Dealing with Fear
By Filoiann Wiedenhoff
When we think about fear we think of being frightened, scared
and being afraid. Those are all feelings and emotions that we as
people experience from time to time and are completely normal.
We can go into a theatre and watch a scary movie and although in
our conscience minds we know it's not real, our emotions and
feelings can get caught up in the story and become literally
afraid and scared.
Fear in itself is not wrong, even the bible talks about fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and how we are to fear punishment and repent. It's what that fear leads us to is what makes us or breaks us. Does it keep us on the right path or does it cripple us and hold us back from enjoying life?
The fear that I'm going to talk about here is fear that cripples many people. It holds them back from walking in complete peace of mind and holds them down in bondage to that fear.
For example: A woman comes into counseling and says that she has no friends and is very lonely. I ask her to tell me more about herself. She says that she has been hurt in the past and has put up walls of protection to keep her self from getting hurt. I then asked her what she was doing to reach out to make friends. She looked puzzled and said that she doesn't and in fact she has a hard time opening up especially to other women.
The women didn't realize that she answered her own question. She wanted to know why she didn't have friends but then in the same breath says she put's up walls for fear of getting hurt. I was able to repeat back to her what she just said and helped her to see that her worst fears were keeping her from not only having friends but experiencing the thrill of reaching out to others in confidence and freedom in Christ.
This example unfortunately is more common than we know and has happened to the best of us. I myself have had similar experiences. So how do we attempt to combat such a powerful handicap that perhaps has been with her for a long time?
I will say this continually in all my counseling tips because I personally have seen the power of God break down strong holds and set people free and I believe with all my heart that we cannot be truly healed without Him, we need Jesus and that Apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5) This is the foundation of all my counseling and God has been faithful every time.
So here's a process that I have used in my counseling:
1. Identify the core problem: Fear of ? What is it that we are afraid of? It may not be fear in itself it may be the root of something else so getting to the bottom of what is the core problem will help you to deal with the main issue rather than surface issues.
2. Address the Core problem: Once you have identified the problem you can then address the problem full on. For example: The woman was afraid of getting hurt because of a hurtful friendship. Her issue wasn't fear itself but trust. She was afraid to open her heart and trust another woman for fear of getting hurt again.
3. Deal biblically with the core issue: Once you have narrowed down what the real issue is you can then address the issue biblically. For example: The woman had trust issues. What does the bible say about trust? Well, it says that we are not to put our trust in man but to put our trust in God. (Psalm 118: 8-9) So who was she really to trust? It is God. She needed to see that the bible is clear that only God is faithful even when people are faithless and that her trust needed to be in a faithful God and not in a person. (Not that we're never to trust people but to trust God who is bringing the people in our lives)
4. Address the problem with biblical solutions: Once we are able to look at scripture passages to help us identify the solution we can then look at what the bible says about how to make the necessary changes. For example the necessary change for that woman would be the way she viewed her fear. That her fear of getting hurt was not helping her but hindering her and that God did not want her to put up walls but allow the walls to fall down. There's a passage that actually says that God will tear down the walls and that He is our strength. (Isaiah 26:1-6) So what is the solution? For her to allow God to bring down the walls in her heart and for her to seek refuge in Christ and trust Him completely.
5. Take Practical Action Steps: Once you figure out what steps to take you need to break it down to practical action steps. Keep in mind that the steps you take are a process and take time. For example for this woman here are the steps I encouraged her to take:
a. Restore her relationship with Christ first. Apart from God we can do nothing.
b. Ask God to help her allow Him to bring down the walls in her heart.
c. Pray for healing in her heart.
d. If there is someone she needs to forgive that she needed to spend some time looking up scriptures of God's
forgiveness and forgiving others and take the necessary steps in forgiving that person in order for her own healing
to take place.
e. Study the scriptures and spend quiet time getting to know God as her faithfulness and shield.
f. Be willing to take steps of faith to allow people to come into her life again by faith.
g. To not look to people for her trust but to look continually at God.
h. Remember that people are not perfect and make mistakes but only God is perfect and to look to Him for that
i. Be wiser in who she chooses as close friends. It's okay to have different levels of friendships.
j. Seek out accountability and a bible study fellowship where she can get to know other believers and gain new
friendships and at the same time grow in her relationship with God through His Word the bible.
k. Learn to reach out to others rather than wait for others to reach out to her.
Again, all of these instructions are also a process that God will take her through to overcome her fears but as she takes each step in the right direction she will be closer to freedom and restoration and far away from the bondage of fear.
By the time she is at the place of reaching out to others her heart is completely changed from being full of fear to being filled with God's love for her that is now poured out into others. At this point which is the end of the process she will be able to comfort and minister to others with the same comfort she was given by God.
God is faithful and when we see Him as faithful we are able to step back and watch Him by faith do His work.. He is faithful and He will do it!
"It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes."
2 Corinthians 1:3-6
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
Filoiann M. Wiedenhoff is a pastor's wife, work at home mom, Woman's Biblical Counselor, Bible Teacher and Writer. View her website for more articles http://filoiannwiedenhoff.com/