faith

How Do I Stop Being Fearful?

Don’t Let Fear Win

Every once in awhile I hear the radio announcer say, “You can trust God or be afraid, but you can’t do both.”

It’s true. Yet fear plagues many of us who believe. Why is that? Is it because God is invisible? Do we fear because we’ve experienced so many problems or heartaches? Do our fears revolve around the unknown?

A lot of mine do.

But we should stop and ask, “How many of our fears actually never come to fruition?”

Fear Stops Us

Last week I wrote about discouragement. Fear plays a role in discouragement too. It’s definition is the lack of confidence. When I’m discouraged, I fear I’m going to fail or have already.

Some of us allow fear of the future to discourage us before we even get started.

What have you not done because you were afraid? Or what dream did you stop pursuing because you didn’t feel you had what it takes, and you feared failure? Have you experience paralysis by analysis?

God Tells Us Not to Be Afraid

“Fear not!” can be found in 144 verses in the Bible according to The Blue Letter Bible. You can read a list of them here. 

I love this. I love the hearts of the biblical saints, the men and women we think of as so holy, who experienced fear just as we do. But even more than loving this common bond we have with Abraham, Joshua, Mary, and Gideon, I’m humbly thankful that we have a God who does not want us to be afraid.

I know there are verses about fearing God, and that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God. But this fear is one of reverence, respect, and worship. It’s not the same kind of fear as the one that keeps us awake at night with anxious thoughts.

The Opposite of Fear

The opposite of fear is faith and peace. Fear stirs up anxiety, but faith emboldens and fills us with peace. Tangible peace. So, how do we get there? How do we get past fear so it no longer rules us and robs us? 

The Day God Took Away My Fear

One day twenty- seven years ago, God exchanged my anxiety for His peace. I was driving down the highway to a doctor’s appointment to learn if the baby I was carrying inside me would be born with Down Syndrome or not. Two weeks before a routine visit became an expectant mother’s nightmare as the nurse called me into her office, held my hand, and told me they wanted to do more testing. Mike was deployed to Desert Storm fighting a war, so there I was alone and afraid unable to share this news with my baby’s father.

It had been a fearful, stressful two weeks as I waited for the test results. I didn’t want to be afraid. I think I was finally to a point where I wanted to trust God more than anything. As I drove down the road, these words came out of my mouth, “God, this baby is going to be a blessing no matter what. Thank you.”

The minute those words left my lips all my fears disappeared and peace settled heavy in my car–not just my heart, my car. I literally felt tangible peace.

He Can Do That For You Too

Ya’ll, I believe God gave me that peace because I wanted to trust Him more than I wanted the perfect baby. I was like the father in the Bible who cried out to Jesus, “I do believe! Help my unbelief!”

But I also believe I experience that peace because I chose to be thankful for the blessing of this child no matter what. Thanksgiving changes things.

I have a friend who is terrified of a trip she is taking soon. She’s worried about so many things, and many are justified, but she’s longed to travel for years. I pray she can just say thank you! “Thank you God and all involved for this amazing opportunity!” When she does that, the fear will subside.

We Know Who Wants to Keep Us Fearful

The enemy of our soul wants us to be afraid, but thanksgiving, and focus on the blessings, can break the power of the enemy’s schemes. Fear is not from God. Remember, the first fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, and peace. Fear can not live in those emotions.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” -Jesus

Trouble doesn’t mean we’ve missed God. It just means we’re in this world still. But the good news is that even though trouble can still stir things up here, Jesus has the ultimate authority. He is in control. His is the King. Not fear. Not Satan.

Jesus.

Cry out His name.

Jesus.

Grab your Bible, and let His Word, His eternal promises, chase away your fears and fill you with peace as you trust Him.

bible, glasses, highlighter

Bible Reading Plan on Fear and Printable with Prompts

Psalm 94:19: When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

  • “Consolation” comes from the Hebrew word, tanchum, which means compassion, solace, and comfort. Have you ever experienced God’s comfort? Write down the memory. If you have not, write a prayer asking Him to let you feel His Spirit comfort you. It may come in the form of peace or joy that makes no sense, or invisible arms wrapped around you.

Psalm 27:1: The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear. The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

  • I love these words written by David. A stronghold was a cave in the cliffs where you could hide from the enemy. It was a place of advantage against the other army when they came, a place of defense where you could knock the enemy off the cliffs as they approached the top.  What does it look like for us today to claim God as our stronghold?

Grab the Printable of the Reading Plan

Psalm 115:11You who fear him, trust in the Lordhe is their help and shield.

  • Does it seem strange to trust someone you “fear”? But again, this is a reverent, worshipful, knowing God has brought us into the world and can take us out of the world, BUT LOVES US, fear. Trust wins. It’s hard for a lifeguard to save a drowning man if the man won’t trust him. This verse promises that God is our help and protection. But we’ve gotta stay close. Write a prayer confessing any place where you aren’t trusting God and for a greater measure of trust of the one true God who loves you.

Psalm 53:3-4For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

  • Can you turn this into a prayer? “Lord, your word says that . . . .

1 John 4: 18: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

  • The word “perfect” can also be translated at “complete.” Have you let God completely love you? There is nothing you can do to make him love you any more or less. Have you accepted that? God’s love is not conditional. It’s not fickle. If you have trouble believing this about God, can you believe it about Jesus who died for you? Chew on this today. “Do I really believe God and Jesus love me?”

Download the printable for your personal time with the Lord.

Thursday Night Live!

Hey, come join me on FB Thursday night at 7:20 ET to dig deeper into these verses. It’s a sweet time of encouragement and fellowship. I usually have my decaf and sometimes my stretchy pants on. Join me! I promise I finish in time for Thursday Night football if you’re a football fan. 🙂

Let’s Pray

Grab my hands. Let’s pray that fear away.

“Jesus! Thank you. Thank you for being in control. I pray for those who struggle with fear to experience a tangible manifestation of your love for them. I pray your goodness and kindness and desire for good things for your followers to overpower their fears. Please, Holy Spirit usher in your peace. Help us overcome fear with thankful, trusting hearts. We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. We will testify of your faithfulness. Thank you Jesus. Amen.”

What Helps You?

Hey friends, join this conversation. I’d love to hear what helps you defeat fear. Your testimony blesses others! Leave a comment below.

Digging Deep,

Andy

 

PS. If this was encouraging, and you don’t want to miss any Bite of Bread reading plans and posts, subscribe today! You’ll receive a 22-Day Devotion on Psalm 119 called Finding the Beauty Full in God’s Word. Just click here to dig deep to live fully. 🙂 

 

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4 thoughts on “How Do I Stop Being Fearful?

  1. Hi Andy and all,
    Don’t comment much but had to after reading through. First thing, Andy, I also had the exact same experience with one of my pregnancies (#5). I remember those two long weeks. I also remember the look of astonishment and admiration on my doctor’s face when I told her that this baby would still be going home with us. God had given us him and that’s how it would stay. We don’t know God’s plan all the time but we can always learn and grow from it. The peace I received through that time has always reminded me that He’s there when we call too him! And yes, that peace was very tangible for me too. God’s peace will truely drive away Satan’s fear. If we as humans could just learn to live in that peace daily, imagine the freedom we’d experience every day!!! Blessings to you and thanks for giving your time and heart in your calling.

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