Jeanne Takenaka

Have you figured out how to overcome fear? I’ve discovered fear often comes from dwelling on the “what if’s” (future thinking) or the “Maybes” (unfactual thinking). I’m so guilty of this. Last year, when I had to have a biopsy, my mind immediately raced toward the worst-case scenario. 

What if I die? I won’t get to see my boys graduate, come into adulthood, marry, have children. I won’t get to be a grandma. 

I’ll have to struggle, be in pain. I’m going to miss so much.

Was any of this true? NO.

My mind got snagged on the thought, “What if this biopsy reveals cancer?” And spun from there. For a few days, I couldn’t get this out of my mind or my heart, though I certainly tried.

I finally sat down and had a “come to Jesus” meeting with, well, Jesus. I asked Him to help me think on what is true. What was true in that situation was that this was a biopsy. There were no facts indicating they would find cancer. Sometimes remembering the facts of a matter helps us begin to overcome fear.

And, even if they did, God would be with me. He would be with my family. 

And if I died, I had to come to the place where I entrusted my husband and sons into His hands. 

And isn’t that where they already should be? 

How to overcome fear in our thoughts

Letting go of the illusion of control helped me to release fear and trust the Lord in this situation. But it took much intentional effort to understand my why’s behind the fears to get to that point. 

When we allow What If’s and Maybe’s to roam around in our minds, we’re going to get spun up, fixated on those “not true” thoughts. 

Meme with the words, "'Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.' ~Philippians 4:8, NKJV" on a backdrop of large red and white rocks rising into a blue sky

How we take our thoughts captive

We must think on what is true. How do we do this?

  • Whether we fear something from our past or something in the not yet, must own that we’re struggling with it. Some of our fears stem from situations that could be actual possibilities. Others are wildly “out there,” but we still fear them.
  • Develop an awareness of when our thoughts begin to spin. If we’re feeling the physical effects of fear—racing heart, short breaths, worrying thoughts—it’s helpful to stop what we’re doing for a couple of minutes and take a few in-through-the nose, out-through-the-mouth deep breaths.
  • Determine what triggered the fear response. There is often an underlying reason for our fear. My biggest underlying reason for the fear about the biopsy was, honestly, I don’t want to leave my family. Not yet.
  • Confess the fear to God. In Psalm 64:1b David prays, “Preserve my life from the fear of the enemy.” (Italics are mine). Yes, he wanted his life to be saved from his enemies’ hands. But, David admitted his fear. He handed it over to God. And that’s what we must do too. God knows we will deal with fear. The question He asks us is, what will we do with said fear? These steps help us in facing our fears.
An image of a large rock in the way on a dirt path...it's a reminder that to overcome fear we will face obstacles

How to overcome fear in life by taking action

Remember God is greater than our fear.

We do this by spending time reading and meditating on His word. We find a way to remember God’s character. His faithfulness. The fact that He loves us.

Journaling helps me gain perspective with my situation. I pour out my thoughts, my fears, my worries, almost like a prayer. As I write out each point, God has a way of reminding me who He is or what His perspective is

Something happens when we take time to write our thoughts. Words tend to flow unhindered from heart to page. When I journal, I almost always sense God speaking to me. Something about writing my thoughts and prayers calms my heart and opens me up to hear His voice. 

If journaling isn’t your thing, make a list of God’s character traits, remember the ways He’s shown Himself faithful in your past.

Or speak out loud the truths you know about God and His workings in your life. The purpose is to focus on who God is and how He’s been faithful in the Bible and in our pasts. Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Remembering this gives us tools to overcome fear.

How to Overcome Fear in Our Minds—The purpose is to focus on who God is and how He’s been faithful in the Bible and in our pasts. Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever #overcomefear #tellhisstory Click To Tweet

Choose to trust God

When God shows us His truth in our situation we need to act on it. We must retrain our brains. Memorize verses that address the circumstances causing us to feel fear. When we cycle into fearful thoughts, speak the verses we’ve memorized to calm our minds and hearts.

A bendy dirt path leading beneath a tree bridge—a symbol that to overcome fear we must walk on some unknown paths

Making Different Choices to Overcome Fear

Keeping it real here, my mind leans toward the unknown future thinking with “What if . . .” and “Maybe . . .” because I tend to plan for the worst. The thing is, I never feel better when I analyze situations that haven’t come to pass. I end up stressed out, spun up, and anxious. 

When we choose to live in the right now, rather than trying to dissect what hasn’t even happened yet, our hearts and minds will stay calmer. Giving this moment—right here, right now, whatever it holds—into God’s hand and trusting Him enables us to know God’s peace in each moment. 

How to Overcome Fear in Our Minds—Giving this moment—right here, right now, whatever it holds—into God’s hand and trusting Him enables us to know God’s peace in each moment #overcomingfear #tellhisstory #trustgod Click To Tweet

The truth is, we don’t know what the future holds; only One does. But, if we trust the One who knows the future . . . 

. . . if we believe His plans for us are good plans, even if they are hard, painful, or stretching

. . . we won’t be sucked in by fear. 

Keeping our focus on God and trusting that His plans are best for us (note: I didn’t say easiest), there’s something powerful about knowing we’re held by the One who created the universe. We’re loved by the One who is so vast yet still intimate with individuals. 

An image of huge, flat red and white rocks rising above the trees with mountains in the background and a blue sky above

Conclusion

And the biopsy? By the time the appointment day rolled around, I was calmer . . . mostly. The doc showed me the preliminary findings revealed no cancer. And, after further examination, this diagnosis held firm. 

God used those fear-filled weeks to coax me to a place where I stopped trying to control bigger-than-me circumstances and started trusting Him, come what may. 

What about you? When has God brought you through a fear-filled season? What have you learned about how to overcome fear in your mind?

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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