a future where God is able to work in and through us. I know that I have been immeasurably blessed by God when I allow Him to give me strength to overcome my fears. If you are struggling with fear, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I would love to be able to pray with you and encourage you.