Fear is a very powerful emotion. With all of the recent terrorist activities in Boston and elsewhere many people are falling victim to fear. Many people struggle with debilitating fears and anxiety disorders ranging from generalized anxiety, panic attacks, to full blown phobias. These are the number one mental health problems in the United States affecting as many as 1 in 10 people and costing tens of billions of dollars in treatment and lost productivity. Everyone experiences fear in one form or another throughout life. In a world filled with danger and uncertainty one thing is certain, we cannot escape fear. So how are we to respond when you feel afraid?
Tim Jackson in his “When Fear Seems Overwhelming” takes a look at what the Bible teaches about the source of our fears, why we fear, how fear helps or harms us and how we can overcome debilitating fears that hinder healthy living. The Bible uses words like fear, afraid, terror, dread, anxious, tremble, shake and quake over 850 times to portray this core human emotion. Fear has an immediate and intense internal alarm system that alerts us to a presence of danger. Fear revs up our whole being-body, mind and emotions and rivets our focus on one primary goal: protection. It prepares us either to flee from or fight against the perceived danger. Anxiety is that pervasive feeling of apprehension that lingers long after the danger has subsided. This nagging feeling of dread uses a great deal of emotional energy worrying about future negative events that are both unpredictable and uncontrollable.
When destructive fear is entrenched in our lives we must remember that God is greater than all of our fears. He desires to empower us to dismantle and demolish fears strongholds in our lives. Life is never risk free, but freedom from overwhelming fear empowers us to enjoy all that God offers us in a fallen world.
Some steps to overcome crippling fears:
1. Face your fears. Don’t run from your fears, standing up to them and facing them head on is half the battle.
2. Learn from your fears. Does your fear drive you to rely on God as your Protector or on yourself?
3. Relinquish unhealthy fears. We often live in dread of giving up control and abandoning ourselves to God.
4. Cultivate healthy fears. There are some situations and some people we must simply learn to avoid because they are dangerous.
5. Move in spite of your fears. When we move in spite of our fears we will be able to live courageously and take risks, not foolish but faithful and reasonable risks that are based on the knowledge that the Lord is with us.”Do not be afraid” (Numbers 14:9).
To gain additional help in dealing with fear and anxiety through counseling, please go to Family Christian Counseling Center of Phoenix, http://familycccp.org/