As promised, I’d like to take a look at five different ways we can help make 2011 a year for fear to remember. But first, identify the fears in your own life. What is it that’s stealing your joy, robbing you of peace, or holding you back? Are you afraid of providing for your family? Of trying something new? Of trusting someone who’s hurt you in the past? Whatever it is, bring it forefront to your mind. Is it something you’d like to be rid of in 2011? By following these five steps, you can begin to lose the fear that’s been following you and create a happier heart.
These are things I have found helpful in my own life when facing my fears, and I hope they will be helpful for you, as well. I call it The Five P Punch, and they are these:
- Planning: It would be insane for an overweight person who’s spent years building the habit of an unhealthy lifestyle to just stop and say they will never touch a hamburger again, right? Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to assume it was going to take time? That they’d need to start a diet first then hit the gym? So it is with fear.
If you want to start tackling the fears in your life, you’ll have to do some planning first. Our fears are an emotional habit. To break its influence on our lives, we should go after it as purposely as we would to lose weight. First, identify the fear in your life. Ask, “What is it I’m most anxious about?” Next, try to define it: “Why is it troubling me so much? What about it is the most frightening to me?” Then prepare a plan to defeat it. Create goals so you can visibly see yourself making progress. If at all possible, make a plan of where you’d like to see yourself in a week, month, and by the end of the year.
For example, I’m facing my fear of driving this year. In a week, I’d like to have three days worth of driving done. In a month, I’d like to have 12 days of driving done. By the end of the year, I’d like to have my license. By planning your goals out, conquering your fears will become less of an annoying nuisance and more of a reality.
- Persistence: It may seem obvious, but we can’t expect our fears to be gone in a day. If it’s taken a while to build, it may take a while to tear down. But that’s not to say you can’t defeat them. It can get discouraging facing the same fear day after day and feeling as if you’re getting nowhere. Fears are life-suckers, and it’s hard to summon the strength to fight them. But you’re not alone. You have faith in God on your side. The more you strengthen that muscle, the smaller fear shrinks underneath the shadow of His Might. Just keep fighting. Don’t give up. The day you give up might have been the day you would have made it to your breakthrough. You can overcome!
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2.)
- Purpose: Who do you want to become? Attack your fears with purpose. Why do you want them out of your life? How will it make your life and the lives of those around you better? What is God’s purpose for you, and what did He say about fear in His Word? Here’s a hint: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.'” (Jeremiah 29:11.)
- Prayer: This is so important, but its power is lost on so many of us. The Bible says that the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective (James 5:16), and if you have asked Jesus Christ to come into your life and save you from your sins, the Bible also says that you have been made righteous. When you pray, you are wielding a spiritual weapon. You are fighting against unseen powers in the spiritual realm.
I am not a parent yet, but I am the aunt to a remarkable, beautiful five-year-old girl. I was there when she was born. I remember her smiling at me for the first time, taking her first steps, and her first day of preschool. If I ever heard her call out in fear to me, I would be there in an instant. I would drop everything and do whatever I could to help her.
Hm. Could it be, as God’s kids-that he feels the same? When we cry out, does the same fierce love that comes over us when one of our relatives is in trouble pass over His heart? The next time you pray, remember you are a child of God, loved and underneath His protection. Then watch how quickly He comes when His children cry out to Him.
- Praise: This another forgotten, powerful P word. Praise used to be difficult for me to understand. I didn’t have a problem with worshiping God, but what was it all about? Why was it so important? Then I got into a church that taught about the importance of praise, and showed me how necessary it was not for God’s benefit, but for mine. Praise is the declaration of victory, an audible reminder to ourselves and to the enemy that we serve an awesome God, and that He will come through for us as He has in times past. Praise can be in many forms other than just singing, but the importance of it is to remember how big our God is and consequently how small our problems are. It’s a way of thanking God and lovin’ on Him.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” (1 John 4:18.)
Knock out the enemy with The Five P Punch, and I’ll look forward to celebrating with you in the winner’s ring.