“This above all, refuse to be a victim.”
Fear is a dream stealer, a thief that pilfers profits, and a swindler that ransacks hope.
Fear is usually a function of lack of confidence and low self-esteem. Many people are afraid because they think they will fail. However, if they will do it, if they will try to overcome their fear instead of letting their fear limit them, the will find they can do it.
Fear should not keep us from working, or living an intentional, meaningful life. If you have been caught in the trap of fear, I am going to give you some proven, practical, faith-friendly tools to help you begin to push back fear today.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear;
What can mere man do to me? Psalm 118:6 (NKJ)
Think on this as we begin this journey together. Fear receives way too much airplay. Fear is the big bad boogeyman that grows by negative, contemplative thoughts that are re-runs of painful past events.
Fear is primarily mismanagement of our mental capacities.
As we move into this potentially life-changing material, let me share with you Five Factors that, if used will expedite your abilities to push back fear:
1. Faith – the belief that God is on your side, and that he does not make any junk. Faith that he who started a good work in you will fulfill it. Faith that God is a mighty God of second chances. As a growing, sometimes struggling Christ follower I sometimes waver at this point. In my head, I know the truth, but sometimes my heart is resistance to trust.
2. The support of real friends, friends that will both love and challenge you, friends that will hold you accountable. We live in a unique time in history, on the one hand, we have more connectivity to each other thank anytime in history, thanks to smart devices and social media. The paradox is that more people are struggling to connect with face to face relationships. Here is a prophetic word from Albert Einstein, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”. Next time you are out for dinner to take a moment to observe how many people are more engaged with their devices that with each other. Leonard Sweet, a Methodist theologian, shared an interesting comment on his Facebook page recently, “Those born after 1985 have no memory of life before the internet. Those born before 1985 are the last remnants who have memories of living on both sides of the digital divide.”
Now, I love technology; it is a big part of how I do my private counseling and consulting business. However, all of the research tells us that one of the most cost-effective ways to overcome fear is to connect, with family and friends.
4. Time – You did not get this way overnight, and you will not be done with it within the next three weeks. The good news is that you have started the journey by picking up this resource.
A good friend of mine is a pastor of a growing, dynamic church gave an excellent
illustration of this principle.
Farmers and gardeners understand time. When they are planting corn, they have series of things that have to happen in a certain order. First, they have to prepare the soil. Then plant the seed in a place where they will receive full sun. If the ground condition, weather, and plant care all work together, you will have corn in 60-100 days, depending on the variety.
When they let nature take its course, they will reap a harvest.
My pastor friend then said, “People, we need to remember this! When dealing wit life issues, many people want an immediate answer and become disappointed that God does not do something immediately. May I give you a word of advice? Pray about the issue. Then do your part to make the changes. Let’s look at the miracle o
the Jesus feeding the 5000.
“Late in the afternoon the Twelve disciples came to him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms so that they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”
However, Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you
expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” For there were about 5,000 men there.
Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” So the people all sat down. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, andblessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. They all ate as much as they
wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers! Jesus did not make the food appear out of thin air; he had raw material, the boy’s food. As you work on pushing back fear, realize time and God are on your side, but you have to take action.
3. An optimistic worldview. Now I am not talking about pie in the sky, but a worldview that has a future-focused path. It means that I am not condemned by my past failures, I am not regulated to what I am going to do with my life, based on some test, skill set, or family heritage. It means that I have a future that I can choose, and with God’s grace and work I can have a different life.
Matthew 19:26 says, “Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible. However, with God everything is possible” NLT
Over the past several years the Lord has allowed me the joy of traveling all over the world. I have been in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and one of the overwhelming truths that I have experienced is that we in America experience blessings beyond measure, and we can pursue our dreams. I can tell you from first-hand experience there is not a place like this great country.
You have the power, ability, and the opportunity to improve your life if you are willing to take the risk?
5. The “I am smarter than the average bear” attitude. I remember hearing a couple of poignant definitions of average. Average is the best of the worst and the worst of the best. Another definition was that average is the cream of the crap.
Speaking for myself, I have never wanted to settle for average. Now, I am not the brightest bulb in the box, but I make up for it by being creative and finding ways to be unique and different.
As you look at pushing back fear, I want you to realize that you are intentionally designed to leave you to mark in the world. Here is my question for you: Are you going to let fear keep you from having a larger impact for God in your life and the life of others? Or, like many people who choose to be “average” will live a life of regret. I do not want to sound egotistical, but I hope there are a ton of people at my funeral, not to praise me, but to demonstrate the power and influence of life that wanted to influence people for the Kingdom of God.
My friend Dr. Charles Lowery is a gifted speaker, psychologist, and human behavior expert. Several years ago I had the joy of working with him on a church staff in Albuquerque. As a mental health professional, and associate pastor Charles and I had some shared interest from helping people to know Christ and make him known, to understanding human behavior.
I have heard him speak on fear many times, and two power lines that he uses to describe fear are:
Forget Everything and Run
False Evidence Appearing Real.
I would like to add a third.
Here is a project you can try to improve your ability to push back fear. Jot down each of the tools that I have listed and take an honest look and grade yourself where you are right now. Then, be intentional about improving you score in the next couple of weeks by using these tools.
I’d love to hear from you and how well this helped you push back fear.
“This above all, refuse to be a victim.”