Tag Archives: Faith

FEARLESS: WEEK #3

On the first day of school, in my first-grade year, we were arranging the alphabet backwards with blocks. It was right after lunch and I started to feel an overwhelming fear. I had night terrors and panic attacks before this, but nothing that happened in a public setting. My heart started pounding, my mind began to race, I literally started shaking. I distinctly remember staring at the door and wondering if I could get to it before the teacher could stop me.

Well, the teacher didn’t even see me. I made it to the door, opened it, and I started running. I ran a little over a mile towards my house. In fact, I made it a few houses down from mine. By that time the school had notified my mom who was waiting outside for me. I burst in to tears as my mind caught up with what my body had done.

In the summer of my seventh-grade year a similar event happened. This time I walked home two miles in the dark. Somehow, being at a birthday party with thirty other pre-teens was scarier than walking across town alone.

Fast forward ten years, a decade filled with panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. I am in my twenties and at a party that I tried to avoid in the first place. Things were going ok, listening to music, joking with friends, and then I started to experience the same old fear. I had matured enough to not simply burst out the door and run home. I politely excused myself, and told the woman I was with that we needed to leave. We went for a long drive until the fear passed.

I did things like that so often in my early adult life that a few of my friends thought I must have a secret life. One asked if I had a child at home, because I was always leaving early or disappearing. Another wondered if I “worked for the FBI or something like that.” I never had a problem fitting in or making friends, but I had a very difficult time building deep relationships.

Fear controlled all my decisions even if it wasn’t present at the time.

I was the master of avoidance.

Fear is a natural response to a dangerous situation. When the brain senses danger it floods the body with adrenaline. The heart rate increases, breathing becomes rapid, and pupils will begin to dilate. Blood starts flowing into large muscles in the extremities, preparing the person to take action. All of this can happen in a matter of a seconds. This is an amazing gift. It empowers us to fight for our lives, or run for safety.

There are different reasons for high anxiety and panic attacks. The reasons, be they stress, loss of a loved one, chemical imbalances, or other medicals conditions all trigger the same reaction that an actual threatening situation would bring about. Your personality type, your diet, your overall health, and more variables can all play a part in the frequency and intensity of anxious episodes. There are many causes for irrational anxiety, that is why there are many beneficial treatments. As I said in week two, the goal is for you to find what works for you. But I do believe the methods shared in this series can help anyone and for many will lead to conquering irrational fear.

Here are things we should acknowledge, actions we should take (both from last week), along with some attitudes we should adopt.

Acknowledge these ideas when fear shows up.

  • Allow the temporary emotion and physical results of fear.
  • Accept that they can’t hurt you.
  • Don’t blame yourself or feel guilty.
  • Realize millions of people have felt like this.
  • Most people who struggle with fear are highly intelligent and incredibly creative.

Actions to take when fear shows up:

  • Set your attitude to “fear is present, I accept it.”
  • Call fear’s bluff, say to yourself “I won’t fear the fear.”
  • Use the energy, burn the extra fuel, take a walk or a similar activity.
  • Pick one small thing to accomplish, then find another.
  • Engage in what is around you, co-workers, friends, read or study.

Attitudes to adopt:

  • Be patient, you will have a set-back.
  • Know that small accomplishments snowball over time.
  • Understand change can be good.
  • Problems are opportunities to grow.
  • Let “What If” thinking work for you.

To elaborate on these attitudes.

Be patient with yourself, when you begin to let fear be present and you push through it, you will have success, and a couple times you will have a set-back. Show grace to yourself. This is the time to re-double your resolve to conquer the fear.

Know that small accomplishments snowball over time. Little victories over fear add up quickly. Celebrate and remind yourself of the ways you are winning. Soon you will be able to look at a pile of victories and your confidence will grow.

Understand change can be good. Many of us have a negative view on change in general. We need to see change for what it is, it can be good or bad. But more important, we need to react to any change in the most positive way possible.

Problems are opportunities to grow. I still need to work on this one. I want to get to the point where problems energize me to find solutions. Too often, my progress slows when I see or even imagine problems that could happen. I need to think of them as speedbumps not roadblocks.

Let “what if” thinking work for you. You are likely creative and intelligent, your mind is powerful. For some people this works against them. You can “what if” yourself into a paralyzing state of mind. But the same brain that works in this way is also capable of creating the positive “what ifs”. What if this turns out better than you think? What if you conquer fear? What if you are free to reach your potential? It is an empowering way to think.

I hope you continue to follow along in this series. I pray you are finding answers and encouragement. I want you to know that victory over fear is not only possible, but within reach. You were designed the way you were for a reason. You have potential for greatness in whatever way you want to define greatness.

Keep pushing forward, be confident, and find the courage to overcome fear.

Next week we will look at ways to Arrange your life so that victory over fear is more likely.

Tom Wise

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FEARLESS: WEEK #2

Have you ever stood in the ocean right where the waves break?

If so, you have been pushed around by a relentless force. Even if you withstand the first few waves breaking on you, at some point you will have to surrender to the power and repetition of the ocean. It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are, how determined you are, or even how strong you are. The ocean eventually wins.

There are two solutions to this situation, you can go back to shore or you can move out a little further from shore. Either way, you stop getting battered by the waves.

Anxiety can cause a similar situation inside of us. The waves of adrenaline, emotion, and worry crash against us. At this point many people run back to the shore, it makes sense to get away from this overwhelming barrage. Unfortunately, we become conditioned to run to the shore over and over again, or in many cases we avoid the ocean (situations that cause anxiety) altogether. Other people stand their ground and fight the waves of anxiety at the exact point where anxiety is strongest. These people appear to win for a while, but eventual they succumb physically or emotionally to the breaking waves of fear. Continue reading

FEARLESS: WEEK 1

From an early age and for over two decades I was crippled by severe panic attacks. Damaging my growth as a student, the depth of my relationships with others, and my pursuit of a career. Leading to years of depression and struggle.

By God’s grace and with some very practical steps taken, I was able to overcome the panic attacks and all that came with them. After doing research and gaining understanding on the biological, emotional, and physical realities I dealt with, I now see clearly the actions and mindset that can remove this type of fear from a life.

I instinctively took steps to cope and heal, I now understand the reasons behind the steps I took. I want to share these ideas with as many people as possible. Continue reading

THE WEIGHT OF RESPONSIBLITY | THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS

Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography on Unsplash


Last week we looked at The Parable of the Ten Virgins.  That parable and the one we are looking at today was told in the midst of a discussion concerning the return of Jesus Christ.  The disciples specifically asked him the following question, “Tell us, when this will happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?”

Just as Jesus begins telling the first parable, He gives this response, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Jesus simple answer was, I do not know.

He then began to share a couple of parables to discuss what He considered to be more important than knowing the time of His coming.  In the first parable, Jesus communicated the importance of being ready.  Given that no one knows the day and time that Jesus will return, we should live each day as if today is that day.  We should be ready at all times.  If we do not, we will surely be caught off guard one day.

He then shares the following parable to help us understand that we are expected to do more than sit back and relax.

The Parable of the Talents

14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

– Matthew 25:14-30 (NASB)

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BE READY | THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS

Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash


Context

Prior to telling this parable Jesus was discussing his eventual return. We refer to this as the second coming of Christ.  It was important that the disciples began to understand that His death on the cross would not be the end. This was a reality that they would not begin to grasp until He would appear to them after His resurrection.

Jesus offered a a nugget of truth about His return before He moved into the parables He had chosen to tell.  It is important that we do not miss this.

This conversation began when the disciples approached Him and asked, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  In response to that question Jesus says that He does not know when this will happen.  Not even the angels are wise to such information.  The only one that knows is the Father.

This says to us that our wait could be another ten years, or it could be another two thousand years.  This is important because Jesus uses this information to lead into a parable where a group of women are waiting for the return of a bridegroom with an unspecified time of return.

Jesus also told a short story about a servant that was caught off guard.  A servant was put in charge of his master’s household.  Then a comparison is drawn between the consequences for a faithful servant and an unfaithful servant.  The unfaithful servant is said to have done evil things and kept vile company, because he believed his master would not return for a long time.  Jesus explains that the master will return on a day he is not expected and at an unknown hour.

Jesus then begins telling the following story.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent [or wise]. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5 Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

– Matthew 25:1-13 (NASB)

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