Fear is a tricky thing. Sometimes it sneaks up on you; when your heart starts pounding, your skin is tingly, and you have this sense that something doesn’t feel quite right. Other times fear will stare you in the face and you just want to hide so you don’t have to look at it any longer. Whatever fear looks like, it can be crippling. No one is immune to fear!
Our bodies are designed with a fight or flight response when we are presented with a situation that is perceived as stressful or frightening. Our sympathetic nervous system triggers a response for our bodies to fight or flee. These responses are critical in surviving truly threatening situations. However, many times our fear comes from a false perception and can cause other struggles such as anxiety. We then begin to live in a constant state of fear where our physiological and psychological responses are on overdrive.
With all that is going on in our world today it is no wonder that there is a lot of fear, anxiety and stress. The news and social media can often contribute to these fears even more. So, what can we do in the face of fear?
As a therapist I could listen to your stories, come up with some coping tools, and teach how to manage fears that may arise. While these are all necessary and worthwhile tools, I have found the biggest source of my help in the face of fear is my relationship with God. Let me get personal with you for a moment. As a Christian therapist I struggle with fear and anxiety. It is something I am often ashamed to admit, because as a therapist and as a Christian I should know what to do and not fear in the first place. But, alas, I am just a faulty human being. Thankfully, I don’t have to beat myself up for feeling this way. God just simply wants me to come to Him with my fears and worries. He wants me to lay them at His feet. And He wants you to do the same.
Sometimes instead of completely removing the fear the Lord will instead give us courage to face it head-on. In the book of Daniel in the Bible we see the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who refused to bow down to the king’s false idol. Daniel 3:17-18 says, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” These men showed courage in what would have been a very fearful situation. They knew that even if God didn’t deliver them from death, He was still good and they could know He was with them. Miraculously they did not burn in the fire and God delivered them.
We often wonder why God doesn’t deliver us from our fears. I know I’ve discovered in my life that He often has something to teach me in facing my fears head-on. I have heard it said that courage is not the absence of fear, but moving forward in spite of fear. What are you worried about today? What are you afraid of today? While I am not saying that we should not seek out professional help for our fears and anxiety, I do believe that God can help us take that next step in facing our fears if we will only turn to Him and receive the courage He gives today. Maybe your courage will come in the form of sharing with a trusted friend, or making a phone call to find counseling, or maybe it is seeking out a relationship with God. Wherever you find yourself today, my prayer is that you would receive the courage you need to face your fears.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7