Fear is a debilitating thing. It can take over your mind, It can make you do things you never thought you'd do. Even more so, it makes you NOT do things you want to do.
Last year I started encountering my own little physical health crisis. These issues became pretty debilitating to my life but also came with no answers, no solutions and were (and still are) impacting me not only on levels of physical health but also mental health. A friend asked me during that time 'are you fearful of what is happening' My first response was "only in moments, but overall feel like Im okay." Well God, being God, decided he needed me to learn the real answer to that and fast. Literally minutes later we walked into our weekly bible study and the topic 'FEAR' Actually even better 'Breaking Free from Fear'
As we went through the study, it became more and more apparent; I am fearful. The blessing of this was realizing this AS I was learning about fear with keeping Jesus as the core of it. Learning how to handle it, what to do with it and how to break free from it.
This began a bit of a 'Fear Journey' I went on; learning and understanding how it is impacting my life and so my hope is that this post can encourage others who are going through their own battle with fear, and that something I have learned along the way can help you with your own journey.
One major thing I have recognized is the enemy's role in our fear. In the height of what is now classified as a vestibular disorder, I started to have symptoms that were very intense, and it triggered a panic attack. I literally couldn't see and couldn't breath and began to panic because I had all 3 kids home alone. I came very close to calling 911 on myself. I called my husband who was not close to town (but was on his way) I ALMOST called some friends, the thought went through my mind to let someone who was physically close know what was happening. IMMEDIATELY I heard a voice so convincing tell me 'dont do it they dont care, they are busy with their life and dont have time for you' At the time I was panicking so didnt grasp the reality; that this was a lie. I didnt call anyone, I believed that lie and literally could have put my life in danger by listening to it. Thankfully the symptoms died down and I was okay.
My point is; the enemy's voice is convincing and powerful and we need to realize that he wants us to stay in fear because that is where he only has power.
In the book we are reading it said this 'When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you (psalm 56:3) The Future king David didnt minimize his situation or deny his feelings; rather he described how he conquered fear's bondage: David put his trust in God. This brings me nicely to my first point of how to deal with fear. As we learned from 3 different people in the bible in our study who dealt with fear, this was the overwhelming response to fear:
Trusting God in his character, his track record, his promises, his truths, the list goes on and on. If we are fearful of something, can we be trusting God too? We can only know all these things if we are in his word constantly growing and hungering after him. We are only able truly trust him if we know him, and the way to know him is through his living word.
One of the stories we studied, was when Jesus calmed the storm. The disciples were fearful of what was happening in front of them, but their fear was tamed by remembering that Jesus was there. He was in control of the storm and waves. Now how does that apply to us? He is in control. Of every storm, of every circumstance, of every single little thing that the enemy wants us to be fearful of; he is in control. Now since we understand that, we need to believe that he can tame down our fear, with our faith in him. We need to have faith in not only him, but who is is and what he is capable of. We need to know that because Jesus is there, the storm will be tamed. It may not look like the 'tamed down' we would like or choose, but in his will, he will tame the storm.
What we learned from Jesus walking on water and Peter getting out to walk to him. His eyes were on God, but the literal second he took his eyes off of Jesus and onto his circumstances, he began to drown. Once he refocused back to Jesus, he was saved. There is a casting crowns song that I listened to on repeat during a really dark season of mine and it said 'if you eyes are on the storm you'll wonder if I love you still, if your eyes are on me you'll know that I always have an I always will'
I learned in that season, that if my eyes are on my circumstances and my struggle, I will drown.
If I shift my focus and have trust in faith in Jesus-not that my circumstances will change or everything will get better, but just trust that what I know about who God is, is true, than I will be saved.
In the story we studied David as he was running in fear of his life from Saul who was trying to kill him. The most interesting thing is that David talks about his situation and circumstances, BUT his focus is on God. His focus is on the fact that he trusts God, that he believes in his power but then he takes it a step further and PRAISES God. David has the foundational knowledge and belief in who God is that I aspire to have. He knows that no tear is ever wasted, that no circumstance is never for nothing. He completely teaches us that we need to shift our perspective away from our fear and pain and onto worshipping and praising God in the midsts of it.
I want to introduce you to someone who has had an enormous impact on views on fear, my understanding of fear and my action towards fears; Ruth Soukup. I started listening to her podcast this year, and quickly became infatuated by her 'Do it Scared' movement.
I love personality tests and getting to know myself and those in my life on deeper levels in terms of how they think and behave, so the 'Fear Assessment' was right up my alley. The quick synopsis is that we all are affected and deal with fear differently based on different things. She has done a lot of valid and professional research and come up with '7 Fear Archetypes' each of us fall into. They are how fear plays into all aspects of our life and how we make decisions, follow through on our dreams and goals and so much more. It has been mind blowing starting to learn where fear is showing up in my life, in places I would have NEVER expected.
I am not going to ruin it all because I would encourage you to click the links below and check out it all yourself, but I will give you a short run down of the 7 types from Girlboss who describes them all really well.
The Procrastinator archetype isn’t what it seems. For those of us with this dominant fear archetype, we are often so obsessed with the end product being perfect that the planning and researching phase never quite gets wrapped up. That makes both getting started and completing projects difficult.
The Rule Follower is just what it sounds like: you’re dedicated to adhering to clear definitions of what’s right and what’s wrong, even if it’s at the expense of your own success.
If you’re a People Pleaser, that means you struggle most with the fear of being judged or worry most about others being disappointed in you. This can manifest as difficulty with boundaries or saying “no.”
Soukup says she’s “an Outcast through and through,” and notes that it’s a common archetype for entrepreneurs. Outcasts tend to outwardly appear fearless—but are secretly so afraid of rejection, they often reject others first.
For those of us that are Self-Doubters, the most dominant fear in your life is likely entrenched in deep feelings of insecurity about your own capabilities. You might describe yourself as “stuck,” or perhaps even find yourself judging others who make the leap as a way of masking your own fears.
For the Excuse Maker archetype, taking responsibility for your life choices and goals (or lack thereof) can be a major challenge. Rather than lead, you might find yourself often taking a backseat approach to life, allowing others to make decisions for you—and therefore letting yourself off the hook.
If you identify as someone with the Pessimist archetype, you likely struggle most with a fear of adversity or pain. Hardships feel more like stop signs, Soukup says, rather than stepping-stones to something greater.
Interested in what Fear Archetype you are?
Take the Assessment below and get you #1 type!
For a more in depth understanding, I have also linked to her book and a podcast episode that explains them all really well.
Okay so now we have talked a LOT about fear. But the goal is only to identify how fear is showing up in your life but NOT stay there. So how do we do all this?
You take a step forward, towards your fear. You take whatever courage you can muster up, and you walk in faith towards what every aspect of your being is telling you to turn and run away from. You face it like its a giant and all you have is a rock and a sling.
The study from above ended with this, and this is how I want to leave you today:
When fear comes, ask yourself "Why am I afraid?"
Then decide whether you'll move forward in fear, or in faith.