Have you ever noticed how loud your fear is? It kicks and screams. It won’t let you rest, it can make you stuck or even sick. Yet, so often we try to ignore it, stuff it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Maybe your fear is trying to communicate something to you. Instead of dismissing it, what if you and I paused, and took the time to listen to what our fear is trying to teach us? There is wisdom in your fear…it has a lot to teach us about ourselves, our life and the future.
Probably the most obvious lesson that can be learned from fear is, “what I am afraid of.” Most people are aware of many of their fears like snakes, crowded places, getting a disease, and so on. However, as a “Courage Challenger”, I would encourage you to dig deeper. If you can get to the core fear then real work can be done. For example, fear of getting a disease could be rooted in fear of dying or fear of no control over life.
Many of our unhealthy behaviors can be tracked back to fear. For example, with the fear of getting a disease, one may over-control their diet, exercise or environmental circumstances. While a good diet, exercise and healthy environment are good things… it is the extremes I am referring to. Look for unhealthy behaviors that repeat themselves often, and the situations that ignite the behavior. It might be time to uncover the fear that is feeding them.
“Find out the heart behind the behavior. Stop and make a note when the behavior presents itself.” Beverly Bradley, Family Ministries
The areas of life you fear the most, might be areas you have yet to allow God in on. Learning to trust God in all areas of life is important to relinquishing fear’s power over you. Are you only giving God the easy stuff and reserving the challenging fears to be handled by yourself? Look for these places…then let God in and ask Him to show his love to you in that area.
“The opposite of fear is love. Fear cannot be present in the presence of love…The Love of Christ must compel our every move.” Beverly Bradley, Family Ministries
Are there certain aspirations or situations you avoid? Maybe you want to join a bible study or a cooking class, but you don’t know anyone…so you don’t. Maybe you want to apply for a new job, but you are afraid of rejection so you never apply. Failure, rejection and embarrassment are powerful fears that cause many of us to avoid the situations that put us at risk. What do you avoid and what is the fear that keeps you from moving forward?
Rightfully so, some fears are rooted in painful, past experiences. But has the time come to let go of the past hurt, and the fear that it will happen again? Your situation has changed, you are stronger and wiser. The exact same situation could not repeat itself because you are a different person now. I highly recommend a counselor to help sort through the pain, forgive and let go of the past. It worked wonders for me.
Some fears are based on lies we believe about ourselves. For me, as a young girl (13 years old) one of my friend’s moms said to me, “Wow you have thickened up (referring to my body size). Yvette (who was my friend) is as thin as a rail.” That single comment started a life-long lie I believed about myself…my body wasn’t good enough. Something was wrong with me. I began to fear being fat and I carried that for years. That fear drove many false beliefs about myself, and a battle with anorexia years later. I am so thankful that I learned about God’s love and just how special I am to Him. Eventually, I was able to break free from that lie.
Fear’s greatest power is limitation. It strives to restrict you from living God’s best life for you. Fear’s limitations are great when it’s about crossing a busy street or not touching a hot stove. But what about pursuing your dreams or mending a broken relationship? Look for your limit’s edge, and ask yourself…can I walk over this edge and step beyond my limits? John Ortberg’s book is so perfectly titled, If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat …are you stuck in your boat? What will it take to step out of it? Don’t let your fear limit you.
Fear is an opportunity to show courage and faith. The fact is you can’t be courageous without fear. For me, I have had to learn to hold hands with my fear and walk right into what I fear most…quitting my job, pursing writing, and homeschooling. What fear is providing you an opportunity to Grow Your Courage Muscle?
Yes, fear can become your master by controlling how your think and act. Our world is full of fear and doubt…it is inescapable. It wants to defeat you so you don’t impact the world in a positive way. Who is calling the shots in your life? What are you bowing down to…your fear or God? Only God is worthy of being your master. What chains of fear do you need broken today?
Control is an attempt to handle fear. However, control is a false sense of security. Seriously, what do we really have control over anyway? Not much…except our attitude, our choices and our belief in God. Everything else is subject to change. Look at the areas of life you try to control and surrender them to God. No easy task, but reducing your anxiety level is well worth it.
“We control to the level of our fear.” Beverly Bradley, Family Ministries
Letting your fear become your teacher is an eye opening experience. It could hurt, it might make you angry or sad, and you may feel like giving-up. However, there is so much freedom on the other side. Fear kicks and screams inside you because it wants to teach you how to be free from it. Listen to what it is saying. Use the 10 steps above as a guide, and join me in finding your best life by allowing the wisdom in your fear to teach you. May God’s love overwhelm you today.
To learn more about Beverly Bradley please visit http://www.familyministries.com.