Fear and anxiety are common problems for many of us in today’s world. Fear and anxiety can be difficult to escape, but there are ways to deal with both of these challenges. Below, I identify 10 aspects of fear and anxiety and the truth that can help you move beyond them to greater emotional freedom.
Some fear is normal.
Everyone has the “butterflies in the stomach” feeling once in a while. And having a certain degree of fear and anxiety is actually healthy and can protect us from making foolish or dangerous decisions. However, fear crosses the line into unhealthy anxiety when it controls and disrupts your life. If fear has a dominating grip on your life, you must begin the process of dealing with it or it will keep you from fulfilling your God-designed potential. “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7.
If your fear seems irrational and erratic, you may have a biological disposition to anxiety problems.
While medication is not the answer to all fear/anxiety problems, it can mean life-changing freedom for those who have certain chemical imbalances in their brain. An experienced psychiatrist can help you determine if your fear has a biological or emotional root cause.
Some people’s unhealthy fear has its root in a lack of trust.
Because they’ve been deceived by a family member or trusted friend, they find it difficult to trust the sovereignty of God. If we really believe God is in control of our lives, desperate situations don’t seem so frightening. “In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.” Psalm 56:4.
Many anxiety disorders are exacerbated by inactivity.
Regular physical exercise can have significant emotional benefits, due to the release of calming chemical agents in your brain. After consulting a physician, determine to find an exercise routine, perhaps walking or swimming, which you enjoy enough to do daily. If you can exercise with someone on a regular basis, you may find that you look forward to it and make it easier to stick with it.
People who struggle with fear often isolate themselves, which is one of the worst things they can do.
We need to know that we are not alone as we face life’s challenges. Just as we need a regular time of intimate fellowship with God, we need the strength and encouragement that comes from sharing our lives with others on an intimate level. “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.” Hebrews 10:24, 25.
Examine the root cause of your fear.
Does your fear seem irrational or is there some traceable root cause? Honest self-examination, perhaps with the help of a trusted friend or mental health professional, is a great place to start. Many times, it becomes easier to overcome our fears once we have an understanding their origins.
What you eat affects your body chemistry.
Caffeine, sugar and others chemicals can act as stimulants and magnify anxiety. Try systematically cutting out certain foods to determine if the changes affect your emotional state.
People who struggle with fear often unreasonably pessimistic about the future.
When your brain tells you to expect the worst, examine the coming situation in light of God’s perspective and His commitment to standing with you in all situations. Jesus has promised, “I will never desert you, nor will I forsake you” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5, 6.
Fear and anxiety are not necessarily signs of unbelief,
as some in the Christian community would contend. The myth that becoming a Christian exempts you from emotional problems has caused many wonderful, faithful people to live their lives trapped in a prison of fear. Take a chance and share your struggle with a Christian friend, pastor or therapist. You may find the direction and encouragement you need to start down the path of emotional freedom.
The oft-quoted statement “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” is usually true.
Think back to fearful situations and examine the outcome. Things weren’t as bad as you feared, were they? Examine how God protected you and used difficult times to mold and shape you. His track record for faithfulness is unblemished.
We need to know that we are not alone as we face life’s challenges. Just as we need a regular time of intimate fellowship with God, we need the strength and encouragement that comes from sharing our lives with others on an intimate level.
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