In this series, you’ve been challenged to overcome fear by letting it express itself and run its course, thereby losing its power. I realize this is counterintuitive to our preprogrammed responses of fleeing, or fighting. But this is a proven way to put fear in its place. This is a method to gain your freedom back, to take your life back, and to fill you with courage to do what you are gifted to do.
I hope you understand that the idea is not to never experience fear again, but to keep it in perspective. If you feel fear in a real dangerous situation, it makes sense and its beneficial. If you feel fear going up the first hill on a roller-coaster, that makes sense, trust me, I feel it every time. But if you are overwhelmed with fear the entire roller-coaster ride, you’ve missed out on the joy. And if you feel consistent fear in everyday life, it can be debilitating and agonizing.
I want to reiterate something I shared earlier in the series. If the methods I’ve shared here aren’t the answer for you, don’t give up. Many people are helped with counseling, medication, prayer, or other methods. My goal for you is simple, overcoming irrational fear.
Regardless of the methods you find useful, here are some way to arrange your life so that fear has less of a grip on you. Fear feeds on chaos, physical depletion, and emotional weariness.
So here we go: I may not be your favorite person after this short list, but this list can make an enormous difference. I understand that some of you may have physical limitations, financial limitations, or other circumstances that can become excuses to avoid the items listed here. But everyone can take at least small steps in each category. Also, each of these categories could be their own series. Concentrate on one at a time. Don’t be overwhelmed, celebrate small victories.
- Declutter Your Daily Life: At home, work, or school, clean up the mess. For most people clutter causes stress and even anxiety.
- Get Physically Fit: To the best of your ability, watch what you eat and exercise often. Explore ways to quit habits that are bad for you physically. I can’t explain to you how much easier my anxiety is to deal with when I am physically healthy.
- Find Financial Peace: Nothing adds stress to my life more than worrying about money. Take steps toward easing this tension in your life. Pay off a debt, cut an expense, find a way to generate more income.
- Reduce Relational Chaos: For some of you, this may mean having conversations about how to resolve conflict in a more mature way. For some it may mean you need to re-evaluate how you choose significant others. Also, it may mean you need to set healthy boundaries with family and friends.
- Be Aware of Stress Producers: This will be specific to your life. For me, I have greatly reduced the amount of national and local news I consume. That alone made a huge difference in my life. For you, it may be other areas you should consider, but I imagine there are ways for you to limit the stress producers in your life.
The idea here is to set up your life in a way that reduces the fuel for fear. Fear will still sneak itself back in, but you now can limit the areas of approach. And on top of that, when fear shows up, you have the ability to let it be present and continue moving forward knowing it has limited power and sustainability.
I hope you find encouragement in this series. You are able to overcome all that fear has to offer. Make a small step today towards limiting fear’s control over you. Then begin to build on that.
Next week, we will focus on ways to help others who are struggling with fear. Also, I will give you my opinion on the proper understanding of fear from a theological perspective.