Do you know how to deal with fear?
For me, this has been a lifelong learning process. Before I married Hubs, I had no problem sleeping alone in the house I rented with a friend. I fell asleep, not worried about boogey men or things that went bump in the night, and I awoke refreshed each morning.
Then I married my husband. Some months after our wedding, he left to attend a three-month school across the country. No problem. I could do this alone thing.
Only, I couldn’t.
Night after night, my thoughts either obsessed over the question, “What if God chooses to take my husband rather than let me grow old with him?” Or, every creak in the house caused my eyes to pop open, my heart to race, and my mind to dash to the possible worst-case scenario.
When fear creeps in
Sometimes, fear creeps in without us realizing it. When circumstances slam us in many areas of our lives simultaneously, underlying anxiety may surface and wreak havoc. We have to know how to deal with fear.
And this begins by acknowledging it.
The good thing is, Jesus doesn’t judge us for being fearful, though He doesn’t want us to live in a constant state of fear. Here’s some of what I’m learning about how to deal with fear.8 Essential How To's for When We Must Deal With Fear— Jesus doesn’t judge us for being fearful, though He doesn't want us to live in a constant state of fear #tellhisstory #dealwithfear Click To Tweet
How to deal with fear in minds and hearts
- Take time to pray, journal, or talk with trusted friends about what lies at the foundation of our fear. When we understand why we’re struggling, we can begin to deal with fear in a healthy way.
- Be intentional about understanding the root. Be aware of our thoughts. When they begin to amp us up physically (rapid heartbeat, uneven breathing) or emotionally (our thoughts get stuck circling around the thing/thought causing fear), we need to identify it. Knowing which thoughts are triggers enables us to learn how to deal with that fear
- Change our perspective about the thing/circumstance we fear. If we can view that fear from a different angle, we can diffuse the emotion wrapping around us
Mindset Shifts to help us deal with fear
- Often, our fears are unrealistic, but in the moment they strike, we can’t see anything but that worst-case scenario. Take a moment to think about how many times you’ve heard of that exact fearful situation happening. And if it’s something like a fear of having a heart attack (yes, this happens to people we know and love), remember truths about our health, or whatever it is we fear in the moment.
- NHS Inform in Scotland encourages us to: “Think about what you would say to a friend dealing with this same fear.”
- When we know the foundation of our fear, we can find specific Bible verses to memorize and lean on when fear-laced thoughts snake into our minds.
- Think on what is true (Phil 4:8). When we fix our thoughts on the truths we know about God we can deal with fear in a healthy way. It may take time to settle those fearsome thoughts. Make a list about what you know is true about God in the situation evoking fear. Journal it. Speak it out loud. Pray those truths. Remember our God is faithful. He’s shown up in our past, and He’ll be here in our present.
- When our minds spin us up, it takes time to calm down enough to deal with fear. I’ve heard it said that what starts in the mind, goes to the heart, and eventually comes out the mouth or through our actions. When we’re dealing with fear, we must choose. Will we allow it to plant roots in our hearts and control us, or will we bring it to God?
- We always have a choice when fear pokes its head into our hearts: focus on God or obsess about the fear. Focusing on the fear leaves us an emotional wreck. We begin thinking about that thing we fear, and then we escalate it by imagining the worst-case scenario. Before we know it, we’ve already given into the emotion as if that scenario has become reality.
- When we focus on God, we acknowledge He is bigger than our fear. Greater is He who is in us than he who is in this world. God is not the author of fear. But the enemy of our souls will use it to distract and destroy us if he can.
- Understanding the root of our fear—and our triggers—enables us to remember God’s truths. We can memorize scriptures that redirect our brains and remind our hearts that God’s got us. He will hold us. Our Father will bring us through the hard moments, difficult situations, and uncertain circumstances. Because He loves us.
Until our hearts cling to the truth that God is bigger than any fear, than any circumstance, we’re unable to overcome fear.8 Essential How To's for When We Must Deal With Fear—We always have a choice when fear pokes its head into our hearts: focus on God or obsess about the fear. #tellhisstory #dealwithfear Click To Tweet
It took most of the three months Hubs was gone for me to master that fear of losing him or of the house being broken into. The thoughts always struck at night. So, I confessed them to the Lord. I reminded myself of truths . . .
. . . God knew the plans He had for us, and they were good plans.
. . . Even if the worst did happen, my Father would walk with me through it
. . . God was my protector; I had nothing to fear
Learning how to deal with fear requires discipline and taking intentional action. In time, as my heart clung to the truths about God’s character, my mind stopped racing. I began sleeping again. And I experienced His peace instead of the uncertainty fear gives us.
What about you? What have you learned about how to deal with fear? How has God helped your heart overcome fear?Come share your story at the Tell His Story linkup. Connect and be encouraged by like-minded friends! #tellhisstory #linkup Click To Tweet
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