Fear: It's Real, And What to Do About It

As I was driving home, my mind drifted. In no time flat I was in an internal panic, thinking about what would happen to my children if my husband and I both died at the same time. Then, I let my mind go further (too far), and I imagined we all died except my youngest daughter. Would our friends gather around her? Would our family get there quickly enough to calm her fears? I was almost in tears, gripped by fear.

Fear has been a long-time battle for me. Believe it or not, I've made significant headway in this area. God has done a work in me that has taken years, but obviously, the battle is not over. I know in my mind that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18), but my sinful flesh is still warring against that perfect love.

Over the years, I have, however, learned five ways to combat my fears. At moments when fear rears its ugly head, I have to rehearse, again and again, how to do battle against it.

Pray.

This may sound a little too easy or even trite. But it's not easy at all! Prayer is often what we overlook in our frenzy, yet it's one of the most powerful weapons we have. Through it, we have direct access to God where Jesus is interceding for us. And, the Holy Spirit is pleading for us with groans too deep for words. When fear takes hold, our first response should be prayer.

"Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you." (1 Pet. 5:7)

Talk to yourself.

Stop listening to the fearful thoughts circulating in your head, and start telling yourself the truth. (And by the way, you won't have any truth to speak to yourself if you don't have any of God's Word in you, which was my problem for many years.) Speak God's Word to your own heart—and even aloud—if that will help. Memorize verses like Joshua 1:9, Psalm 23, Psalm 36:7, Psalm 56:3–4, Psalm 118:6, John 14:1, and 2 Timothy 1:7. (You should pray these verses, as well.)

Then, search the Scriptures for times when God tells individuals not to be afraid. He told Joshua this when he was about to face his enemies (Josh. 1:9). When Mary was visited by an angel, he told her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God" (Luke 1:30). The shepherds were told by the angel of the Lord not to fear when God's glory suddenly shone around them (Luke 2:9). God knows our tendency to fear, and He has given us His Word to help us in our weakness.

Remove things that fuel fear.

I used to soak in the lead stories of the evening news and then lie awake at night imagining myself or a family member in those (always) tragic accounts. It only made me afraid, so eventually I stopped watching the news.

My husband now reads the news, filters it, and lets me know what issues I should study further. This has made a tremendously positive effect on the level of fear I carry. Besides news, there are certain movies and TV shows I know I don't need to watch. My husband doesn't try to coax me into watching them; he helps protect me from fear.

Take practical steps.

Taking practical steps to counter your fears doesn't mean you're giving in to fear--you're battling it!

If one of your greatest fears is what will happen to your children if you die, make provision for them. Get a life insurance policy. Write a will. Talk to a friend or family member about caring for your kids if something were to happen to you. If one of your constant nagging fears is staying alone and your husband travels a lot, get a security alarm or a dog with a big bark. I know a couple of moms who had a big sleepover with their kids when both their husbands were out of town because they didn't like staying alone. Taking practical steps to counter your fears doesn't mean you're giving in to fear—you're battling it!

Trust God.

Whatever the future holds, God is trustworthy. His steadfast love endures forever. This does not mean that difficult situations—the kind we consider worthy of fear—will not arise. Trials will come. Jesus suffered, and we will suffer. But we do not have to face our fears alone. God is with us, Jesus knows our frailty and intercedes for us, and the Holy Spirit empowers us from within.

"He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." (Ps. 56:3)

What step(s) will you take today to battle fear?

 

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About the Author

Carrie Ward

Carrie Ward

Carrie is just an "ordinary" mom with a heart for her husband, children, and her extraordinary God. Although she’s a longtime follower of Jesus and an active church member, she always struggled with reading the Bible daily. But through God's loving providence, she went from an inconsistent devotional life to a regular time of reading and meditating on Scripture. How? God used her children. In the company of these lively, happy little people, God took a discipline that had been a struggle and made it an immeasurable joy.

Read more by Carrie at CarrieWard.com.

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