How to shed the fear that keeps crowding in

Blog. Woman. Troubled. 3.20WATCH OUT! DISASTER IS COMING YOUR WAY!

Variations on that theme run through every talk show and every news report. Whether it's the latest COVID variant or inflation or the weather, it sounds like everything is bad and getting worse.  

Many of us might nod in agreement.

This keeps us running scared and feeling unsettled. We're living out the old  cliché, "Waiting for the other shoe to drop," because no one knows what comes next. 

Or perhaps what troubles you and wakes you with a racing heart has nothing to do with any headline news. It's way deeper, down to your core. Maybe you can't even remember when the haunting started.

This brings the question: Is it possible to maintain a calm center, no matter what comes?

That's our job as grownups, isn't it? Especially if we're Christians.

Sure, but how?

How do we ditch living in fear? Whatever our challenge, it's always wise to begin with the basics: principles that are true, no matter who we are or what the situation. 

  • Be watchful, yes, but fearful, no
  • Focus our attention on facts, not rumors, nor on the endless "what ifs" 
  • Do our best to live healthy by eating right and getting plenty of sleep
  • "Think health" instead of "thinking sick"
  • Speak peace instead of fear, knowing each time we do we reinforce the peace within us    

These simple things make sense 365 days of any year and we have power to carry them out right where we are.

Yes, but ... that doesn't sound like enough

I know. When we're feeling shaky inside and can't get to sleep at night we want something tangible. Authoritative. Something we can hold onto.

The truth is, calm that won't quit never comes from "out there." A government official or an "expert" with a string of degrees or even our trusted long-time doctor saying, "Don't worry," only quiets fear for a few hours. 

That's because we know the truth: Like us, they're only human and they only know what they know ... so far.

We want more. We need more. 

So where does that leave us?

How do we shed this deep-down fear that weighs us down? 

The "more" we seek comes from within. Each of us constantly fills our minds and hearts with something--and we get to choose what it is. This dictates our day-by-day question:

Will we feed the fear or feed the peace?

It takes no effort to stoke uneasiness. All we have to do is look and listen.  

To nurture inner peace costs us something. I'm not talking yoga or meditation or any of those self-help relaxation practices. As useful as they may be, they don't fear-proof our hearts for long.  

(How do I know? Over the years I've tried several of those methods.)

Here's what I learned from dealing with my own "hard stuff"  

First I had to gather up all the tormenting "what ifs" and stuff them into a box in the attic of my mind. (Yes, they kept creeping out but if I persisted, gradually they stayed put. At least most of the time.)

All day, every day I need to remember who I am. I am loved by God, simply because I believe in Jesus as my Savior. Period. That's what the Bible calls "grace."

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.   Ephesians 2:8-9  NIV

Did I pray? Of course, and God always, always, always gave me strength and courage to face whatever came.

I drew courage from the Bible, too

For years I have underlined verses that touched my heart and spoke to my spirit. I also jotted down brief references on the blank pages at the back, in case I forget where they are. (These days I also have the Bible on my smartphone and often list my notes there.)  

Bible verses like these:

  • The Lord will keep you from all harm--he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.   Psalm 121:7  NIV

  • When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. ...   Psalm 56:3-4  NIV

  • For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-control.   2 Timothy 1:7  NIV

  • (The Lord said to Joshua)  "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9  NIV

  • (Jesus said)  "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."   John 14:27  NIV

As time goes by you will discover verses to add to that list

Look for verses that touch your heart because they speak faith and reassurance. Keep them at the ready for whenever you feel fainthearted about your life or about the future.  

Let's be clear about one thing. We Christians do not remember and speak Bible verses as some sort of magic charm. Rather, those times when we quake in fear--whatever the reason(s)--such verses remind us who is really in charge and has the power to help us:

"For I am the LORD your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."   Isaiah 41:13  NIV

He is speaking to you, my friend, and to me. In every occasion or dark corner of fear that comes upon us, now or in the future. We are not alone.

What more could we ask?

Thanking God with you,

Lenore


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