Fear is a real issue in every area of life these days. It can seem relentless – keeping you up and night and preventing you from living life to the fullest each day. And fear seems to only grow and magnify as you become a parent and are responsible for building your family. It can be sneaky, really sneaky – to the point where you have absolutely no idea you’re making decisions from a place of fear. How do we stop being so afraid?
Well, to start: a lot of us think the opposite of fear is faith, but the bible is clear – the opposite of faith is sight (ref. 2 Cor. 5:7). What then is the opposite of fear? The answer, my beloved mamas, is love.
A verse many are familiar with is 1 John 4:18 which says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” In other words, fear and perfect love are mutually exclusive. They cannot exist in the presence of one another – they’re polar opposites. Here are two other translations that help really drive this point home.
“And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”
1 John 4:17-18 – New Living Translation
“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.”
1 John 4:17-18 – The Message
The point I’m trying to make with all of this is that every decision you make, every thought you have and every emotion you feel comes from one of two places – FEAR or LOVE. And when you realize this and you start evaluating your mind, will & emotions on a daily basis, it can be startling how much we live under the influence of fear.
So this bears the question – how do we stop being so afraid?
The Emotion of Fear
I think there’s a tendency to over-focus on the EMOTION of fear. This almost always turns into shame, condemnation and thoughts of “why am I struggling with this” or “I shouldn’t still be afraid of these things.” And while the emotions we experience are real, they’re just symptomatic, In other words, they’re not the problem. So continuing to address the symptom will only give you temporary relief, not permanent freedom.
So focusing on this emotion really is a trap – it takes you in circles. You address the symptom, feel the high of emotional relief, and then find yourself scared of the same old thing just a short time later. This is because we’re not supposed to address the emotion, or the symptom, in order to solve the problem. You want to cut fear off at the roots, not just get rid of the visible fruit.
The Actionable Solution
So what do we do? We act. Now – this is not an all-encompassing solution for every spiritual issue we encounter – but I do know it to be true of fear. What the spirit of fear attempts to do is keep you paralyzed. Fear wants you to shrink back, stay where you are and not do anything, ever. And when you do act, fear wants you to make decisions out of the place of being afraid – not out of being powerful (which is who you are as a child of God). And when we act, think or choose in the spirit of fear, we empower that spirit to have influence in our lives. Which is why the cycles I referenced earlier seem to never end.
So we must act in the opposite spirit – Love. And this can be a lot easier than you think. Knowing what God says is always the best way to be sure we’re waging the good warfare against fear. But sometimes it’s as easy as doing the opposite of what fear is telling you to do.
Here’s an example of something I’ve recently experienced – that actually inspired the writing of this post. I was driving to work and was suddenly overcome by fear of lack. “Out of nowhere” all these thoughts popped into my head:
- How are we going to financially sustain 2 kids (I’m currently pregnant with our 2nd)
- There will never be enough to cover all our expenses
- My student loan payments will never end
- Maternity leave is going to take us under financially
- We’ll never have enough
Now – regardless of what our current financial situation may be, there are 2 important facts to take away from this:
- These thoughts clearly came from fear – so any decision I would make from this foundation would be a decision made from fear. This would mean I’d be empowering fear in my life and I would experience it again sooner or later.
- I know God always speaks in love – He is Love. So this was not His voice. And I know that this is what God says about financial considerations:
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
So my actionable solution in this situation was to give. After I got to work, I sat down and gave an offering. And almost immediately after hitting the “give” button, I felt fear leave and the love of God settle on my heart. You see, in agreeing with what He says by acting accordingly, I empower His reality in my life. And His reality is love – which casts out all fear.
Now tell us mamas – how have you struggled with fear and what have you done to overcome it?
Happy warring 😉
Right there with ya,
BONUS: If you don’t just struggle with fear of not HAVING enough, but also fear of not BEING enough – check out our ENOUGH JOURNAL to feed your mind with the truth of who you really are!
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