Dealing with the emotion of fear.
By definition, fear means an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. In some scenarios it is a necessary emotion because it keeps us alert as we proceed in different situations. It prevents up from walking thoughtlessly into danger and when warranted, it puts us in that ‘fight or flight’ mode that is necessary for survival. There is also the fear of God where we revere Him and repent from our sin for fear of punishment. But this is not the fear I want to talk about.
As I study the word of God, I notice that this is the greeting that angels gave to man when they came upon them; Fear not. I also noted that of all the emotions we have been given, God had to tell us that He didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). This reminder is actually crucial in our Christian walk. I say this because fear is the one emotion that paralyzes and cripples us. It causes us not to move. You never hear someone say they were paralyzed or crippled with love, or hate, or jealousy, or greed, or joy etc. Fear paralyzes.
The enemy is crafty and he knows this. He knows that as long as we are oppressed by the spirit of fear, and yes it is a spirit, we wouldn’t be effective for God. We wouldn’t want to go witness and evangelize because we fear rejection. We freeze walking in our spiritual gifts because we are afraid of critique and rejection. You see, most of us like to be liked and we like to have friends. So the thought of people not accepting us or what we have to say is a terrifying one. We are afraid that the plan God has shown us wouldn’t work. We see that as failure (we are afraid of that!). There are some of us who are afraid the plan of God will work; success (and we are afraid of that too!). This whole fear thing is a mess.
Fear produces procrastination. We are afraid to move or we don’t know how to start. So we don’t. We put it off and put it off, ‘fixin to do this’, and ‘meaning to do that’: All the while robbing ourselves of a confident walk with God. It causes us to doubt God and be double minded; packing on anxiety to every situation in our lives. Sometimes there is no one we can honestly tell the truth to and we lie when asked why we haven’t completed the task. We don’t want others to know that we are afraid and this causes fear to have an even stronger hold on us. It can be a vicious and unproductive cycle and today we will expose it in the name of Jesus.
As I mentioned the bible lets us know that fear is a spirit and it is NOT from God. This is from satan, our enemy. As soon as we feel it we should realize that the enemy is infringing on our peace with God. We have to understand that it is not merely fear that is affecting us; it is fear of ___________ (something). Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of losing friends, fear of losing family, fear of being unloved, fear of success, fear of being alone, fear of the unknown, fear of dying, fear of trusting people, fear of getting hurt, and the list can go on. We have to be truthful so that this spirit can be uprooted and killed from the core.
I know for me, it’s the fear of rejection and people not liking me. But I fight through that each and every day. When satan knows what your ‘fear thing’ is, he will use it every chance he gets (I don’t blame him because he is just doing his job). Anything to keep me off focused and missing the mark with God is what he sends my way. I encourage myself with the fact that Jesus was rejected and God is rejected multiple times each day. Why should my walk with God be any different? My perspective had to change. As Christians people are not rejecting us, they are rejecting the Christ within us. They shun the light of God and ultimately they are shunning God not me.
In gathering materials before I started this blog, I was working an assignment where me and another co-worker were with radio personality and author, Michael Baisden, as he signed autographs in several of his books that customers had purchased. A teenager walked up to him and told him she was interested in journalism and asked if he had any tips to give her. Well he told her one piece of advice that just stuck in my spirit. He told her, to be effective in personal writing you have to be honest and transparent. Readers can’t connect with you when your life seems like a fairy tale. Personal, honest and transparent….Sometimes I feel some anxiety and fear when I realize that I have to be real and share my own struggles, disappointments and victories. After all the purpose of this blog is to allow the struggles and subsequent victories that I have had to be an encouragement and motivator to someone else; to help shorten their struggle with similar issues. But I am doing it anyway; God did not give me a spirit of fear!!
What is that one major thing that you aren’t doing because of fear? Have you truly admitted what the root of your fear is? If not, call that thing out. It has no power over you, but you must first acknowledge it. I encourage you today with words that I have heard Joyce Meyer say “Do it Afraid.” You are not alone. Many of your brothers and sisters are getting it done. So write that book, open that business, quit that job and go full time ministry, end that relationship, send that letter, make that phone call etc. Just do it!