Think for moment about a time when you were afraid. Maybe you saw something violent. Maybe it was a spider or an amphibian that you were scared might bite you. Maybe you narrowly missed getting hit by a car. You probably noticed some changes in your body. Your heart was beating hard and fast. Maybe you had a hard time catching your breath and you couldn’t think much past “oh my gosh this just happened”.
Being afraid of something doesn’t mean you have a phobia. Phobias are a whole different topic and only come into play when your fear begins to interfere with your ability to function and to live your life. Fear is an emotional response in reaction to something that may be dangerous.
Something that makes you afraid triggers a fear response in the amygdala, which activates areas involved in preparation for motor functions involved in fight or flight. It also triggers release of stress hormones and sympathetic nervous system. Your blood pressure and heart rate increase as your body readies for the fight or flight response. Fear can also make your higher brain functions start to shut down. It becomes more difficult to think clearly. Fear is also NORMAL. It’s a normal emotional and biological response, it helps keep you safe. If you look out into the dark when you are leaving work and you are feeling afraid that someone might be there, by all means grab a buddy and walk together. Call the building security. You feel fear for good reasons too. It’s your bodies way of warning you of danger.
But not all fear is rational. Sometimes we worry and are afraid when there is no reason. Often times when we have experienced a traumatic event, like a car accident, we will have a fear response when approaching that area. In those situations, we can combat our fear response with our faith. Reminding ourselves that our trauma does not define us, and that God has the situation under control. He’s got the whole world in his hands; He also has YOU.
God knew that we would be afraid. “Fear not” is mentioned in the Bible 365 times! Isaiah 35:4 says, “Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.’ ” Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Joel 2:21 says, “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things!” Matthew 10:26 says, “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.”
That’s only 4 verses! There are 365! One verse for every day of the year telling us why we do not need to be afraid. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with being afraid, but when you find yourself starting to fear and your body responds you can remind yourself of the reasons you don’t need to be afraid. Memorizing those verses is a wonderful step in the right direction. When you hide His Word in your heart you are more likely to remember it even when your mind gets foggy and fear kicks in. Hold to His truth that He is in control, and it will become easier to release your fear.
Sometimes it may be helpful to turn to a professional to help come up with more strategies to of work through your fear. If you would like to speak with a mental health professional to learn helpful techniques to overcome fear in your life, I encourage you to sign up at Christiantherapistod.com and start speaking with a therapist today.