I will not be afraid (Psalm 23:4)
Her palms were sweaty, her breath was short, and it felt as if her heart had shifted from her chest to her brain. She closed her eyes as she tried to massage her temples with unsteady fingers. She could feel or hear nothing except for her heartbeat buzzing in her ears. Fear.
It will keep you down, and prevent you from taking another step. It will make you stay at home, avoid certain conversations, make you feel like a failure. Fear can literally paralyze you. Oh, how I despise it. And so should you. I’m not talking about healthy fear of a dangerous situation here. I’m talking about the monster that creeps into your thoughts, and makes you believe you are powerless.
Fear is a Lie
You might have heard this before, but only a small percentage of one’s fear will ever materialize, the overwhelming majority of it will never happen. Most of the fears that slow us down are pure fiction. Even though the subject of our fears is most often fictional, the way they make us feel is very real. Those feelings are crippling, but they are only the symptom to the root cause, our thoughts. This is why it’s so important to rewire our thinking with the right information.
Is It All In Your Head?
Scientists disagree on the estimated amount of thoughts that take place in one person’s head in a day, but they agree that it is several thousands. Some even say it’s about 30 000 thoughts per day. Now that’s a lot. It makes me wonder if my mind doesn’t have a mind of its own. When a thought of fear appears in our mind, we can make sure that it is almost always the constructed result of many other thoughts that took place beforehand. Not only does it affect the way we will process things in the future, but according to Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist and woman of faith, our toxic thoughts rewire our brains in ways we can’t begin to imagine. She says, “Research shows that fear, all on its own, triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones.” While it starts in your head, it will affect you more than you know. The Apostle Paul had some insights when he said, “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” And that is an advice we surely need to follow if we want to stop living in fear. I’ve said it and I’ll say it again, you can have fears, but you can’t let your fears have you. So in order to conquer fear, we will have to intentionally capture our thoughts, and exchange them with the truth of God’s words and promises.
[shareable cite=”Caroline Bellemare” text=”You can have fears, but you can’t let your fears have you. #DivinelyBold”]You can have fears, but you can’t let your fears have you.[/shareable]
Know It, Name It, Throw It
One very effective way to start rejecting fears is to identify them clearly. It’s exhausting to fight an unknown enemy, but we can learn to recognize our fears, name them, look at them in the eyes and throw them out, welcoming renewed thinking, or as the Bible puts it, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” This practice will not only help you to defeat fear, but also acquire a victorious thought process that will overflow in everything you do. So take a moment now to think of one fear that is really making your life hard. It may be the fear to speak in public, the fear of failure, the fear of never getting married, the fear of not being a good parent, the fear of what others think, etc. Write it down on a piece of paper. Once you’re done, keep reading.
See, you’ve identified a fear and named it! Now for the throwing out part, we will work on it together. Next to that fear you wrote down, you can choose a verse of the Scriptures that you will replace the fear with, and write it down too. You can use one of the verses provided below, or search for one. Every time that fears shows up in your thoughts, you can weaken it by declaring the verse you have chosen. You need to make this process yours. Chose a verse that speaks to you. Then memorize it, and pray about it. Prayer is not about a lengthy performance, but a decided heart that trusts in the Lord.
[shareable cite=”Caroline Bellemare” text=”Prayer is not about a lengthy performance, but a decided heart that trusts in the Lord. #DivinelyBold”]Prayer is not about a lengthy performance, but a decided heart that trusts in the Lord.[/shareable]
Fear Out, Truth In
Here are a few scriptural weapons to memorize, and help you with the fight of replacing your thoughts of fear with thoughts of love and truth.
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV)
“She is clothed with strength and dignity…” (Proverbs 31:25, NLT)
“…perfect love expels all fear…” (1 John 4:18, NLT)
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2, NLT)
“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:7, NLT)
Because reading about it and acknowledging the fight is only part of the victory, we’re going to take action. What may seem like simple steps that you can put off until later actually have real power if you intentionally act on them. Between you and I, whatever we set aside for later has little chance of being accomplished, so why not start now?
- Write down the name of the fear that is the hardest for you to fight. Make it visible so that you don’t forget to pray about it each day for a week.
- Enroll a friend, a brother, a sister, a spouse for the next 5 weeks. Tell them to sign up, and to read the study with you, so that you may battle together, and for one another. If you can’t find that person, don’t be discouraged, there will also be a community online there for you.
- Begin to address your thoughts by memorizing God’s truth. Write down the verses that we have talked about in this post. You can even print them up and stick them where you can see it every day. (On your bathroom mirror for when you get ready, at your work place, in your kitchen as you cook, etc.) Put it everywhere it needs to be. It doesn’t matter if people think you’re nuts, you’re working on something.
- Make this personal, and make it public. Make it your mission to not lose steam over the next five weeks, and share the wisdom you glean on social media. We will be using the hashtag #DivinelyBold. So whatever you have on your heart, whatever prayer need arises, maybe it’s a quick testimony, write it on any platform using #DivinelyBold so that we may literally all be on the same page.
Read more posts from this series:
- The Power of Knowing Who You Really Are – Part 2 of 5
- I will not be moved – Part 3 of 5
- I Will Walk by Faith – Part 4 of 5
- I Will Boast in My Weakness – Part 5 of 5
Beth Moore – So Long Insecurity
Dr. Caroline Leaf – Switch On Your Brain
Lisa Bevere – Lioness Arising
Blanca – Not Backing Down (feat. Tedashii)
Blanca – Get Up (feat. Lecrae)
Blanca – Different Drum
Blanca – Catching Fire
Chris Tomlin – Good Good Father
All sons and Daughters – Great Are You Lord (Live)
Big Daddy Weave – Redeemed
Casting Crowns – East To West
Dara Maclean – Blameless
Fear will no longer neutralize you. From now on, you will be the one neutralizing fear, with the resurrection power that is at work in you!
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products I personally have used/read/listened to, and believe will be absolutely useful to you. In fact, I would most probably share them regardless, but might as well make it count for both of us.
Perhaps you didn’t yet find a friend who went through the same and understands. Let me be that friend for you today. Precious one, I understand. Let me assure you, it won’t always be this way. There are better days ahead. You will be joyful again. Just hang on, and keep on being real. You are not alone. I am praying for you. We are praying for and with you.
Caroline is a Jesus girl more than anything. Even if often in the US and Canada, she lives in West Africa with her husband JB, and daughter Imela Christy. She is a writer, a minister, and a faith resource creator. She enjoys travelling, coffee, and friends.
Hey there, I'm Caroline
I've been a follower of Jesus for over a decade, and a minister for almost just as long. My passion is to know God better, and help you know Him better too. I answer real questions with real answers, for a real faith in a real God.