Perhaps you would not describe yourself as fearful, but if we dig under our veneer of control all of us experience some degree of fear. For myself, Mr. Fear and I are well acquainted. I speak of him as a person because it took me long to recognize his presence in my life.
To me, Fear is best described in the person of a bully, the ones we remember from our childhood years and still recognize around us when people behave in a certain way. He waits until our support structures are not around and then pushes us into a corner and pins us down. Not satisfied, he then wrestles us to the ground and proceeds to sit on our chest.
No matter how much we struggle, we cannot move. We are pinned down and paralyzed by him. When he has had us like this for a while, we learn to live with him, we eventually cannot even remember what it was like not to be pinned down in fear. So we just accept it and we lie still. Hoping he will go away. This is exactly what he wants, to take us out of life.
If we struggle, he increases the strength of his stranglehold, applies the pressure, and steals our last breath. He steals our happiness, dominates our thinking and slowly takes out of us, the desire to fight back. We no longer dream, we don’t hope, we just endure!
As time passes he doesn’t even have to work so hard anymore to keep us pinned down, we are so used to him limiting our lives that we don’t even struggle anymore and choose to live the limited life he will allow us.
Don’t know about you, but he loves to catch me when I am alone, feeling low or in the night hours. At times he can sit so heavily on our chests we cannot breathe; we sweat and wonder if he will ever let up. He seems to know just where our fear buttons are and how to push them, how to manipulate our thinking to “what if…” He is an expert on keeping us pinned down, paralyzed.
Eventually, you just cry! Cry because you can’t beat him; cry because you can’t move even if you wanted do; cry because you feel helpless.
It took me a while to recognize how he operates in my life, but once I recognized his “modus operandi” I knew who I was fighting against.
He is the ‘spirit of fear’ and although he is so familiar to all of us, he is not meant to be a part of us. God has “not given us a spirit of fear (timidity), but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline (control).” 2 Timothy 1:7. We are not supposed to live under the tyranny of Fear, we are to have a new spirit in us, that trusts in our Father and calls on Him, “Abba Father.” (Romans 8:15.)
For me, recognizing how fear bullied me was the first step. I had to agree that I was afraid. Once we recognize the “spirit of fear” in our lives, we like David need to start at the starting point in dealing with fear. In Psalm 27, David shares where to start. He is filled with fear and a sense of being isolated. His fearful heart speaks to him in verse 8:
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
To start to deal with fear in our lives, it has to start with seeking the Lord’s face. It worked for David in Psalm 27 and it still works today, seeking out our Father as the one who will not forsake us (See verse 9). And while you are in His presence to meditate on:
- Nothing will ever happen to you that is a mistake, or that God does not know about. Psalm 139:1-4,16
- Nothing will ever happen to you that you cannot handle without God’s power and grace. 2 Cor 12:9-10.
- Nothing will ever happen to you that will not eventually be used by God for some good purpose in your life. Rom 8:28
- Nothing will ever happen to you without God’s presence, right beside you. Matt 28:20
- Nothing will ever happen to you that will push you beyond what you can handle 1 Cor 10:13
- Nothing will ever happen to you that will separate you from God’s love Rom 8:38-39
Fear is just a bully. The sooner you recognize the ‘spirit of fear’ in your life and how he operates, the sooner you can stop operating in fear and start operating in faith.
Here is a challenge: Write down everything you are afraid of in a list format. Then acknowledge before the Lord that you are afraid of each item. Then draw a line on the ground. Stand on one side and pray: “Father, I acknowledge that I have been operating in fear in these areas… and that I have been afraid. Today I choose to no longer operate in fear. I draw a line on the ground to represent the end of fear’s domination in my life and today choose to step over into a new life with you.
I step over into a life of power, of love and a sound mind that is disciplined and controlled. I step into reliance on the Holy Spirit and trusting you with my life. I step into your all powerful arms and entrust you with everything that is precious to me because You are worthy.”
From the moment you choose not to give the bully power, you start moving towards victory over fear. Even though he may catch you every now and then and be present in your life, you already have made a decision not to operate in fear and he no longer dominates. With each encounter, you grow in power; in faith; in understanding God’s love; you grow in trust and with time, you outgrow the bully’s power.
Make a decision to no longer live under the bully.
Anyone else out there who struggles with fear, or am I the only one. Please comment below and share you own story with me, encourage my faith as I battle fear in my own life again.