Fear is a Beatable Beast
There’s something about a global pandemic that brings out fear in the bravest of us. Not me. I was wimpy from the get-go.
Here’s the well-kept, two-fold secret we need to understand:
Fear is a beatable beast.
99 percent of our fears will never happen.
A pandemic wasn't even on my radar. Did anyone see that one coming? The point is most of our real life fears never manifest, but we spend precious time worried about them. Should we be wise during this current health crisis? Of course. We can practice an abundance of caution while also growing in freedom from the ravages of rampant fear.
I remember quaking in front of Mrs. Brown’s sixth grade classroom at AC Steere Elementary, knees knocking and hands shaking. The dreaded book report presentation had arrived. Black spots danced over my classmates’ faces before the room fell dark. I woke up in the nurse’s station with grown up faces hovering close.
I fainted from fear.
Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, is a common phobia which some estimate affects up to 75 percent of the American population.
Fear is one of the most effective means in the enemy’s toolbelt to keep us from fulfilling God’s will. Fact is, our enemy, the devil, knows us well. He’s been studying us from birth, planting seeds of fear in our young hearts. Those fears are designed to keep us from pursuing the very things God desires for us.
What better way to keep us from our destiny than causing us to fear specific aspects of God’s plan?
If God desires for me to become a missionary, then any number of fears could hinder that from happening – fear of flying, fear of unsanitary conditions, fear of the unknown – unknown cultures, languages, foods. What if God was calling you to become a medical professional, but a fear of blood or sickness kept you from even considering the possibility?
The enemy evokes a plethora of tactics to keep us from our destiny in Christ, but fear is a pervasive one, especially in our culture.
Fear comes from the Greek word phobos. It suggests a fear or a strong dose of respect for something that is life threatening, dangerous, or alarming. (Sparkling Gems, Rick Renner) There are times when fear can be a good thing, such as a “fight or flight” response to sudden, unsafe situations. This instinct is God-given to protect us in dangerous moments when we need to act quickly.
But we are not designed to live in constant fear, a state which has become the norm for many Americans. A global pandemic is a difficult thing to live through without experiencing fear. Is freedom from constant fear even possible right now?
Fear is a beatable beast.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power and of love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
If a spirit of fear doesn’t come from God, and God has not given it to us, what is its origin? The enemy of our souls, the devil, is the source. The spirit of fear is a demonic entity designed to wreck our lives with unhealthy and paralyzing fear. God’s life-giving alternative is power, love and mental health.
Unhealthy fear manifests in several ways: phobias, stress, anxiety, and worry, to name the most common.
Phobias – This is an extreme or irrational fear, an aversion to something. This type of fear is characterized by being persistent and excessive. Usually it’s something we can rationalize as being a rational fear. My biggest phobia, and surely it doesn’t have a name, has been a fear of log trucks. I hate the way the giant logs angle down, promising decapitation if I get too close. My son, as a new driver, learned firsthand about my phobia as he passed a log truck one day. Sitting in the front passenger seat, I’m embarrassed to say, I cried. Extreme, irrational, excessive. My response was out of whack.
Stress – Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension caused by any event or thought that makes us frustrated, angry or nervous. The body reacts to a challenge or demand, which in the short-term can help avoid danger or meet a deadline. The medical community concurs that long-term stress can harm our health and mental well-being.
Anxiety – Anxiety is intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. It can cause fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and feeling tired. At its extreme, it can become all-consuming and interfere with daily living. Think panic attacks.
Worry – This causes us to be afflicted with mental distress or agitation, to be tormented. Torment is exactly what fear does to us, tormenting us with the dire possibilities.
What steps can we take to become free from constant and unhealthy fear?
Recognize fear and how it operates in you – Phobias, stress, anxiety, worry.
Make a list of your specific fears – Ask God to show you each one. Write them down. My list included fear of public speaking, that crazy fear of log trucks, fear of spiders, fear of angry people (confrontation), fear of authority figures, fear of looking foolish, fear of rejection, fear of failure (which leads to perfectionism), and more.
Ask God’s forgiveness – Admit to God you have allowed a spirit of fear to rule over your thoughts and emotions. (Inordinate fear can have a generational root. You can repent for both personal and generational agreement with fear and sever its impact on you and your family.)
Renounce the spirit of fear – Out loud and specifically. Name the specific fears you identified.
Tell fear it must go, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Pray and release your concerns to God. When fear tries to return, take it to God and leave it there.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
Fear will restrain you from God’s fullness, but faith will propel you to embrace your birthright in Christ.
My old fears have been demolished, including log trucks and public speaking. Fresh fears, pandemic or otherwise, will be conquered too.
Fear is a beatable beast.
Prayer for Freedom from a Spirit of Fear
Father God, fear, stress, anxiety and worry are causing havoc in my thoughts and emotions. Forgive me for allowing these fears to be stronger than my faith in you. I know, as your child, I do not have to be derailed by the schemes of the enemy. I reject fear in all its forms. I renounce all fear operating in my life. I repent for my ancestors who allowed fear to control them. I personally repent for agreement with the spirit of fear and for these specific fears: (name each one) __________________. Spirit of fear, leave my life now, in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. You are not welcome here and you cannot return. Thank you, Father, for not allowing ungodly fear to continue operating in my life or in my family. By the blood of Jesus Christ, a spirit of fear will not continue to me, my children, or future generations. AMEN.