overcoming fear’s paralyzation

Someone recently asked me, “how did you overcome crippling anxiety”?
My answer: “First and foremost, by renewing my mind with the Word of God. And then, mostly by doing the things I was afraid of.”
In my quest for fearlessness, I noticed that even when I believed all of God’s promises for my life, He didn’t always remove the things I was afraid of. In fact, sometimes, it felt like He gave me a perfectly timed shove … straight into them. (Gah!) But why?
Is God just insensitive to our fears? Or slow to keep His Promise to protect us?
No, not at all. He just happens to know a heck of a lot more than we do about how fear works in the human heart. He knows that fear PARALYZES us, and if we give in to that paralyzation and stop moving, FEAR WINS.
He knows that fear has one main motive: TO STOP US.
Did you ever see fear’s paralyzing grip on your kids? I have. Many times. One example more on the lighter side is one I call the “ranch story”. When my daughter was younger and we ate at fast food places, she was afraid to go up to the counter and ask for more ranch dip for her chicken nuggets. She would say, “Mommy, will you please go ask for more ranch for me?” I would say, “Ohhhh, no sweetie, but if you want more ranch, you can go ahead and ask. I’ll watch you from here.”
Now, this girl loves her ranch dip. But she would say, “Nevermind.”
Despite her love for and desire for ranch, the fear of approaching a stranger and being center of attention paralyzed her. We had to go through this exercise several times. I don’t remember how many … a lot. Until one day, she wanted that ranch bad enough that she TOOK ACTION IN THE FACE OF PARALYZING FEAR.
I knew from the start, if she couldn’t ask for ranch sauce, she would never have the confidence to do the much harder things life will demand of her. Now, she is old enough to apply for a job. Soon, she will have to sit through an interview. Soon after that, she will be working and she will be the one kids are asking for ranch. She will be on the other side of her fear. Literally!
I hated to see fear stop her, and for her to feel like I wouldn’t help her. But what I hated MORE was the possibility that fear would stop my girl from becoming the glorious, confident creation she was created to be.
That’s the way the Father looks at us when fear stops us dead in our tracks.
He says, “No, I’m not removing this discomfort–because this isn’t who you were created to be. I’m right here with you; watching while you face it head on. And when this is over, when you are on the other side of this fear, you will be bolder, wiser, and more glorious than you already are.”
Friends, it’s time to face our fears. It’s time to push past paralyzation and TAKE ACTION. I heard a great quote recently that motivates me to do just that. I’ve been chewing on it a lot lately when I find I am afraid.
“The devil has no idea what to do with a fearless Christian.”
I don’t remember who said it, but, WOW. I want to be that Christian! Billy Graham said it this way:
So, believe God!
Step out in Faith!
Confound your enemy!
Take action when everything in you says “FREEZE!”
Be a Christian that the devil just doesn’t know what to do with!
On a quest for fearlessness,

the cure for fear is … fear

Weird, right? I know. Stick with me for a second. It’ll make sense in a bit.
This is a fearful time. It’s practically tangible when you’re talking to people about what’s going on in the world right now. We are all dealing with fearful thoughts about the well-being of loved ones, sickness, quarantines, death, closing businesses, finances. the economy, and even toilet paper!
I confess I have wondered, “Where will I get toilet paper if we run out?”
All these thoughts are overwhelming and it seems to be getting worse. Businesses are closing and events are canceling. Kids are home from school. More measures are being taken every day to limit our exposure to each other to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Hold on … I need to stop here and say this: The real problem we’re dealing with right now is NOT the Pandemic. It’s Fear. Because …
Fear is fear, no matter what the circumstances.
What do I mean? I mean that it doesn’t matter so much WHAT you fear, it’s the FEAR itself that’s your problem, not the thing you’re afraid of. It could be cancer, bankruptcy, divorce, depression, or Coronavirus, and your mind and thoughts will act in the very same way. Irrational. Panicky. Unstable.
I know this. I have lived most of my life as a VERY fearful person.
In my quest to banish fear in my life (still on it by the way, because fear is a bugger!), I found many, many verses in Bible that tell me NOT to be afraid. Then I stumbled across one that says I SHOULD EMBRACE FEAR. (What?) But not just any fear … certainly not ALL fear. It says I should embrace just ONE kind of fear; the kind of fear that BANISHES all others.
The Fear of The Lord.
Proverbs 19:23 says, “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.” Why does it say that?
Because whatever you fear, you will bow to. Whatever you bow to, you are subject to. Would you rather be subject to FEAR and all it promises, or subject to God and all He promises?
To remove fear’s tyranny from our lives, we must fear (honor, revere, bow to) The Lord.
This is how we live without fear of anything else! FEAR is the cure for FEAR. I love how Oswald Chambers says it:
Friend, bow before The Lord today and pledge your fear, honor, reverence, and service to the One who promises you can rest satisfied and unharmed. Then encourage those around you to do the same, because “the Fear of The Lord leads to life,” and God knows we need more of that in this world!
Bowing to The Lord,