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Pushing Through Fears

Jan 28, 2018 05:07AM ● Published by Bonnie Lyn Smith

Do you have any fears that hold you back from fully functioning? Does it sometimes feel like you are pushing against a weight of overwhelm? Maybe they taunt you in the middle of other areas you feel accomplished. They may look different for each of us, but they can be paralyzing and growth-stopping.

You know what else they do? They deliver a feeling of defeat.

And you know what? That’s not Kingdom (-of-God) living.

Some of my fears are irrational. For example, I fear that if I stop advocating for certain injustices or for my son with special education needs, the world will stop turning. That’s called hypervigilance and sometimes crosses the line into catastrophic thinking. I usually can do the self talk involved to chill myself out, talk myself down.

Like many people, I am afraid of letting people I love down, not meeting expectations, or  unintentionally hurting someone.

I back out of my driveway panicked that a child on a bike will go by.

I fear the local black bear entering my yard (it has entered my neighbor’s property) and eating my Shih Tzus.

I can’t say these fears regularly keep me up at night, but they definitely steal joy.

Know what I mean?

John 10:10, ESV

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Here are the ways they thieve me of peace:

  • My focus is not on my Savior who makes all things possible.
  • They lie to me that I am limited by my own (lack of) strength.
  • My focus is not on my Savior who makes all things possible.
  • They drain me of energy for Kingdom living, the kind defined and ordered by a God who loves me.
  • My focus is not on my Savior who makes all things possible.
  • They keep me from walking fully in God’s purposes for my life.
  • My focus is not on my Savior who makes all things possible.
  • They hold me back from blessing others.
  • My focus is not on my Savior who makes all things possible.

Get the point?

This year, in the process of making changes for greater physical, emotional, and spiritual health, I’ve set some goals for myself to push back against my phobias and areas of panic. One of them is phone calling.

I realize many folks may not be able to relate to this, but ever since I was a child, the phone ringing has set me on edge: the interruption, the expectation of the caller, the time I am taking from something I might be in the middle of to answer it, etc. Intellectually, I know it is a ridiculous phobia of mine, but I cannot stand the telephone. It’s so bad I have a long list of unreturned phone calls. I try to make sure to get back to people in a message, an email, a letter, or even in person, but answering a phone when it rings makes me crazy-edgy.

I hate this about myself.

So, instead of letting that shut me down, I decided to take control over it, to ask God to help me push past the fear.

I laid it on His altar and essentially said to the enemy of my soul:

This isn’t yours anymore. Take your things and go!

I evicted the negative thoughts with the power of the name of Jesus. I invited Christ in, and where Jesus is, anything negative has to flee. It wasn’t me but Him who is in me.

1 John 4:4, ESV

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Do you see the power there? It’s not mine. There are so many promises in the Bible, but this one verse alone is enough to conquer a fear holding us back.

Fear can of course be a good thing when its place is a protective instinct, keeping us from harm. But making a phone call?

Seriously, let’s just call that what it is, shall we? Bondage.

And anything that puts chains on us is from that loser who tries to hold us back. Jesus came to break those chains off, and if we have accepted Him into our hearts, we have to start seeing ourselves as the freed, prisoners-no-more that we are! Amen?

Isaiah 61:1, ESV

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

I made seven phone calls today. They weren’t lengthy, and they were mostly getting some affairs in order and appointments on the calendar, but SEVEN! For many of you, that’s your average hour! For me, one call every two weeks is about it.

See, if I don’t invite Jesus to help me conquer this paralysis I feel about the phone, I am letting an imaginary chain hold me back from Kingdom life:

  • Bringing good news
  • Binding up the brokenhearted
  • Reminding the captives they are really free in Christ

Yes, that verse refers to Jesus coming as the Messiah long before He entered the scene as the Christ child. But it also describes our lives in Christ and all that is possible when we let Him show us the broken chains at our feet. He broke them off at Calvary. We have nothing to fear.

One of my absolute favorite verses about the power we have in Christ comes from Isaiah 45:2.

Isaiah 45:2, ESV

I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron…

We have a personal, loving, unconditional God who wants to be our advocate, who knocks down doors of bronze, cuts the “impossibles” made of iron in our lives.

With that kind of might at our side, there isn’t a fear out there that stands a chance in the shadow of the Almighty, always present with us.

So I ask you: What is holding you back from Kingdom-of-God life—the abundant life—today? Ask Him to break it down, to show you its defeat in His death and resurrection.

I want the abundant life we are promised, don’t you? The one where the storm of negativity is silenced, and we walk in the confidence of this:

John 10:10, ESV

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

 

Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.

She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.

 

 

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Arts+Culture, Opinion facing fears spiritual warfare hypervigilance fears conquering fears pushing through fears abundant life kingdom life kingdom living steal joy phone phobia

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