I want to talk about something that keeps coming up in conversations with all kinds of different people who are in different circumstances and in different seasons of life. And that is fear. I think fear is such a natural human response to changing or challenging circumstances in our lives. Whether that be fear of what the future may hold, fear not being able to find peace and joy again, fear of being overcome by grief at the loss of a loved one, fear of being alone, fear of being financially strapped, fear of not making the right decisions. Can you identify with any of these?
For me, I remember, soon after my husband died, fear took ahold of my life. I was afraid of my new single status after being married for so long - after being a couple, now single. Alone. I feared not being able to manage my finances appropriately. I feared making wrong decisions that might harm me financially. I feared being forgotten, unimportant. I feared being purposeless. My fears and my faith were in a daily, if not minute by minute, struggle.
One minute I had a real fear of everything I faced in front of me, and the next minute I had unwavering faith in God. That literally was my day. I’d wake up with worry on my mind. Then I’d lay it all before the Lord as I confessed my weakness and doubt in prayer. Then He would show up, just like He always does, with compassion and peace and sometimes very tangible answers and direction, and I would walk away believing that He was going to show up and take care of things. Then something else would come up and there I’d be, back into fear and worry. It took everything I had to take captive those thought errors just like 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to do. It was a constant battle of the mind! Fear chased me down and was relentless.
One thing I know to be true: fear is not of God, it’s the enemy’s handiwork. So then, of course, as I bowed to fear, the enemy got busy messing with my mind. I began to think: “I must deserve this. I must not be good enough, important enough, lovable enough to live in ease and comfortableness. I must be abandoned. I mustbe forgotten. I must be left alone. I must, because I deserve it. I’m not enough. Not worthy.”
Can I tell you something honestly? I still have many of those same fears sneak up on me today, five years later. I may not have the same thoughts as a result like I used to, but occasionally the thoughts I do have send me spinning.
But now I know what to do to overcome fear…and do it quickly. And that is three specific things:
Number one - Check your belief system that fuels your thoughts. Remember that what you believe determines your thinking, and your thinking determines how you experience your life. So, no matter what circumstance you find yourself in, whether what’s come up is big or small, YOU get to choose whether you’re living there in a place of peace and calm, which is of God, or living there in anxiety and fear – which is not of God.
So, what do you believe? Have you ever taken some time to think about your belief system that’s driving you and considered WHY you believe what you do? Like, have you nailed down what it is you believe about God exactly? What do you believe about His character? What have you been taught? What have you experienced of Him? The root of our fear is a lack of trust in God’s goodness. And we don’t trust His goodness because we don’t believe, ultimately, that He’s altogether good - one of His perfect & beautiful characteristics.
And what do you think about yourself in relation to Him? Who are you? And how does He relate to you?
Who are you depending upon as your source for what it is you need? Is that yourself? Another person? or is that God – the One “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think?” Your belief system is going to determine how you’re able to change the way you’re experiencing your life.
So, the question for me as I began to check my own belief system became not “Do you believe in God,” but “Do you believe the God you believe in?” “Do you believe He will do what He says He will and can do?” Or do you believe He’s a capricious God, inconsistent, variable, fickle? Do you believe He is Omniscient, knowing all that you’re going through and need? Do you believe He’s Omnipotent, able to change, orchestrate, and create things to happen?
The way you experience your life will be directly affected by your confidence in the fullness of the character of God. He acts out of His character. The more quickly we come to know and understand His character, the more we are able to experience His character. And the more we experience His character, the more we believe He acts out of His character. There’s so much more that could be said here, but if you’re interested, I went a little deeper on this in Episode number 5 - Fear, Doubt, and Unbelief.
The second thing to do in order to overcome fear after checking your belief system is to take those lie-based thoughts captive and transform your thinking. So, reviewing or confessing your belief system first is a great way to identify which of our thoughts are lie-based, and then you can formulate new thoughts that are in line with those things that you do believe. This is renewing your mind - Romans 12:2.
My new thought became, God is a loving and perfect Father. And because He is perfect and His love is perfect, then the way He Fathers me is perfect – it’s done perfectly. And as my Father, I can trust that He cares about my needs and is going to provide for me. He doesn’t want to see me suffer. He wants for me to thrive and to live in abundant joy and peace.
My thought, fueled by my belief, is that everything God does is an expression of His goodness and designed to benefit His children. There is no ill will in His heart. Only good. So I trust that where He’s leading me, and even the specific circumstances I’m facing, are somehow for my good. I can rest in this because of my belief system.
My belief that God is compassionate, gracious, merciful, kind, faithful, fuels me with thoughts about a great and powerful God that is also very near, alive, and active in my life. I know that when I feel fearful and my circumstances feel overwhelming, I know that His heart is tender towards me and He draws near.
I also believe that He is a God who understands my weaknesses and is quick to forgive. So when I’m afraid I’ve gotten on the wrong path or made decisions that weren’t to my advantage, I know He gently pulls me back in and guides me in the right way to go. He’s with me all along.
Fear cannot consume me with these kinds of thoughts.
The third thing that you should quickly do to overcome fear is to put those concerns in God’s hands and have the expectation and anticipation of God showing up in your situation. In simpler words, walk in faith. Walk in what you said you believe. Your belief system. Again, “Do you believe the God you believe in?”
For me, this HAS to happen each morning. In prayer, I confess my belief system, I confess thoughts that reflect those beliefs in relation to my fears and concerns, and then I exercise my faith by pronouncing that I can’t wait to see how God is going to show up for this one. That’s walking it out in faith. Listen, sometimes it looks impossible. Like the time I needed money and I was a little incredulous as to how God was going to be able to get money to me. I knew there weren’t any money trees around. But He did some wild and crazy things, things that I would’ve never dreamed of, to get that money to me. Go listen to those crazy details in Episode number 18 - Risk and Reward: Part 2. Those were impossible circumstances. Well, impossible to me. But nothing is impossible for God. Walk in that belief. Put it in His hands and walk in faith with great anticipation of Him showing up.
Friend, like I said at the beginning of this episode, I believe fear is a natural human response to changing or challenging circumstances in our lives. If fear has taken hold because of circumstances you’re facing, I want to remind you that it’s okay. Nothing has gone wrong. This is normal. Did you know that the phrase “fear not” is in the Bible 365 times? One admonition for every day of the year. And it’s usually followed by something like “take courage.” Why would that message need to be spoken 365 times if we humans were not prone to fear. What we don’t want is to let fear overcome us. We want to know what to do when it hits. The “take courage” part is found in the three things we’ve just discussed: Check your belief system, purposefully formulate your thoughts out of that belief system, and give your concerns to God in faith that He’s going to show up for you. Friend, that’s your formula to overcome fear.
Friend, if fear has risen up and has taken up too much of your mental and emotional energy and you’re sick and tired of your negative thought-life, then you’ll do whatever it takes to get that thinking straight and in-line with what God says, who God is, and what He thinks about you. If this is you, I’d love to be your Life Coach and help you navigate through the process of overcoming fear.
I’ve put a link in the show notes for a free 30-minute call just so we can see if we’re a good fit to work together and show you how Life Coaching would work for you.
Also, don’t forget click the link in the show notes to get the free, downloadable guide that complements this episode.
Have a week full of faith, friends. See you next Wednesday for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life podcast.