Fear is a sneak thief!
He has an especially wicked trick. This bandit manages to steal things from you that you haven’t even gotten yet! Most thieves come and take away your possessions. Fear steals your potential.
He interrupts dreams with twin terrors: fear of failure and fear of success. He doesn’t care. He’s just as happy to whisper, “You’ll never do it” or “You don’t have any talent” as he is to mock your success, “You think you’re such a big shot!”, “You’re gonna be lonely at the top.”
He’s is a master at recognizing your mood at any given moment. Feeling low? Fear will take you lower. On a high? “Better watch out!” He’s artful at disguises, too. He masquerades as legitimate reasons for not moving forward. “No time for that right now.” “Why rock the boat?” “Next year when we’ve saved more money.”
He’s not picky about the projects he takes on either. Going to the gym, starting a business, asking for help, even saying hello to a stranger who might just become a friend or partner. Nothing’s too large or too small for Fear. If something good is at stake, he will jump right in with his lies and threats to make sure nothing happens.
We think of Fear as a friend–at least at first. We nurture him, listen to him, agree with him. He makes us feel safe. He protects us from the bad “what if’s”. Trouble begins when we realize that he grows stronger and stronger each time we heed his advice. Fear started with the small stuff, but now he seems to control the show. Suddenly, we’re trapped in a suffocating cocoon, built bit by bit as we allowed ourselves to believe the “False Evidence Appearing Real” and we erected another barricade against the opportunities that came our way.
Most of the time we live in perfect harmony with this constant companion. Fear’s not stupid. He knows he’s got to give you a little space. You’ve got a job (even if you don’t love it), you have some friends and a family. You’ve got a comfortable little life–focus on “little”. But if you get too close to the boundaries of that life, if it looks like you might break out, reach for the next rung on the ladder, Fear is right there to reel you in. He’s like one of those automatic dog leashes, you can wander a bit, but the push of a button snaps you back.
How can you break free? How can you arrest this crook and lock him up forever?
- Recognize him for who he is.
The Bible tells us that the thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. 2 Corinthians 11:14 confirms that Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light–sometimes things that look beautiful and good can destroy you in the end. Don’t be fooled!
- Make a list of all the things Fear has stolen from you.
If you were calling the police to report a burglary in your home, you’d look around to see what had been taken in hopes of getting it all back. Making a list and realizing just how much of your life’s potential has been stolen by this creep should energize you to put an end to his shenanigans and give you clues as to where to look for your goods.
- Call him out every time!
When Fear starts his old routines: “You don’t really want that,” “You don’t have the time,” pull off his mask and call him by name. FEAR. Counter his attacks: “I will MAKE time for this because I really DO want it, and I CAN have it!
- Repeat step 3 as necessary.
If Fear has been controlling your life, he can get you to back down with only a glance. It will take time and persistence to wear this thief down and regain your footing.
- Start small.
Reverse the grip of Fear by challenging him on everything! Say hi to homeless people on the street. Give away a chunk of money you’ve been saving to a cause you believe in. Eat lunch by yourself in a restaurant. You don’t have to start with the biggest, scariest thing on your list–JUST START!
Dale Carnegie had the best advice for getting past your fears and living the life God intended for you to live:
“Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it…that is the quickest and surest way yet discovered to conquer fear.”
How do you fight the culprit of Fear?