How To...Face Your Fears
Fear. It’s a hell of a drug…one that paralyzes people everyday, most of the times it’s successful without even the knowledge of it’s victim. Fear has many close relatives (anxiety, worry, and doubt), yet I’m pretty sure fear is the strongest out of all of these. Fear by definition means “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat”. Some commonly accepted acronyms for fear is “Forget Everything And Run” or “False Evidence Appearing Real”…the choice is yours which acronym you will allow to win!
I do recognize it’s easier said than done to face your fears…so it’s my hope that through this #ThoughtfulThursday we can unpack this oh so common issue together and provide some applicable steps towards slaying this giant. Before we get started, we need to have a mindset check…do you truly believe you are capable of facing and overcoming your fears? Until that answer is “yes”…the steps below won’t be effective. It absolutely begins with having the right mindset, otherwise you’ve defeated yourself before the battle has even begun.
1. Recognize when fear is talking
Far too many time we make decisions on a subconscious level without even realizing who’s really in the driver’s seat. I believe being more in tune with your subconscious begins with having more alone time and time for self-reflection. You can’t hear what your heart or subconscious mind is telling you if you’re constantly inundated with distractions and the voices of others (social media, TV, getting advice from others, etc). When was the last time you turned everything off and just sat alone with your thoughts? When was the last time you prayed about a major decision PRIOR to making your decision? Not a “God bless my decision” kinda prayer…but a “God whatever you want me to do I will do” kinda prayer.
I believe that if we spent more time unplugged from the world, we might be able to recognize where thoughts, decisions, and ideas are coming from. Far too often I allow my insecurities speak on my behalf before I’ve even had a chance to think about the answer on my own. I’m learning to catch myself and replace those insecurities with the truth. Now before every major decision I ensure that I have quiet time to hear from God and get in tune with my heart. Recently I made a major decision, I only consulted one person prior to but I decided to fast (from food and TV) in order to hear from God very clearly. I wanted to make sure I didn’t stay in my comfort zone simply because I was afraid of striving for something new.
2. Have a strong level of Godfidence
Last week we talked about having Godfidence and how to practically apply this to your life, if you haven’t read it click here. Anyone who has a relationship with God has access to this power source that has already given you authority to overcome the fear or anything else that comes up against you. The only way you can lose is if you throw in the towel prematurely. I’m not saying that the challenges you’ll face aren’t difficult…I’m simply saying they aren’t impossible.
The very thing that keeps me going sometimes is recalling the many things I’ve survived before, knowing that God was able to see me through…so why wouldn’t He do so again? We gain strength from the struggles of our past, the phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” holds true. Think about all of the times you thought you couldn’t survive or get through that one thing…yet you did! Find strength in that survival story and use that momentum to continue to move forward.
3. Focus on what’s REAL
A lot of times we begin to create fear or anxiety based on things that we don’t even have proof of what’s real. Focus on data, facts, and things that can be proven instead of what could happen or what we think is likely. Have you ever gotten worked up about something only for it to never happen? This is what I’m talking about! I’m very much guilty of this myself, I will allow my fears and insecurities to create scenarios that aren’t even realistic let alone based on fact.
Although this has been an area of struggle for me, since I’ve been making a genuine effort to focus on what’s factual…it has become easier to face my fears. When I am stressing over something I stop and ask myself, what’s real and what’s made up in my mind. Taking this approach helps me to evaluate things prior to allowing them to carry weight in my life. The most important part of growth and development is learning to control and adjust your mindset.
4. Don’t let fear STOP you!
It’s perfectly acceptable to feel fear, after all it is a normal emotion just like every other emotion we experience. As with all emotions, fear is simply trying to communicate something to you, but I promise you that message is not “stop”. When you’re feeling fear take a moment to evaluate what the feeling is trying to communicate to go. Is it “slow down”, “do more research”, “go a different direction”, or “apply more effort”. What is fear trying to tell you instead of being paralyzed by the feeling itself, listen to those feelings and continue anyway.
Think about the last time you allowed fear to stop you, did you feel any sense of regret following getting paralyzed? It’s my goal for all of us to avoid this feeling of regret by refusing to allow fear to stop us from accomplishing our goals! 2018 is our year to win and we’re going to do just that! Ultimately, we have to stop letting fear have any sense of control in our lives, hear the message it’s trying to deliver, learn the lesson, and move forward!
5. Run in the direction of your fears.
This is something I’ve learned from my home pastor in the years I’ve been apart of this church, and it’s a paradigm shift type of lesson. The devil uses fear in order to stop you from achieving the very thing he knows will make a great impact on the earth. Sometimes the very thing that’s causing fear is the very thing you need to be working towards and putting your energy towards. “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act in the presence of fear.” Use fear as your guide towards the very things you need to be doing in your life! Go be great and live your best life!