We all have those days. Those hours in the middle of the night when it feels like we have fallen off the bandwagon and lost our sense of direction. Those moments when it feels like we are so far gone that nothing can bring us back. When that little voice in our head tells us, “It’s over my friend. You will never pass that test; You will never live up to the expectations; You will never make it”.
Sometimes life gets really tough. When situations play out in a way that is the exact opposite of what we expected, we find ourselves asking many questions and doubt starts creeping in. I have found that where doubt is, fear is not very far behind. It often comes naturally to fear the unknown but as christians, we are called to be the pacesetters, living victoriously and attracting the world. A life full of fear robs us of victory and joy, and is not attractive to the world. How then, do we practically face our fears and conquer that little voice planting fear and doubt in our minds?
As we grow from level to level there are always new fears to conquer and new milestones to achieve. To keep growing, we must step out of our comfort zones and conquer our fears. Over the years, I have embraced a three-step approach to dealing with my fears that I like to call it the FEM way: Face it, Embrace it and Move.
- Face it
The first step is often the hardest. Facing fear can seem like an impossible task because sometimes our fears are veiled behind other outward manifestations and it takes a bit of digging to connect the two. Let me explain using a few examples – the student who deliberately misses classes and fails to study for the exam may be acting out his fear of not being smart enough to pass the exam and therefore subconsciously chooses not to try anyway. Such a fear can become so heavily masked in the student that all he knows is that he does not like school and would rather do something else with his time. The same applies to the single woman who constantly finds herself dating men who do not value and respect her, yet she knows that she deserves better and cannot understand why she never finds a better man. It could be that she has never acknowledged and faced her fear of being alone.
It goes without saying that different people can do the same thing for different reasons, so one cannot offer blanket solutions and say that the student who does not take school seriously is afraid to fail and the woman in a bad relationship is afraid to be alone. To understand the underlying fear driving your actions, deeper self-analysis is needed. When I find myself afraid of something or doing things I would not normally do, I sit down and ask myself why. It really helps to write the issue down and prayerfully ponder what is going on in your life. The best thing about being a christian is that you do not have to do it alone – we have a helper, the Holy Spirit who will help you understand what you are going through and why. Looking up bible verses related to your fear also sheds light on where the real issue lies.
2. Embrace it
It sounds odd to say that we should embrace fear. A wise man once said that fear is all in your head. I agree. Please understand that there is a world of difference between fear and danger. Danger is real – you could get hurt, you could fail the exam, you could lose your job. There will always be danger and threats in our lives, but that does not mean that we have to live our lives fearing possibilities that might never come to pass. The fact is, the Bible says we should not fear. We have a father who surrounds us with his protection and love, a saviour who calls us his friends and a Holy spirit to guide us as we navigate through life, so whom shall we fear? If our God is for us (and he always is, no matter where you are or what you have done), then who can be against us? No one, so we have nothing to fear.
With that knowledge, it becomes important to come to terms with what we are afraid of. If we do not accept that we are afraid, then we cannot deal with the fear. Sometimes it is as easy as looking yourself in the mirror and saying, ” I am afraid of xxx”.
Finally, after facing the fear and embracing it, to complete the process one must move. Sometimes this means moving on from something or moving forward and looking at things differently. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Often we know what we need to do but are too afraid to do it. Take that first little step. Dare to do it anyway. It is the most effective way to conquer that fear. You are more than a conqueror in Jesus Christ, so don’t let fear hold you back anymore.