When I started doing my research for today’s article, I typed in the words ‘Fear of…’ and immediately google filled in the rest with a bunch of different results. Here is some of them.
-Fear of not being loved
-Fear of failure
-Fear of abandonment
-Fear of missing out
-fear of rejection
-Fear of intimacy
-Fear of losing someone you love
Fear is everywhere, from the moment we open our laptop or look at our phone the news is filled with fear. Lets be honest, its hard enough to deal with what society throws at us on top of our own insecurities and the wounds that we’ve been personally dealt.
One week I decided to write out every fearful thought (including some just negative thoughts) I had throughout the week. Hear is a sample of some of the things I wrote out.
- If I don’t fast before the meeting I’ll look fat and people will look at me weird.
- Is anyone going to sit next to me in class or will I be all quiet in the corner again?
- I hate having to interact with a group of people…I should just make up an excuse to not go but if I do that…I would get in trouble…ughh
- Did I lock the door?
- I’ll never find my real mom, she abandoned me and can’t even look for me.
- If I don’t pass my exams I’m going to end up homeless.
- I wouldn’t have to go through these things if my step-dad wasn’t such a cheater and alcoholic destroying our family.
Now obviously you’ll notice that being a student for me a lot of my fears are more focused on those ‘what ifs.’ Your what ifs and fears will probably be different but you’ll notice that we often tend to fixate on a specific person, event, and/or thing that is causing our fear. We then go down this emotional rollercoaster of fear that loops around and around…with our often irrational thoughts feeding our emotional fear forming this cycle that is very difficult to break.
The experience of writing things down though helped me in a few ways. For one, the act of just writing things out acted as sort of a steam valve releasing a bit of the stress, anxiety, and fear I was feeling at the time. Did it go away entirely? Of course not but it certainly helped. Even the act of writing right now and blogging over the years I’ve found has been very therapeutic to my mental health.
The other benefit was seeing just how irrational my thoughts can be at times. I mean, if we really honestly look at a good chunk of our daily thoughts I think we’ll realize that many of them simply don’t make any sense. The act of putting our fearful thoughts down on paper (or even in a blog) is a powerful tool against our daily fears.
When you’re beginning to feel fear or you can tell you’re going down that fearful cycle, here are some things I try to remember that I hope will help you.
1. You’re mind can trick you.
It’s easy to believe the lies we often tell ourselves. Remember, thoughts will always be that..thoughts. One of my mentors always said, “Think of thoughts like a stream of water. They will always be there. Sometimes during difficult times in our lives the river will be filled with trash (negative thoughts). Doesn’t mean you need to grab it though.”
His quote has always stuck with me because its so true. We can’t get rid of our thoughts and trying to suppress them often leads to more stress and heartache. Instead, accept them but choose the right ones to fix on.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” –Philippians 4:8
2. There is more right with you than wrong.
It’s easy to sit there and think, “Gosh, look at me, look at my life. There isn’t a single thing that anyone could love about me.” This also relates to the first point I made. Always remember, the most reedeming quality about you is that you are the son or daughter of God. You wear a special crown and even though many, many times you will not feel or believe that, it is true.
“You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” –Isaiah 62:3
3. You need love the most when you feel you deserve it the least.
This is a hard truth and one of the most difficult to overcome. When you are feeling horrible about things, fear has overtaken you, and you just don’t feel any love towards yourself. This is the time where you need compassion toward yourself and God’s love the most.
I say compassion towards yourself because really, we are way too hard on ourselves. I often think that the more critical we are towards ourself the more critical we are towards others. How we truly feel inside will eventually spill out into the lives of others which is why its so important to forgive ourselves daily, ask God for forgiveness, and depend on God’s love through the most difficult of times.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” –John 15:9-17
4. Focus on progression not perfection.
Life is a journey, one where you will make wrong turns and will have to face the consequences. Other times, you may do everything right and you will still end up hurt. While we strive towards the example Jesus Christ set forth for us, we never will reach perfection in this lifetime.
Instead, try focus on how far you have come, each small victory, every tiny step you have made to achieve your goal or to overcome an obstacle has been a victory that God has celebrated with you. Try to fixate your thoughts on those things and you will see that progress is far more important.
“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” –Proverbs 4:18
5. Everyone struggles so don’t think you are alone.
We all face struggles in life and many people have gone through similar experiences. It doesn’t negate the fears you face or the things you have experienced but it’s a friendly reminder that there are other people out there who can help.
We are meant to rely on each other, maybe that is why you are reading this now. To connect with me or other Christian believers to help you through the trial you are facing. No matter how perfect of a life a person may display always know that we all have our own battles to face and God designed it so that we think of each other like brothers and sisters of Christ who we can rely on during those difficult times.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” –James 5:16
Lastly, reading through a lot of your comments over the years I’ve found that its really easy to get caught up in the why. Why did this happen to me? I can’t explain why they would do that? Why wasn’t God there?
Its in our human nature to want to know why and to make sense of things. Unfortunately, I’ve found (and experienced many times) that we often will never know at least in this lifetime. Trying to figure out those things just stresses you out more and makes you feel even more miserable.
One of the keys to letting go is acceptance and part of acceptance is finally saying to yourself,
I don’t know why they did those things to me, every day I hurt as I pick up the broken pieces. But I’m choosing to accept it as part of God’s higher plan for me and that God’s love for me surpassed all of the things anyone could do or has done to me.
Acceptance is never easy and often the deeper the hurt, the more daily acceptance through prayer you will have to do. But I can assure you that it is one of the most important steps you can take in your life for whatever pain someone has caused you, whatever fear that look so daunting you don’t think you can overcome, or the tremendous suffering you are feeling.
Acceptance through God’s love is your most powerful tool.
I hope this helped you today. Feel free to leave your thoughts below!