Fear of the Storm Can Be Worse than the Storm Itself
Our 2-year-old Australian Shepherd JoJo is afraid of storms. She’s laying under my feet as I sit at the computer because it’s dark and stormy outside. She hasn’t always been this fearful. It started this past July 4 when Louis took her for a late evening walk around the pond near our home.
The sudden, close staccato of detonating firecrackers startled them both. Now JoJo doesn’t like walking outside at night and she has a fear of loud noises…like thunder.
Isn’t that what happens to us?
Life deals us some hard blows, then we begin anxiously peering around every corner, fearful of the next hit. I do it too, but I recognize, and I’m sure you do too, that this isn’t a good way to live.
Fear of the storm can be worse than the storm itself.
But do we have any control over how we respond to life’s unfolding drama?
First, let’s define fear. Merriam-Webster says fear is “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger, anxious concern, reason for alarm. It can also mean a profound reverence and awe especially toward God.” Obviously, that last one is a good thing and we’re talking about the other kind! Also, sometimes fear can be helpful when it kicks in our “fight or flight” response to remove us from immediate danger.
But prolonged feelings of fear are harmful, adding stress to our daily lives, as well as to our physical bodies. Synonyms for fear are: agitation, anxiety, apprehension, concern, disquiet, nervousness, uneasiness, worry.
If you are prone to fear, and you’re an unusual person if you aren’t, then recognize that tendency. The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.”
So, if we are constantly fearful, anxious, stressed, or worried, where does that come from? We live in a fear-filled world, fast paced, demanding, and if we’re not on our game juggling five balls in the air at the same time, something’s going to drop. Try as we might, none of us are capable enough to indefinitely perform at peak capacity. We get hungry, overworked, sleep deprived, and over stimulated. On top of that, we bring our internal baggage to the game and sometimes overload occurs.
Just like that pesky washer that gets out of whack, our internal alarm starts buzzing that we are out of kilter and shut-down is imminent. Something’s got to give.
God can help us learn balance and moderation in our daily lives. We need to slow down. We’ve conditioned ourselves to expect a fast pace, expect to be tired and stressed out, expect emotional upheavals. Ask God to show you how to maintain a balance and set parameters around what is important to you.
Value your time with God, with family, with friends. Let work simply be work. Work hard and even enjoy your labor, then pull away. Give your best to the ones you love.
Mothers, many of us learned from our mothers, that worrying about our children is our responsibility. To be a good mother, we must be overly concerned about every aspect of our children’s lives. This is a lie. Worry and anxiousness are ungodly fear. Of course, we need to set healthy rules and guidelines in place for our children still at home, but worry is not in your God-given job description. Rather, teaching them faith and dependence on a loving God is much more important. (Dads, recognize yourself here if necessary!)
If you have spent most of your life giving in to fears, like I have, then recognize that overcoming that conditioned response will be a process. But first, let’s get rid of that pesky spirit of fear.
If a “spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7) is not from God, where does it come from? It comes from the enemy of our souls, the devil. Here is the basic process I personally followed to gain freedom from fear in my life. I still must stand against it and not allow myself to operate out of fear. This requires God-given discernment and vigilance.
Here are the steps to take to become free from constant and unhealthy fear:
Recognize fear and how it operates in your life – phobias, stress, anxiety, worry.
Admit (confess) to God you have allowed a spirit of fear to take up space in your spiritual home and rule over your thoughts and emotions.
Repent and renounce the spirit of fear – out loud and by name. Repent for agreement with the enemy for any specifically identified fears or phobias. Repent personally and for any generational ties to this spirit of fear. Often you can see how it has operated in your family for generations. (Even the Israelites repented for the sins of their ancestors – see Nehemiah 9:2-3.)
Tell the spirit of fear it must leave your life NOW, in Jesus’ name.
Choose to walk in faith not fear. Choose not to fear each day, each moment, with God’s help. In doing so, you are reprogramming your thoughts and emotions to respond in positive, godly ways.
Recognize fear when it tries to come against you, which it will. Fear can be subtle, so ask God to help you discern it.
PRAY about everything that would normally worry you. Then, God promises His peace will guard our hearts and minds.
“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
Prayer is the key to staying free from fear.
When you pray instead of giving in to fear, you will be filled with God’s peace. Learn to release that situation that causes fear, stress, anxiety and worry to God, then leave it in His capable hands. Repeat this process as often as necessary until it becomes an ingrained habit. God is renewing our minds to process information and situations in His way.
Get rid of that spirit of fear that’s been plaguing you, then stand firm against allowing it to ever operate in your life again.
Have you also struggled with fear? Leave a comment and we will be praying for you!