Freedom from Fear
There is so much in our world that takes our healthy fears and tries to dial them up by a factor of 1,000. And it’s not just about what has happened. We can easily develop a generalized anxiety about what might happen. Some psychologists describe it as catastrophizing–seeing a catastrophe in every situation and around every corner. Chron and Stabile call it Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder–not struggling with trauma that has occurred, but stuck in anxiety about what might occur. It’s worst-case scenario thinking. It’s being immobilized, frozen, trapped in that fear of the “what-ifs.”
As David celebrates in Psalm 34:4, God is able to set us free from enslavement to fear. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” That said, it takes work on our part to cooperate with God. Here are a few suggestions.
- Reign in fears about things that are beyond your control today. We still work for tomorrow, but we don’t surrender control of our emotions to catastrophizing about “what if.” We deal faithfully and daily with what is.
- Recognize the difference between legitimate fear and free-floating anxiety. Sometimes identifying and naming your worry lets you declaw it a little.
- Reduce your interactions with things that only add to your anxiety. I’m not suggesting you live in a bubble, but you don’t have to watch or listen or read 24-hour news if all it does is increase anxiety and blood pressure.
- Remind yourself of God’s grand finale. This doesn’t mean we’re magically protected from disaster or calamity, but it’s helpful to know that whatever happens, we believe that this story ultimately ends well.
- Regularly rehearse, remember, and reclaim God’s promises through song, prayer, scripture, or meditation.
- Request more faith. Faith is not just a goal. It is a gift. Ask God for faith in the face of fear.