Have you ever struggled to overcome deep-rooted fear? I’m talking the one that keeps you up at night?
I often get laughed at for my silly fears of stink bugs and tidal waves. These fears are actual fears and they affect me, but I know they aren’t really based on anything real. At the end of the day, I can laugh at these fears too.
But I have a fear that goes deep and that follows me around. This fear keeps me awake at night and can bring on heaping waves of anxiety if I let it. It’s based on real things I’ve gone through and real possibilities. This fear can freeze up my faith and leave me questioning God’s goodness.
Can you relate?
So many of us struggle with fear. We know God is good. We know God wants what is best for us. But deep within our hearts we fear.
Today I want to talk about how to step past these deep-rooted fears and live in the freedom and peace that God offers us.
It’s not easy and it won’t happen overnight, but as you step forward with the shield of faith, you will find God’s peace begin to fill you. As you learn to surrender, you will find freedom from this fear.
Uncovering the Root of Your Fear
Fear at its root comes from Satan. It is his attempt to derail us from the peace that God offers. There are so many instances in the Bible where we are reminded, “Do not fear” and “Do not be afraid.”
I’m not saying that your fears aren’t based on something very, very real. But those fears do not have to take away your peace and keep you from freedom.
In order to truly overcome your deep-rooted fears, you have to uncover their roots.
One of my deepest fears is losing my closest loved ones. I’ve been through a lot of loss throughout my life, some of which were traumatic and scary experiences. Because of these moments, I tend to get whipped into a whirlwind of anxiety when I think of losing those I love.
This fear often leads me far from God’s peace, because ultimately, those that I love will die. There is no guarantee that God will keep my loved ones safe. There is no promise that I will never lose someone I love again.
So how do I deal with this fear? How do I find peace?
To uncover the root of this fear, I must dig deeper: I fear losing loved ones because I fear inconsolable grief and pain and I become filled with the idea that life won’t go on, that I won’t be okay. At the root, this is what I fear.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. -Ephesians 6:10-11
Your battle is not with the physical struggle you face, but the invisible force hidden beneath the surface.
What is at the root of your fear? Take time to pray about it and ask God to reveal this to you.
Standing on Truth
Don't let Satan fool you. He's there, behind each battle, each fight, each struggle. He's working to make you think that the problem is merely in our physical world or merely in our mind. He’s working to convince you that God’s truth is not real or reliable.
Because if we believe that our battle is entirely physical, we won't suit up for the spiritual battle raging behind the scenes.
When you uncover the root of your fear, you can see how Satan is at work.
I saw this when I dug deeper. Fearing loss is going to lead me to anxiety. Why? Because loss happens and there is no way to avoid it. But when I uncover the root, that my true fear is that I will not be okay in grief and pain and that there is no comfort, I see that this fear is based on a lie.
Because God is the God of comfort. He promises that He is good and that He has good works planned for me.
When you can uncover the root of your fear, you can fight that fear with truth.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed with anxiety, I can proclaim verses like:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. -2 Corinthians 1:3-4
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. -Ephesians 2:10
Overcoming Fear with the Shield of Faith
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. -Ephesians 6:16
The shield of faith has the power to protect you from all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Every. Single. One. Paul tells describes this piece of armor as the only one with a benefit.
But how often do you lower this shield in the midst of the battle? How often do we freeze up and let doubt guide our steps?
I know I can often become paralyzed by doubt or crippled by the fear that God won’t be enough, that God won’t comfort me and protect me. And this is how I become overwhelmed with fear and anxiety.
But faith is one of the most powerful ways to combat Satan and his “flaming arrows”. Faith will help you overcome fear.
But faith isn’t merely a feeling. Faith is seen in action. It is when you step forward in faith that you can extinguish the flaming arrows.
I love Priscilla Shirer’s illustration in her study, The Armor of God.
She describes a chair and says that one may have faith that the chair will hold them. But until they sit down in that chair, their faith does nothing, they experience no benefit. It’s not until they act in faith and actually sit down that they experience the benefits of the chair.
Your faith cannot protect you when it’s kept locked inside. In order to experience the peace and freedom that God offers us, we have to step forward in faith.
So how do we do this? It will be different for each fear and each struggle. The first way that you can step out in faith is to proclaim God’s truth when you feel fear take over.
Don’t just read it and think it, but proclaim it - out loud.
There are so many ways that you can step forward in faith. Maybe it means letting go of control of something that you so desperately want to cling to.
For me, this means letting go of the anxiety-driven things that I do, like frantically calling my husband if he’s late or needing to say I love you every single time we hang up the phone.
These habits and behaviors are ones that were formed around fear. I need to shed these habits and take on ones that are based on faith.
What habits, behaviors or thoughts have formed around your fears? This is a great way to step out in faith.
And finally, sometimes stepping out in faith means actually making a change in your life. If this relates to your fear, I would encourage you to pray that God would guide you in this.
Don’t let Satan fool you into thinking you have much to fear. Because in Christ, we are called to freedom and peace. Take time to uncover the root of your fear, stand firm in truth and step out in faith and when you do these three things, you will find the strength to overcome your fear.