Americans are fearful about many things. Some fears are real, but most are not. I like the acronym F-E-A-R — False Evidence Appearing Real.
Fears can dominate your life and rob you of the peace and joy that the Lord wants to offer. Unfortunately, fears are negatively reshaping people’s lives, even among Christians.
A recent national poll I read listed a few of the top fears people have these days.
- Loved ones becoming seriously ill or dying
- COVID 19
- Global warming
- Terrorism at home and abroad
- Corrupt politicians
I didn’t see the way the survey was crafted, but my experience tells me that the issues that most folks are fearful about are much more personal.
- Lack of identity
- Fear of rejection
- Being alone
- Not having enough money for the future
- Children who are failing in adulthood
- Not feeling loved
Regardless of what your fears may be, the big question is, “What should you do about your fears that threaten to ruin your life?”
First, identify your fears. Don’t stop at what a fear appears to be on the surface. Ask the Lord to help you to discover what the fear really is at the deepest level.
Here’s an example. The military has many warriors who work tirelessly but who have real problems balancing work with family. On the surface, their motivation for expending so much effort on work is their love of country. But, oftentimes, that’s a façade. The deeper reason hinges around their fear of failure. It seems like many would rather die than fail.
Evaluate your fears. Is a fear valid? What is its source? Honest evaluation of a fear can help you answer these questions. Take the example above regarding working so hard and failing to balance work with family. That deep-seated fear of failure can be addressed when you remember that failure is a part of life and that everyone fails at times. Often, we learn more from failure than we do from success.
Military warriors don’t train to fail, but the truth is that we all fail sometimes. When that happens, pick up the pieces and keep moving forward. Working countless hours trying to avoid failure simply is not the solution.
Face your fears head-on and deal with them. Determine a course of action to eliminate or conquer each of your fears. This will require intentionality, courage, and perseverance. In determining your course of action, look for guidance from God’s Word as well as from others you believe can provide wisdom.
The best example I can cite is the account of David and Goliath. I recommend you read the story yourself (1 Samuel 17:1-54). David was the only man in all of Israel with the courage to fight the Philistine giant, Goliath. None of the odds makers gave David any chance for victory. But David was not fearful of the giant. He trusted God and defeated Goliath. The Israelite warriors followed David’s victory by routing the Philistine army.
All of us have fears. But we don’t have to allow these fears to become life-controlling giants. Make up your mind to deal with them. Select one of the fears that’s really bothering you and take action to defeat it. As you have success by conquering one fear, you’ll start building confidence and momentum to deal with the next fear.
In closing, remember the words of the Apostle Paul to a young pastor named Timothy.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV).