Fear sucks. It comes out of nowhere and grips so tightly. Rational thoughts are long gone and are replaced by worst case scenarios. Your body tenses, your stomach is in knots and it feels like your stomach is being eaten by worms. All of the things that you know about God have been replaced with doubt, insecurity, unbelief and uncertainty. You can’t think of anything else and the hold it has on you seems stronger than any other thought.
You start to fixate on every time that God has failed you, on every past disappointment, on every feeling of past hopelessness. You just want it all to go away so you are tempted to reach for anything that will numb these feelings. Physically, you become weak, so weak that you just want to shut down and sleep and over time it takes a huge toll on your body. Pretty soon everything feels out of whack.
How does this happen? How did I not recognize this for what it is…fear? How do we go down that path so quickly?
I did not copy these two previous paragraphs from a book or borrow them from a “friend.” I wrote these two paragraphs out of my own experience…recently, very recently. Fear is real and nobody is exempt from it. While we are in it, it feels impossible to get out of, but looking back on it, we can learn so much from it. We can learn how to look out for it so we don’t fall into its tight grip, again.
God really does have a sense of humor. In this midst of being gripped by fear, I happened to watch one of my teaching videos. (A group of us are going through a recent Bible study I had written.) During this video I share teaching points that revolve around the verse in the Lord’s prayer, “give us this day our daily bread.” I talk about how we need to ask Jesus to feed our soul, spirit and body. How we need to surrender our thoughts, our emotions and our mind so that Jesus can feed each of those things with HIS truth. I talk about how we need to be aware of “the bunny trails” to destruction that we go down. I talk about how we need to “think about what we think about.” I talk about how we need to take our thoughts captive and line them up with God’s word…if they don’t align, we need to throw those thoughts out.
I tell you this because of the irony that I am teaching this stuff on the video, but I needed to hear it!!! Friends, you may think that your Bible teachers and pastors have it all together and that they don’t struggle, but I’m here to tell you, WE ALL STRUGGLE!! Nobody is exempt from fear or troubles. We need each other. We need to be reminded of God’s truth and His faithfulness.
If you are struggling with fear,
1. First of all, put on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-17 says,
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth bucked around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
2. Next, identify the bad imaginations in your thinking. I like to call those bad imaginations “bunny trails.” Fear thrives on these bunny trails. Identify them (write them on a piece of paper) and do as Jesus says in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Cast down imaginations.” Give Jesus your bunny trails and ask Him to remove them from your thinking.
3. CHOOSE to agree with God’s promises instead of fear. Ask Jesus to “Break off fear.” As I was praying about this, God gave me a picture of “locking our eyes” on Him. Have you ever used a software program where you are trying to center something on a page? You move the thing you are trying to center around until you see a line appear that lets you know you’ve locked in on the center of the page. God showed me that when we “lock in” on Him, we are dead center in the middle of His will where fear cannot touch us.
4. Call a trusted friend and ask them to pray for you. If you don’t have that friend, email me at email@example.com and I will pray for you. I don’t want anybody to be trapped in fear as I have recently been.
I’m going to leave you with the “word” that God spoke to my son this morning in his prayer time. God said to him, “Don’t just sit with your shield of faith, but when times of trouble and insecurity strike, don’t just sit behind your shield and wait for the enemy to stop firing, because he won’t stop firing. Take hold of your thoughts and charge at the enemy, shield and sword in hand and slash down the enemy. Then you will find peace and rest through me your Savior, Jesus Christ.”