Fear has many faces and none of them are good. We all experience the emotion of fear at some point in our lives. We may not realize how many of our decisions are controlled by anxious feelings or imagined scenarios that keep us from trusting God.
Well-established fears can haunt us when faced with the prospect of having to do certain activities, such as flying.
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary describes fear: "Painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger." I have a fear of height to the point that climbing up on a chair or ladder causes me distress. One day I decided it was necessary to put my fear aside and clean the leaves out of the gutters on my home. I finally made it to the third rung on the ladder when I froze. My son came around the house and saw me hugging the ladder. "What's going on, Mom? You've been out here long enough to have finished." Embarrassed, I told him about my problem. He was shocked. After helping me down, he finished the job.
Some phobias need counseling and perhaps medication, but some methods that we can all use will help deal with the problem.
- Pray for the Lord to give you strength and peace of mind before and during the activity.
- Breathe deeply and do stretching exercises.
- Think positive thoughts, including how great it will feel to accomplish the task.
- Realize that others can do it, and so can you.
- Thank the Lord for the opportunity to face the fear with Him at your side.
Fears can plague our lives to the point that we feel continually anxious over our children's well-being, our career and finances, or even our remaining years on this earth. The Bible tells us, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7).
Being a fearful parent can produce fearful children. When my children were young, they had an opportunity to take skiing lessons. I was afraid they would break a leg or arm, or perhaps ski off the trail and get lost. A wise friend of mine said, "The reason you're afraid for them to take skiing lessons, is because you don't ski. Why don't you go up to the mountain with them? Even if you just watch, you'll see it's very safe." I took the advice, and my children are now good skiers and love the sport. It taught me a lesson to allow them the freedom to try activities based on fact, not fear.
Our fears are often a product of imagined tragedies.
Responding to circumstances in a fearful way can be a habit. Only when we reach the panic stage do we realize we have succumbed again to our apprehensions.
When I was anxious about one of my children, my aged mother would smile and say, "Now dear, there are some things that are out of your hands. Just pray. Remember, God is in control." It was a simple statement, but a powerful truth. Fear does not need to control our lives. Fear has many faces, but with the Lord's help, we can learn to trust Him and break the grip of fear.
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1984), s.v. "fear."
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.