Faith

How to overcome fear

Personally I am prone to anxiety and all of its physiological effects. I have had to do much work in this area of my life, and the most beneficial thing to overcome fear has been a personal relationship with God.

I see him show up in the details of my life. I see the prayers he answers in unexpected ways. I see friends he puts in my life. I see his love lavished upon my life and his care for even the smallest of things.

This week we’re going to take a look at fear — where it comes from and what to do about it.

MORE: This text was taken from my new faith-based Instagram account, House of Palms (#houseofpalmsfear). I hope you’ll come join us over on Instagram as we talk about BLESSINGS next week! FOLLOW @house.of.palms

Overcoming fear - are you worried god is mad at you

Why are you afraid?

First, let’s talk about what we are afraid of and how the Bible responds:

◽️Are you worried God is mad at you? “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2

◽️Are you concerned he doesn’t care for you? “So don’t be afraid. you are worth much more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31

◽️Are you scared about your physical wellbeing? “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” Matthew 10:28

◽️Are you afraid you won’t be provided for? “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:25-26

◽️Are you afraid you will make a wrong decision? “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Jame 1:5

◽️Are you scared of death? “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me … I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:1,3

MORE: This text was taken from my new faith-based Instagram account, House of Palms. I hope you’ll come join us over on Instagram as we talk about BLESSINGS next week! FOLLOW @house.of.palms

Overcoming fear - what the bible says about fear

What does the Bible say about fear?

We are not in charge of how many years or hours or minutes we have on this earth, God is in control of that. And he has said not worry. He loves us deeply — so much he would sacrifice his only son. He knows the numbers of hairs on our head. (Luke 12:7) He keeps count of our tossings and puts our tears in his bottle. (Psalm 56:8)

It is said there are over 365 versus telling us not to fear in the Bible — that is a verse for every day of the year! It is not a suggestion; is a command and a truth. The more mature you grow in your faith, the less you fear.

“Jesus doesn’t condemn legitimate concern for responsibilities but rather the continuous mindset that dismisses God’s presence.” — Max Lucado, Fearless

◽️Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

◽️Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

◽️God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

◽️There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

◽️But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” (1 Peter 3:14

◽️Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you. Isaiah 35:4

Overcoming fear - fear is amnesia for how good God is

Remember how he has been faithful in the past.

We can and should keep a faithful journal of the times he has been faithful. Every time the Lord shows up for you, write it down, keep it in notes on your computer or phone, tell others about it. Credit him, give thanks to him, acknowledge him. If he was faithful before he will be faithful now. He is faithful forever. That is his promise to us. (1John 1:9)

Our God is a personal God. He’s not hovering out in the universe or emotionally distant. He is omnipresent, everywhere, all the time. He is with you now and promises to always be with you. Let’s take a moment to praise him for being a good God.

Every time one of my prayers is answered (yes OR no), every time the same verse comes up three times, or it is clear God is speaking to me, I type it out in my phone notes. I have a running list that I return to when my emotions get the best of me. Emotions are not truth.

Overcoming fear - peter walked on the water toward jesus

Focus on Jesus!

When you focus on Jesus, your peripheral vision of the world is blurred. Staring at Jesus, Peter could walk on water. It was when he looked down that he sank.

“And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:28-32

A personal relationship with Christ is the best anecdote to fear!

Palms quote - Isaiah 43-13 - hold your right hand - fear not3

How to focus on Jesus

Your focus drives your actions. If your mind is not on Jesus, it will be on something else.

◽️Pray to know him better.

◽️Spend time in the Word daily.

◽️Memorize scripture.

◽️Listen to worship music.

◽️Talk about your fear to a Christian friend who will point you to Jesus. 

◽️Join a Bible study.

“And nothing fosters fear like an ignorance of mercy. May I speak candidly? If you haven’t accepted God‘s forgiveness you are doomed to fear.” — Max Lucado, Fearless

Email me if you’d like to know how to make Jesus the Lord of your life and receive forgiveness! I’m completely serious. It’s my favorite thing to talk about.

Overcoming fear - keep a heavenly mindset

Keep a heavenly mindset

“I’ve read the last page of the Bible, it’s all going to turn out all right.” — Billy Graham

A heavenly mindset changes thought patterns entirely. It makes things more bearable to see this world and our life in perspective of eternity.

Life is but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14 We tend to think things will go on and on forever, but it is in fact a blink of an eye. 

A time limit gives us hope. Knowing the end of the story gives us courage. And those are God’s gift to us! Many things remain a mystery, but he told us how it all ends: Jesus comes back and his followers live in paradise with him forever!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Fear- are you a worst case scenario kind of person

Are you a worst-case-scenario type of person?

My best friend Ashby and I always say we start from the grave and work backward! Example: If I can’t find a child, the first place I look is in the bottom of the pool. Gruesome, right? Some of us are just more prone to fear than others. (And by the way, we stress about our children, but God loves our children even more than we do. They are not ours, they are his, in our care.)

If you are a worst-case-scenario kind of person, I have two things that will help:

◽️1) “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” What was Paul saying? If we are alive, we have the only opportunity we will every have in eternity to tell others about Christ. But if we die, we get to BE with Christ! 

The worst that could happen to us is death, but Jesus saved us from even this. So that when we die, if we have acknowledged him as our savior, we will go to a perfect heaven and live with him forever.

◽️2) The world has fallen from sin, it is broken and far from what it was meant to be. But there are parameters that Satan cannot cross. If it were up to the devil, every day would be war and blood and destruction on nuclear levels. I’m not talking about what we see today, I’m talking apocalyptic devastation. 

There’s a reason that you made it home safe after that person ran the red light. There’s a reason you narrowly escaped death as a child. There is a reason the sun shines, crops grow, water runs and the earth turns ‘round. God was holding you up in his right hand. (Verse)

Even though we have corrupted God’s perfect creation, he loves us.

Overcoming fear - practical things to do when you have anxiety

Practical ways to fight fear

◽️Pray. We can sit alone in our fear and anxiety, or we can pray. We can give it to God, we can ask him for knowledge, which he says he will give freely. We can repent turn away from our habitual sin. (What is that one thing that just popped into your mind?) We can ask God to examine our heart and expose harmful patterns. We can ask him for direction.

◽️Memorize scripture. Keep it in your heart. It is powerful.

◽️Identify you fears. Write down your three biggest worries. Give them to God in prayer and rip the paper up.

Overcoming fear - Stop saying what if and ask what is

◽️Oftentimes we fear the unknown. We imagine circumstances and worry about things that will never happen. Stop saying “what if” and start asking yourself “what is.”

◽️If your anxiety has overwhelmed you physically, go for a run or a walk. This response to your body’s flight or flight mode, and tricks your body into thinking that you have chosen flight.

◽️Practice meditative breathing as you focus on God or even one verse. More on breathing ….

◽️Turn off social media and the news. 

◽️Sometimes sitting in silence, alone can help you work through thoughts and acknowledge them instead of pressing them down and let them chatter in the back of your mind all day. This sensory deprivation can be calming if it all seems like too much.

Overcoming fear - no fear in love

Why does the Bible say to fear God?

The night before his death, in the Garden of Gethsemane, we see Jesus as we’ve never seen him before. “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22:44

Why is the man who created the earth, in control of nature and angels, afraid? Jesus was terrified of being separated from God, of God’s cup of wrath and punishment. (Isa 51:22, Jer 25:15, Rev 14:10) He knew he would soon die and be punished for the sins of many.

What does Jesus do in his agony? He prays — simply and straigforward. 

“‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.” Luke 22:42-43

For the subject of fear, I learned two major things from this: 1) God’s judgement should be feared and 2) the answer to fear is prayer.

The fear of God is different than fear of circumstances, money trouble, illness, calamity. “The fear of God is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshiping Him in awe.” — Got Questions

The thing we should actually fear is God’s judgement! But he has said that in Christ “there is no judgment against anyone who believes in him.” Now that offers some perspective! If we are loved and accepted as a child of God, what should we fear then?

We can learn a lot through storms. What is this time teaching you?

MORE: This text was taken from my new faith-based Instagram account, House of Palms. I hope you’ll come join us over on Instagram as we talk about BLESSINGS next week! FOLLOW @house.of.palms

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