Many current events have triggered fear in the core of my being. I remember a presidential election when I was in junior high school. The winner was not my parent’s choice. I feared that we were doomed and evil would take over the world. Later down the road when Mt. St. Helens erupted, some people thought the world was coming to an end. Then came the first bar codes. Where was that going to take us? Today, we have different issues that are affecting the entire globe. More than ever we need hope for overcoming fear in a world of uncertainty.
Is fear normal?
“It is normal and even helpful to experience fear in dangerous situations. Fear serves as a protective purpose, activating the automatic “fight-or-flight” response. With our bodies and minds alert and ready for action, we are able to respond quickly and protect ourselves.” (1) Fear is a mechanism that is hard-wired into our DNA. It is a survival instinct. For this, we can be thankful.
What does fear do to the body?
When we experience fear, it causes our body to infuse extra cortisol and adrenaline into our bloodstream. In response, our blood pressure rises along with our heart rate. We start breathing faster, and extra blood and oxygen are sent to our muscles. This makes it possible to fight or flee. (2)
When is fear a problem?
Constant or prolonged fear can impact our health. It can weaken our immune and cardiovascular systems, and create multiple gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome. It is well known that excessive stress contributes to infertility. People who experience the stress of constant fear will age faster and sometimes have a premature death. (3)
Fear also becomes a problem when it is related to things that are not dangerous or irrational. These fears are often learned or imagined. Regardless, fear is fear in spite of the source.
What does the Bible say about fear?
The Bible says to “fear not” 365 times. (4) Apparently fear has been a significant problem down through the ages. God needed to remind us over and over that fear should not control us.
The words of Jesus
Worry and fear are kinfolks, spending a lot of time together. Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow, or about what we will eat, or even our life. God takes care of simple little birds and He will take care of us. We can’t add additional time to our lives by worrying (Matthew 6:34, Luke 12:22-25). In fact, our worry will likely shorten it.
There are many scriptures that talk about fear. Open Bible lists most, if not all of them. The following are just a few short verses to tuck in our back pockets for when we are afraid:
- God is with us and will give us strength (Isaiah 41:10)
- God will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5, Numbers 23:19)
- God does not give us a spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7)
- God is the one who delivers us from our fears (Psalm 34:4)
- The fear of man is a trap, but trusting God brings safety (Proverbs 29:25)
- God is with us wherever we go. (Joshua 1:9)
- When I am afraid . . . I will trust in God (Psalm 56:3-4)
How can you stop living in fear?
The first step to overcoming fear is to have a solid relationship with Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus or have questions, please call 1-888-NEED-HIM. You can also text to that number. If you prefer to “chat”, go to www.chataboutJesus.com. Someone is waiting there to talk to you.
Get support from others who follow Jesus
One of the beautiful things about being part of a group of people who love Jesus is that when life is hard you can give and receive support. The Bible has a lot to say about helping, supporting, and loving other believers.
Support comes in many tangible ways. Right now several families in my circle of friends are receiving meals and help with child care due to surgeries or deaths. The greatest support of all is prayer. It is a lifeline when facing uncertainty.
Don’t miss out on this valuable resource.
Is it out of your control?
This is an important question to ask. There will be some things you can control and some that you can’t.
The following are within your control:
- Your breathing- you can take those rapid, shallow breaths and slow them down while breathing deeper. This is a tool you can take with you anywhere, and it is free. No therapist required.
- What you are thinking- the situation that triggered your fear can be looked at from several different directions. Perspective is often enough to calm your insides. “What you think is what you become.” (5)
- Accepting what you can’t change. Changing what you can.
What is the worst thing that could happen?
Many people future trip. They immediately think of the worst-case scenario. They live like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day when it hasn’t even happened.
As amusing as Alexander’s Day was, there is validity in briefly asking, what is the worst thing that could happen. Often, the worst thing is not even dangerous. But if it is, then create a plan for what you would do if the worst thing actually came about. This will give you a sense of control. (6)
There have been a couple of times in my life when the worst-case scenario would have ended in my demise. This is a hard thing to think about, but we can have peace when facing death regardless of the cause.
Once you have asked, “what if”, and have a plan (do something or trust God), put it away. “Living under the weight of the ‘what if’s’ is a hard place to dwell.” (7)
Get professional help if needed
If you have consistently tried the above recommendations and are still struggling with overcoming fear in uncertainty, please get professional help. There is no shame in seeing a doctor for medical reasons, and the same applies to phycological reasons. We all need help from time to time.
Overcoming Fear In Uncertainty
Life can be hard, filled with uncertain outcomes. We may feel alone. The enemy will use these times to increase our fear levels. We must not succumb. The Bible says, “set your mind on things above.” (Colossians 3:2) In the worst-case scenario, we may lose everything this world has to offer. But that is not the end of the story. To quote the last words of a friend who died last week, “God is good.”
Praise God. We can’t lose His love, His forgiveness, His presence, His Grace, or His everlasting life if we know Jesus. He will keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is stayed on Him. (Isaiah 26:3-4)
A gift for overcoming fear in uncertainty
God’s promises will sustain us when we experience fear. The following scripture cards are yours for the taking, NO EMAIL REQUIRED. Simply click on the images to download.
If you are looking for further scripture cards or coloring pages, see the resource page.
- (1) https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/phobias-and-irrational-fears
- (2) Northwestern Medicine- https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/emotional-health/5-things-you-never-knew-about-fear
- (3) University of Minnesota- https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/impact-fear-and-anxiety
- (4) JS Artworks Vinyl Wall Art Decal Sticker. https://www.amazon.com/phrase-written-reminder-fearless-Sticker/dp/B00NPAMRV2
- (5) https://www.rewire.org/stop-fear-controlling/ originally a quote from Carla Marie Manly, fear specialist and psychologist practicing in California.
- (6) Colorado-based couples counselor Wyatt Fisher.
- (7) https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/debbie-mcdaniel/33-verses-to-remind-us–we-do-not-have-to-fear.html